From the Guardian files

The Storey Institute in Lancaster.
The Storey Institute in Lancaster.

What was happening around the district five, 10 and 25 years ago this week.

Five years ago

A Lancaster charity hoped to raise £100,000 to buy and protect a number of fields near the city centre. The Fairfield Association wanted to claim the fields before they were sold for development. The land, between the association’s new nature area and the canal near Aldcliffe Road, was likely to go up for auction in the autumn, leaving the group with an emergency fundraising effort. They hoped to join forces with other local environmental groups to raise the cash.

Fans around the district had been going football crazy in preparation for the start of the World Cup and supporters had been showing their colours in a variety of ways. Lancaster’s Ryelands estate was just one area to be adorned with England St George’s flags. The front of the Sun Dial Inn at Bentham had been painted with a giant St George’s Flag and Lancaster’s Holiday Inn had installed massive TV screens in public areas.

Just 10 years after leaving catering college Lisa Allen got the royal seal of approval. The former Carnforth High School pupil was chosen to cook for Prince Charles and his wife Camilla as part of BBC’s Great British Menu show. The footage was screened on television with Lisa’s pastry described as “fantastic” by the Prince.

Ten years ago

Up to 30 students in Lancaster had their exam grades put in jeopardy after studying the wrong books for their English exam. Around 25 pupils spent hours studying Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, only to turn their exam papers over to find questions about another Dickens classic, Hard Times.

A revamped Hipping Hall was set to reopen after a £2 million renovation and restoration project. The hall, in Cowan Bridge, had been shut for 10 months while the building work had been completed. The new-look hall was to create 20 new jobs.

Lancaster’s Maritime Festival had been nominated for a top tourism award, months after Lancaster City Council refused to continue funding the venture. Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board short listed the festival for its Best Tourism Experience of the Year Award.

A continuing outbreak of mumps was causing growing concern for health bosses. Baywide there were 156 cases of the illness reported during the first five months of 2005 compared to only five cases in the same period the previous year. The outbreak was blamed on the lack of an adequate vaccine for babies born during the mid-1980s and who were then aged between 14 and 25.

25 years ago

Ambitious plans to turn Lancaster’s Storey Institute into a ‘flagship for arts and cultural development’ were unveiled before Lancaster City Council by a group of arts enthusiasts in the area. The Grade 2 listed building was owned by the city council but for many years it had been leased to Lancashire County Council and had been used for the arts and crafts sections of adult education.

Lancaster Girls’ Grammar School was to opt out of local education authority control after parents narrowly voted to go for grant maintained status. The result of the opt out ballot was announced by the Electoral Reform Society, with 409 parents voting in favour and 344 against, a 54/46 per cent split.

Headless carcasses of cattle with ‘mad cow disease’ were being dumped on Salt Ayre tip. But waste disposal officials stressed that there was absolutely no risk to staff at the landfill site, nor to members of the public. The BSE-affected cows’ heads were disposed of separately at Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food laboratories.

A city council mobile cash and information office set off for the rural district. The distinctive blue van would not only collect the community charge but also council house rents.