What was happening around the district five, 10 and 25 years ago this week.
Five years ago
A £3 million extension to the Emergency Department of the Royal Lancaster Infirmary had been announced by health chiefs. The extension would see the current Accident and Emergency department in Ashton Road increase its floor space by 25 per cent. It would allow hospital staff to separate patients who walked into the department from those who were brought in by ambulance.
Two of Lancaster’s most popular pubs were celebrating after being crowned the best in the North West. The Water Witch, on the Lancaster Canal off Aldcliffe Road, scooped the best North West Pub title in the Great British Pud Awards 2009, seeing off competitors from across the region. And the Sun Hotel and Bar in Sun Street won Best Freehouse in the North West, proving the city’s nightspots are some of the most renowned in the country. The Water Witch also reached the finals for two other national awards – Food Pub of the Year and Cask Beer Pub of the Year.
Ten years ago
Lancaster City Council had been landed with a £100,000 legal bill for the failed court case against Fats and Proteins (UK) over foul smells from Nightingale Hall Farm. The company, however, was eligible for legal aid from public funds – like any other defendant found not guilty in a criminal trial. Meanwhile environmental health officers at the city council were looking into complaints of a stench from the plant on several nights the previous week.
A new £2 million education centre - aimed at attracting more doctors and dentists to the district – opened in Lancaster. The building at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary would be open to all hospital employees – not just medical staff. The official launch coincided with the arrival of 24 medical students who would be working throughout the district. The arrival of the students was the result of several years planning between Morecambe Bay Hospitals Trust and Liverpool University.
Over Kellet and Garstang were announced as the two big winners in the 2004 Lancashire Best Kept Village. The annual competition, sponsored by the county council’s economic development company, Lancashire County Developments, was one of the most popular community activities in the county. Over Kellet won the champion village class for the second time in three years, while Arkholme and Bilsborrow were highly commended. Garstang came out top in the large village class after secret judges nominated it to be the best in the county.
Negotiations on the future of Lancaster Market were to continue, even though current proposals for the Common Garden Street site was not acceptable. City councillors met to discuss a possible deal with landlords Edinburgh House to staunch losses of £300,000 a year.
Twenty-five years ago
A major appeal to raise £650,000 to pay for new building developments at Lancaster Royal Grammar School was launched. Parents, old boys and friends were to be urged at the school to support a scheme to build a six-form study centre and teaching block on the Bay View site between Quernmore Road and Wyresdale Road. Governors had drawn up ambitious plans for the site following the last appeal in 1981, which resulted in several improvements including a new sports hall and library.
There was priceless publicity for Lancaster when the delightfully dotty Lady Lucinda Lambton presented to the nation, via ITV, yet another of her highly individual views of Britain’s more eccentric architectural treasures. The daughter of the former Earl of Durham gave viewers a lengthy and detailed view of how Lancaster’s Butterfly House, complete with tropical rain forest, grew out of the derelict Palm House in Williamson Park. Lady Lambton the Butterfly House as a joyous example of how a distinctive building left to rot could be transformed into a place of delight.