From the Guardian files

Lancaster Castle.
Lancaster Castle.

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

25 years ago

NALGO members stepped up their industrial action locally with more than 90 per cent responding to a two-day strike call, disrupting all city and county council departments. The stoppage was part of the union’s gradual escalation of action over its 12 per cent “no strings” pay claim. Unless a national agreement was reached NALGO members were to respond with a three-day strike the following week.

Lancaster Castle’s future as the jewel in the crown of the city’s heritage had commanded the attention of the Prince of Wales. He raised the castle’s future role on his first official visit to the city – but his tight timetable prevented him from seeing the ancient building for himself.

Protestors who said they had had enough of smelling dead animals had formed a new action group, calling for a waste plant to clean up or clear out of Lancaster. PONG – People Opposed to Nauseating Gases – planned to demonstrate outside Nightingale Hall Farm animal waste reprocessing plant. A petition of residents demanded either an end to the smell or closure of the plant.

10 years ago

A noisy protest march against the closure of Greaves Park Nursery School brought well over 100 people on to the streets. The county council was undertaking a public consultation on the future of maintained nursery provision in Lancaster. They proposed to close Greaves Park, create nursery spaces at Bowerham Primary and develop a new amalgamated school at Willow Lane.

Children in Hala were on the move, with their toys, books and paintings. Youngsters at Hala Pre-School were moving from St Paul’s Community Centre to their new home in Moorside School, in time for the start of school in September. The pre-school, which had been held in the community centre for 18 years, was not big enough for all the children. The decision was taken to move to larger premises and Moorside School offered a self-contained suite of rooms.

Cannon Hygiene finally opened its plush £2.6 million national and international customer support centre on White Lund. Company bosses breathed a sign of relief as the ceremony went without a hitch after a couple of unlikely problems. First, construction of the state-of-the-art offices was delayed by the discovery of First World War mortar shells on the site. Then the formal opening was postponed because of a major fire at nearby Morecambe Metals. This time Morecambe and Lunesdale MP Geraldine Smith did the honours.

Lancaster University’s new £25 million state-of-the-art environmental research centre was opened. The Lancaster Environment Centre, one of the largest of its kind, was a joint venture between the university and the Natural Environment Research Council’s centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

5 years ago

At least nine people – including five schoolchildren – were believed to have contracted swine flu in Lancaster. And with the illness being diagnosed over the telephone instead of by swab, one Lancaster doctor said he feared we would never know the true extent of the virus. Three pupils at Our Lady’s Catholic College, and it was believed two at Central Lancaster High School, were recovering at home from the virus. Both schools were operating as normal.

A derelict factory on the controversial Halton Mills site was set to become a £5million Co-Housing project for Lancaster families. The former Luneside Engineering factory, which closed the previous year, had been bought by not-for-profit group Lancaster Cohousing Limited.

The organisation planned to turn the building into offices, workshops and around 25 zero carbon houses – together with shared community facilities. There would be shared washing machines, guest bedrooms and outside space plus a shared dining room and kitchen so that residents could eat together. Some of the residents planned to move their existing businesses into the office space.