From the Guardian files

Garstang became the world's first Fairtrade town in 2000. Our picture, from 2001, shows  campaign coordinator Bruce Crowther (centre) with Co-Op's Garstang branch manager Betty Whittam and member services officer Duncan Reessday.
Garstang became the world's first Fairtrade town in 2000. Our picture, from 2001, shows campaign coordinator Bruce Crowther (centre) with Co-Op's Garstang branch manager Betty Whittam and member services officer Duncan Reessday.

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

Five years ago

A form of play not seen in Burton-in-Lonsdale for more than 100 years had been revived to mark St George’s Day – as well as five years of community ownership of the village shop. Burton Mummers’ performance involved seven villagers and featured a showdown between St George and the Dragon.

An iconic Lune Valley brick making company which had been operating for more than 100 years was due to close. Claughton Brickworks announced it intended to officially cease production at the site off the A683 at Claughton with the loss of 28 jobs. Spokesperson for the company said that the recession and the massive reduction in house building had left the company with no option. The brickworks started production in 1898 and the aerial ropeway used to transfer the clay from Claughton Moor across the A683 to the brickworking site was still an integral part of the business before production ceased.

Garstang celebrated a decade as the world’s first Fairtrade Town. On April 27 2000 the people of Garstang voted to become the first ever Fairtrade Town. Since then the success of the Fairtrade project had been monumental.

Ingleton Waterfalls Trail celebrated its official 125th anniversary. The tourist attraction marked the milestone with a nominal one penny entry fee for its visitors. The original entrance charge was 2d when it first opened to the public in 1885.

Ten years ago

Lancaster’s Index store was to shut with up to 15 jobs at risk. The move followed the shock decision by Littlewoods to axe its loss-making chain of catalogue sales stores. Lancaster’s Index store, which employed up to 15 people, was inside Littlewoods in the Marketgate complex.

Campaign material belonging to the Labour and Conservative parties was stolen and vandalised in Lancaster. More than a dozen Labour election posters and wooden stakes were taken and vandals also defaced some of the posters with obscene graffiti and dumped wooden stakes in the street.

The controversial mobile phone mast in Slyne Road was de-activiated and was due for demolition. Mobile phone giant O2 erected the 50ft structure without planning permission arguing it qualified as “acceptable development”. Lancaster residents who formed a No to O2 campaign took to the streets and the council duly slapped an enforcement notice on the company. O2 admitted they would not appeal against the notice and agreed to take their mast down.

For years heritage groups had been searching for a plaque made in honour of a Lancaster teacher who died in World War One. But it took just one article in the Lancaster Guardian to find it. The memorial plaque to Second Lieutenant Richard Irving – which was lost when Greaves School was turned into a block of flats – had been kept in a cupboard and used in lessons about World War One at Central Lancaster High School.

Twenty five years ago

Nuclear road and rail traffic passing through the district could double if plans to build an underground nuclear waste dump at Sellafield or Dounreay got the go-ahead. Councillors from all parts of the North West expressed fears about transport safety aspects of the plans after hearing details from the nuclear waste disposal company at a special seminar.

The reprieved Settle-Carlisle railway line was proving so popular that a plan had been launched to attract leisure-based businesses along the 71 mile route. It was hoped that hotels, conference centres and improved tourist accommodation could be attracted along the rail corridor as well as improving links with the Blackburn-Hellifield line.

As workers at Lancaster’s K Shoe factory took their first steps in a new career direction, they were given an enthusiastic pep-talk by their new bosses. The 70 employees – whose jobs were saved when sister company Clarks Shoes announced they wanted them to take over production of children’s shoe uppers – heard that the future of the Lancaster unit was secured for at least the next two years and hopefully well beyond.

A Lancaster police dog battled against stiff opposition to win a top 10 place in a national competition. Biff, a five-year-old German Shepherd, came sixth out of 36 entrants in the National Police Dog Trials in Dorset.