Preston wins new Polytechnic status, 'earthquake' measuring 4.5 hits, and Lancashire librarians move down the road - a look back at Lancashire stories and pictures from 1970

Preston wins new Polytechnic statusPreston wins new Polytechnic status
Preston wins new Polytechnic status
Here we take a light-hearted look at life in Lancashire in 1970.

The North West’s third Polytechnic will definitely be at Preston. After four years of wrangling by rival claimants, the go-ahead has been given for a scheme based on the Harris College.

This long-awaited news has been given by the new Minister for Education, Mrs Margaret Thatcher, to the Preston and Lancashire authorities.

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It makes clear that the decision is not dependent on the granting of new city status, but has been given on the strength of the Harris’s own advanced courses.

The news will come as a big blow to neighbouring Blackburn and Bolton, which have been campaigning vigorously for their own technical colleges.

Becoming a Polytechnic – the North West’s others are at Manchester and Liverpool – will mean that the Harris will take more students until it is completely a full-time college.

Already the Harris runs courses up to degree and equivalent standard in several subjects.

::The earth moved for North West residents

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The alarming “earthquake” that gave five northern counties their biggest shake-up for years last night was quite normal.

From the direction of the shock waves and their “arrival time” at Aldermaston and Scotland, the centre of the tremor could be placed roughly within the triangle formed by Settle, Clitheroe and Skipton, said earthquake expert Dr HL Thirlaway.

On the seismologist’s slide rule, the tremor reached a Richter Magnitude of about 4.5 – or only a tiny fraction of the power of the big quakes this year in Peru and Turkey.

A police station switchboard at Blackpool was jammed with calls after the tremor struck the resort and the Fylde coast.

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People reported that their armchairs had moved, as they had been sitting watching television, ornaments had been sent crashing and windows had slammed shut.

A check on people living at the top of the Avenham flats in Preston showed that most of them knew nothing about it until today.

But most residents in the Hollinhurst Avenue area of Penwortham were affected.

And a number of people in the Garstang area felt the ground move.

::Angler Alf left his bite at behind

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Angler Alf Smith did not feel like smiling after a fruitless five-hour fish on the River Ribble.

Glumly he packed his rod and bait into the coach waiting to take him and his team mates back home.

But as the miles motored by the effect of the long, hard toil wore off and Alf began to smile. And this started his mates chattering.

For all 58-year-old Alf could produce was a toothless grin. He had left his false teeth on the waterside at Walton-le-Dale.

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The coach stopped as it neared the M6 motorway at Preston and Alf set off walking down the river bank to find his teeth.

An hour later, he strolled triumphantly back... with his teeth, wrapped in a brown paper bag.

Club treasurer Stan Stone said: “He had had a right day of it. He had caught the same as me during the match – a cold.”

::Lancashire librarians move to a new home – down the road

Staff at the Lancashire library headquarters at Preston were on the move – from a basement at County Hall to new premises in one of the town’s busiest streets.

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The library was closed for only one day as the 70 librarians and staff crossed over to the new home in Corporation Street. More than 300,000 books were involved in the move.

The new library is now housed in two neighbouring buildings – the former premises of James Askew’s booksellers, and the former grocery warehouse of James Hall’s a few feet behind in Bowran Street.

With the exception of the children’s section, which deals solely with the county’s 120 branches and 2,000 schools and has remained at County Hall, all the library is now in Corporation Street.

County librarian Mr Alan Longworth believes it will be of greater value to the public.

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“The buildings are almost as I would have designed them if I had been starting from scratch,” he said.

“They have shaped up very well indeed.”

As an important public building, the old library could hardly have been more inaccessible. Tucked away at County Hall, approached through its backyard or a myriad of corridors it required a keen determination and persistence to find it for the first time.