Lancashire nostalgia in 1979: Courtaulds jobs go, black magic play and EEC exit plea

Here's a look at some of the stories that were making the headlines back in 1979:

By Naomi Moon
Monday, 16th December 2019, 1:40 pm
Updated Monday, 16th December 2019, 1:52 pm
A worker inside Courtaulds Red Scar works, whose job is threatened by the shutdown
A worker inside Courtaulds Red Scar works, whose job is threatened by the shutdown

Crisis talks snub for jobs campaigners

The Government has refused point blank to interfere in the shutdown of Courtaulds Red Scar plant in Preston. It says there are enough jobs vacant in the area to absorb the projected 2,600 job losses.

The claim stunned union officials, MPs and councillors at a special crisis meeting with industry secretary Sir Keith Joseph and trade minister Cecil Parkinson.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Union officials said their case was dismissed with “contempt and arrogance” and that the Government’s refusal to intervene in the disaster meant chances of saving the plant were “extremely” grim.

Mr Jim Page, Preston divisional officer of the transport union - which represents most of the threatened workers - said that Sir Keith had said the closedown was a matter for the company only.

“The Government will not intervene and the issue must be left to the company,” he said.

“They also claimed there were more vacancies in Preston than we know about. Some figures produced suggested there were about 4 - 5,000 vacancies.

“We will have to have an early meeting to decide on the next move.”

Read More

Read More
Look back at a selection of pictures from 1979 here

Black magic play Moonchild leads to row over ‘indecency’

The bare-faced cheek of a travelling theatre group has outraged church and civic leaders in Preston.

For when the world premiere of the play Moonchild was staged at the town’s Polytechnic the audience saw more than they bargained for.

Nude actresses and an actor cavorted on stage stimulating oral sex and love-making during several scenes.

The Manchester-based Public Spirit theatre company which brought the show to the town claims the scenes were not “gimmicks”.

But Preston’s Mayor Coun Dennis Kehoe - who didn’t see the two performances - has described them as “beneath contempt.”

“I am disgusted, quite frankly it reflects great discredit on the Students’ Union.

“I would try to stop anything like that in this town.”

He called upon the Polytechnic authorities to take strong disciplinary action against students responsible for the booking.

No doubt the majority of decent students would have been offended at the display, but it only strengthened the case for increased control over how students spent their funds, he said.

And when some church leaders heard about the show - which was based on black magic expert Aleister Crowley’s novel of the same name - they, too, were offended.

Pull us out of EEC says MP Thorne

Stan Thorne, Labour MP for Preston South, called on Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to pull Britain ou tof the Common Market in the wake of the Dublin summit.

“As far as I am concerned - and a lot of my colleagues - this is the end of the line,” said Mr Thorne.

“Now is the time for Mrs Thatcher to make it clear that we intend to withdraw from the Market.

“It is a question of one law for the powerful and another law for the not so powerful - and that is not on.”