FLASHBACK: The hot summer of 1976

Burnley Express 1976.
Burnley Express 1976.

THE sweltering hot summer of ’76 is the subject of our Flashback today, and what better edition than the one covering the start of the Burnley holidays.

Our front page of Tuesday, July 6th, carried a picture of the Stow family from Duke Street loading up their car ready to set off for Flookburgh, near Grange Over Sands.

And another picture showed pals Karen Shaw, Anne McEvitt and Deborah Houlker preparing to travel to Torquay as the country basked in Mediterranean style temperatures.

Our report stated the “mass exodus started on Friday when crowds of holidaymakers gathered in Burnley Bus Station to catch overnight coaches heading to all parts of the country.”

Local tour operators reported brisk business and extra coaches had to be put on to meet the demand.

Meanwhile, those who usually took their holidays abroad were seemingly thinking twice as the temperatures in this country exceeded many Spanish resorts.

British Rail reported that trains to Blackpool, Morecambe and the south coast were nearing capacity.

In other news, a Burnley bus driver got into quite a serious flap when he was attack by an angry swan while relaxing on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal!

Brian Lomas, of Devonshire Terrace, “thought his last minutes had come when he found himself thrown to the floor of his power boat under the enormous weight of the bird.

“He struggled with all his might to beat the furious creature off but its vicious attack left his mouth and face bleeding, his bones bruised and face battered.”

The swan kept attacking Mr Lomas even after he fell out of the boat and made it to the bank. People nearby gave him a cup of tea and a cigarette to steady his nerves but when ambulancemen arrived the swan renewed its assault on Mr Lomas.

He said: “It passed by the boat and didn’t seem to take much notice, but then all of a sudden I was thrown into the bottom of the boat with the swan on top of me. People standing on the canal bridge were laughing but I wasn’t – I knew just how dangerous it was.”

The scourge of Dutch elm disease was threatening elm trees in Towneley Park. Burnley Council staff had to inject the trees with a special fungicide.

Crime was down according to another story on our front page. However, detection rates for crimes in the county had slumped causing some alarm.

Finally, Burnley Football Club (again as frequent a visitor to our front page as back) was worried its money-spinning Development Association was under threat from the Government. A Home Office plan to set up local authority lotteries would make it illegal to sell club lottery tickets in pubs, clubs and shops. Burnley MP Dan Jones met Home Office Minister Dr Shirley Summerskill to discuss the problem.