From the Guardian files

Lancaster Maritime Festival.
Lancaster Maritime Festival.
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What was happening around our district five, 10 and 25 years ago this week.

Five years ago

July 2 2010

A nationally renowned Lancaster business had closed down and gone into liquidation, with the loss of nine jobs. The Firework Factory and Soundsavers, popular with musicians both in Lancaster and across the country, sand with its parent company, Henry Bishop Management Retail Limited, leaving staff with no warning that their jobs were being axed.

Lancaster Brewery submitted plans to relocate to a larger site at Lancaster Leisure Park and create a visitors centre, restaurant and bar. The move would see the brewery take over the former Redwood Garden Centre site which had closed down the previous March.

Campaigners accused council chiefs of a ‘veil of secrecy’ over talks aimed at finding a new way forward for the £150 million canal corridor development. It’s Our City claimed it was not invited to the talks between Lancaster City Council, developer Centros, Mitchell’s Brewery and English Heritage, which were investigating the value of heritage assets on the proposed site.

Comedienne and actress Victoria Wood was to hold open auditions to find two boys to star alongside her in a film about Morecambe and Wise for Christmas viewing. The drama was to portray the early years of the TV double act and would star Wood as Eric Morecambe’s mother Sadie.

Ten years ago

July 1 2005

Scientists were investigating two mystery incidents in which glass roofing panels shattered at St Nicholas Arcades in Lancaster, causing the shopping complex to close on safety grounds. Lancaster City Council issued the closure order on grounds of public safety after its building inspectors checked the centre. No-one was hurt in the two unrelated incidents.

The head of Giggleswick School, where Richard Whiteley served as a governor for 25 years, paid tribute to the Countdown host who had died aged 61.

One of Britain’s first residential sheepdog training centres opened for business in Quernmore. Helped by a £70,000 grant from the Rural development Service, farmers Thomas and Anne Longton of Lee End Farm had converted a disused barn on their property into a luxurious accommodation block with separate kennels for the dogs.

Lancaster’s doomed Maritimne Festival had received a major tourism award. The festival, which took place at Easter, was chosen as the best tourism experience of the year in the Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board Awards. the irony for the festival’s organisers was that the following year the Maritime Festival would not go ahead unless private companies came forward to help with funding after Lancaster City Council withdrew its financial support. In choosing the festival for the award, the judges made particular note of the strongly themed experience, executed with professionalism, which brought tourism benefits to the local economy.

Twenty five years ago

June 29 1990

Strong opposition to controversial plans for a city centre access road through Lancaster had been renewed by a Lancaster transport expert, who believed that the scheme – rather than helping to solve the city’s traffic congestion – was a recipe for environmental disaster. The new head of Lancaster University’s geography department was pressing for a light rail system to be built from Heysham, though Morecambe and Lancaster to Galgate, which would carry several thousands of passengers a day, instead of more new roads.

Increasing strain upon local occupational therapy services could become worse with the closure of Beaumont Hospital, claimed a new report by Lancaster Community Health Council. The special study said the fact that services were scattered between several different centres could not help the efficient use of the limited resources available to the occupational therapy service.

Special funds to buy and conserve objects for Lancaster’s museums had been abandoned city councillors were told. The museum’s budget had included a fund for the conservation of objects and grant aid was available from the Area Museum Service for this purpose, but the fund element had gone along with the former revenue contributions which totalled £800 a year. The purchase of exhibits had also been a casualty of the changes and with the exception of three small dwindling trust funds, the museums had no means of acquiring any further items by purchase and could have to rely on public generosity in the future.