Lancashire nostalgia in 1971: New market hall; Devil's Bridge 'drama'; and slow lane tortoise

Here's a look at some of the stories that were making the headlines back in 1971:

Wednesday, 29th July 2020, 7:00 am
The indoor market hall in Preston is taking shape
The indoor market hall in Preston is taking shape

Market trader’s have a day of reckoning

The day Preston’s market traders have long awaited arrived - when they learnt the cost of trading from the new £1 million market hall.

From the list on the wall in superintendent Norman Hey’s office they were able to assess how they would fare when the “all mod-cons” building - specialist-built for the food trade - is ready, probably early next year.

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For some, the prospect of a five-and-a-half day week of continuous trading conjures up visions of a rosy future on one of the town’s main shopping routes.

For others, including some of Preston’s long-established market traders, there will be the agonising decision of whether the cost in time and money will be too great for their resources, resulting in them cutting their trading association with the town.

In the past few months, traders’ representatives have had meetings with the architects and corporation officials to keep them in the picture.

But until now they have not had spelled out to them the precise cash terms and this is where the crunch comes.

Corporation Officials believe the graded rents, depending on position, size and facilities, are reasonable.

READ MORE: Look back at a selection of pictures from 1971 here

Odd couple in Devil’s Bridge ‘drama’ dive

They made quite a couple, strolling across the bridge in the rain - the gorgeous, painted, mini-skirted blonde and the moustached “scout” in khaki shorts.

A lunchtime crowd began to take more notice as the strange pair went nearer and nearer to the “brink of disaster” on the parapet of Devil’s Bridge, 50ft above the River Lune at Kirkby Lonsdale.

But the odd couple parted company in good style as the “lady” executed a perfect straight dive to vanish head first, with a flash of laddered tights, off the bridge into a rocky pool below.

In true “be prepared” fashion her “scout” companion was soon to follow the dangerous trail to rescue the damsel who seemed a little distressed.

The “lady” was Kirkby Lonsdale Rugby Club’s star winger Mark Birkbeck, and his “scout” brother Robin. It was all a stunt to celebrate the club’s best-ever season.

Timothy the tortoise in the slow lane... of the motorway!

Policemen are used to seeing unusual sights but Detective Chief Inspector Danny Hanberry thought his eyesight was playing tricks on him as he drove along the M6 - for there in the slow lane was a tortoise.

And it appeared the tortoise - which was definitely not breaking the 70mph speed limit - had a number plate on its back.

“I could hardly believe my eyes,” he said.

“I saw a slow moving object and as I got alongside I saw it was a tortoise in the slow lane with what looked like a number plate on its back.

“When I reported the matter to the motorway police they threatened to give me a breath test,” said Chief Insp Hanberry - but the call went out to patrol vehicles and a few minutes later Timothy Tortoise was arrested.

What Chief Insp Hanberry thought to be a number plate was in fact a sticker with a name and address on it.

The special police accident unit vehicle became a tortoise taxi and Timothy was returned to his Newton-le-Willows home.

The story, however, does not have a happy ending, for when Timothy was handed back to Mrs Joyce Williams she found there was a crack in his shell which is believed to have been caused by a car running over him.

Timothy was taken to the vet and it was decided that he would have to be destroyed.