From the Guardian files

Lancaster Market.
Lancaster Market.

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

Five years ago

A drunk driver stole a bus from Lancaster Bus Station and took it on a 100-mile trip. The vehicle – a Stagecoach 3a Lancaster to Morecambe single decker – pulled in to the bus station just before 7.50pm. Minutes after the driver got out to go to the toilet, a man got on board the bus and drove it away. Staff at the bus station looked on in disbelief as they saw the vehicle being reversed out of a bay. The duty supervisor gave chase in his car, but lost the bus as the rogue driver made his way up Caton Road, on to the M6 and then all the way to Barrow, before finally being stopped by a police ‘stinger’ trap on his way back up the A590 to Kendal.

Researchers at Lancaster University had been awarded £40,000 to develop a potential new treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. The team had a molecule that showed promise as a treatment in the laboratory and were investigating its potential to help Alzheimer’s patients.

Ten years ago

Lancaster Market could be halved in size in a bid to staunch losses running at £300,000 a year – if it survived at all. As part of a possible deal under discussion with owners Edinburgh House, the ground floor of the Common Garden Street building could become a major new store. All market activity would be concentrated on what was the upper storey.

A war of words had broken out between the district’s two MPs over the bypass plans. Hilton Dawson told neighbouring MP Geraldine Smith to keep her nose out of his constituency affairs. His comments followed reports that the Morecambe MP wanted massive jobs and homes investment planned for Lancaster switched to her area. Miss Smith’s call followed Lancashire County Council’s decision to back a northern route for an M6 Heysham link.

Fireman rescued a tabby cat which had spent three nights on the tiles in Lancaster. Wonky, the little tom, went walkies from his home in Coverdale Road but failed to return. He was found a few doors up the street, frightened to leave a rooftop chimney stack where he had taken up temporary residence. All efforts by his worried owner failed to tempt him down.

Lancaster district bosses were turning to Eastern Europe to fill job vacancies. Eighty Poles arrived to start pre-arranged jobs in the area. They joined a trickle of nationals of former Eastern bloc stated who were able to work freely in the UK after their home country joined the European Union. Morecambe’s Job Centre opened specially on a Saturday morning to provided the 80 with National Insurance documents. Reports from firms using Poles were excellent

Twenty-five years ago

Better sporting facilities in Lancaster, Morecambe and district were called for when moves were made to set up a joint forum of city council and Sports Council representatives to tackle the issue. Football, cricket and indoor games, including badminton, were among sports identified ad having inadequate facilities, especially compared with other district.

Angry Poll Tax protesters gathered in Lancaster to give their support to an organisation set up to fight “Robin Hood in reverse” tactics. The Lancaster Anti-Poll Tax Union was set up to try to delay the Government legislation. The union had been visiting homes in the area, giving out leaflets and collecting names for a petition.

A small development of town houses, flats and shops near Lancaster’s city centre was welcomed by planners, happy to see more homes within the town. The scheme involved turning the former Catholic Club (originally the old ballroom of the Alexandra Hotel) into four flats. There was to be an additional ground-floor flat, and the development would be completed by two shops and six houses between the tops of Upper Penny Street and Thurnham Street.