From the Guardian files

Kingsway flats.
Kingsway flats.

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

Five years ago

March 12 2010

A former cafe boat moored at Glasson Dock for more than 50 years was to be removed and dismantled. Babagees Cafe, which had been branded an eyesore, was to be lifted out of the marina and dropped on to the car park before being broken down and taken away. British Waterways was organising the removal after the boat was left to deteriorate.

A vending machine which spewed out free packets of crisps every time the word recession was mentioned was to form part of a festival celebrating digital culture and art in Lancaster. The modified machine, networked to a computer, continually scanned the BBC news RSS feed – commanding it only to release snacks when words relating to the recession made the online headlines.

A massive aeroplane wreck was to be lowered into a Carnforth lake making it one of the largest man-made underwater attractions in the country. The plane was to take its underwater resting place with other small aircraft and helicopters already dunk in the lake. The director of Capernwray Diving Centre was preparing the 70ft 1960s style jet in order to sink it into the 11-acre lake.

Play areas across the district received a £40,000 boost towards their refurbishment. At a budget meeting, councillors agreed to put the cash towards improving 14 playgrounds. There had been fears that some of the play areas would have to be closed. Others had already had equipment fenced off until work could be carried out.

Ten years ago

March 11 2005

Sir Chris Bonington was officially installed as the new Chancellor of Lancaster University. The town hall ceremony followed a service of welcome at Lancaster Priory and a colourful procession – complete with military band – between the two venues. Speaking that evening, Sir Chris, 69, said he had thoroughly enjoyed the day.

Swimming and water polo clubs claimed they would be dramatically affected by the closure of Salt Ayre swimming pool for three months while repairs were carried out. The pool was to be closed while £131,000 worth of repairs and improvements took place. Tiling and grouting at the pool was to be replaced, work was to be carried out on its two movable floors, and there were to be improvements to the changing rooms.

Lancaster Civic Society withdrew from a penal set up to assist planning officers in the controversial design of flats at the Kingsway site. The civic society publicly opposed the Kingsway scheme as a whole, and the proposed residential block in particular, but had joined the panel to give input into the design of the 11-storey building – due to be built over the disused bus depot.

Residents, councillors and community representatives from Lancaster took part in a workshop to discuss setting up a car club scheme in the city. Lancaster City Council organised the event, in conjunction with Halcrow, to canvass the opinion of people in the city. A car club involved having easy access to a car without owning one.

Twenty five years ago

March 9 1990

Grass root anger at the imposition of the Poll Tax swelled up in Lancaster when about 200 people gathered spontaneously on the steps of the town hall to register their protest before marching off round the city centre. Traffic was held up as the demonstrators marched back towards the town hall to send the demonstration there.

Bizarre scenes took place in Lancaster city centre in the small hours of a Saturday morning when about 200 cars got lost in the one-way system. acid-house partygoers, frustrated in their attempts to congregate in East Lancashire, split up into groups and made their way all over the county. A convoy of cars hit Lancaster at about 2.30am. The police said about 2,000 cars were jammed all along the A6 in adjacent lanes. Lancaster’s one-way system was meaningless at one stage when the cars drove up King Street and Thurnham Street the wrong way and round the Kingsway Baths in the opposite direction.

Splitting Morecambe from Lancaster for local government purposes looked like continuing to be a controversial issue in the run-up to the full city council elections in 1991. Morecambe Bay Independents, who were pressing for Morecambe and Heysham residents to have a separate council, were compiling evidence to present what they hoped would be a successful case to the Boundary Commission.