Picture Past: May 3, 1968 – lorry fire flames shoot 20ft into the air
PUBLISHED: 16:00 05 May 2018
A ghost town and a huge lorry fire were featured in the Weston Mercury and Somerset Herald 50 years ago. Here is the news from its May 4 edition in 1968.
• A call went out for Weston Borough Council to give serious consideration for its entertainments to be operated privately instead after a series of losses.
The request was made by the Weston and District Ratepayers Association after it learned of a loss of £11,418 at Knightstone Theatre, £2,826 at the Rozel Arena, and £2,947 at the Winter Gardens Pavilion.
• Police had to operate single-lane traffic for two hours after an articulated lorry overturned and burst into flames in Highbridge.
The lorry brought down a street lamp and demolished a stone wall during the crash. The lorry and its load of boiler twine was destroyed, and the flames were said to have shot 20ft up in the air.
The driver was not seriously hurt.
• A number of power cuts at Preanes Green, in Worle, had left houses in darkness and ruined meals being cooked. Residents petitioned to the electricity board for action to be taken.
• The first strawberries of the season went from Draycott to Liverpool by train. There had not been much success in Cheddar, as the fruit had come through very badly.
• The tale of a Mendip ghost town, near Axbridge, was included in the Mercury’s history column.
It described how no roads led to and from it, and no-one had ever lived there. Yet it was likely built at enormous cost and its highways were once lit at night.
It was a decoy town for enemy aircraft in World War Two, and was lit up to try to attract Nazi warplanes to bomb it rather than real towns and villages.
Some fires were started to suggest planes had already travelled over it.
Columnist John Bailey said craters indicated some bombs may have fallen on it, but considering the cost it could not be thought to have been a success.
• Enoch Powell had given his controversial Rivers Of Blood speech, and the Weston Conservative Association said it was flooded with calls, most giving support for it.
• The Weston Ratepayers Association held doubts over British Rail promises the town’s railway station would not close by 1970-71.
• Around 20 children due to start school were refused places at Backwell School at the last minute because it was overcrowded.
MORE: Last week’s Picture Past.