3 stories making the news: Jolly Farmer plans; fish bomb; and objections to Harris revamp

Here's a look at some of the stories that were making the headlines back in 1980:

By Naomi Moon
Thursday, 20th January 2022, 11:38 am
Popular watering hole the Jolly Farmer is set to be turned into shops
Popular watering hole the Jolly Farmer is set to be turned into shops

Shops plan passed for former top pub Jolly Farmer

One of Preston’s oldest and best-known pubs has been sold for more than £400,000 for conversion into shops.

Sibec Developments, a Wigan firm which paid a similar sum for a nearby furniture store a few months ago, has bought the Jolly Farmer in Market Street.

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Its outline plans for turning the one-time farmers’ market rendezvous into three shop units have also bee approved by the town’s development committee.

The sale also involves the next door chip shop in Orchard Street.

The commercial attraction of busy Orchard Street, which leads from the market to Friargate and St George’s shopping centre is the reason for the Sibec investment.

For the firm has commissioned architects to redesign the Jolly Farmer building, and its earlier acquisitions, furniture store John Westheads and Glasgow’s pet shop in a scheme costing a further £250,000.

Objections have been lodged over plans to install a picture window at the Harris Museum and Art Gallery in Preston

Preston agent Mr Nick Royale, a partner in Johnson Kelly, of Friargate, said: “In our opinion Orchard Street is the best shopping street in Preston and it will be when we have finished as well.”

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Fish course went down a bomb

There was definitely something fishy about the mystery package which sent army bomb disposal experts scurrying to a Lancashire office block.

For the parcel - found after an anonymous call to the Premium Bonds complex in St Annes - showed up positive on a sensitive “sniffer” device.

And the disposal team decided that the safest thing to do was put the plastic bag in a room and blow it up by remote control.

But when experts and ERNIE officials returned to the sealed off room they found the walls pebble-dashed with the remains of a young office girl’s salmon sandwiches!

“For some reason the salmon showed up on our ‘sniffer’ device,” said Prebonds personnel officer Mr Charles Sturrock. “Apparently certain foodstuffs - Christmas cake is one of them - show up on monitors.

“It was just a coincidence but we had this phone call during the night saying that a bomb was going to go off at 11 o’clock then we found this holdall which nobody seemed to know anything about.

“Nobody claimed it so after we tested it we called in the police. They summoned the disposal team from Liverpool and the man in charge decided to destroy it.

“Unfortunately it turned out to be somebody’s lunch and it made quite a mess of the room. Still, it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

Eventually after all the drama a young clerical worker - blushing a shade of salmon pink - admitted that the sandwiches were her lunch and said she had not heard anybody asking who owned the bag.

An army spokesman said the bag would have been blown up if it had shown “significant resemblance” to a bomb.

“All we can say is that we are sorry we have spoiled somebody’s lunch. But whatever was on those sandwiches must have been pretty hot stuff.”

Groups fail to see the light over Harris window plans

Council plans to install a picture window in the massive stone facade of Preston’s Harris Museum and Art Gallery look like running into trouble.

“Strong feelings” have been aroused by the proposals, the town’s development committee was told.

One of the objections has come from the influential Victorian Society, and others are expected.

The window is part of a scheme to make a new public lounge, reading room and tourist information office in the under-used store rooms, beneath the great stone staircase of the century-old Harris building.

Another part of the plan is to enclose the wind-swept entrance “tunnel” in the enlarged building.

“I understand there are certain organisations who have very strong feelings,” Coun Ron Marshall told the committee.

“This is because it is one of the most magnificent buildings in the town.”

Principal planning officer Mr Brian Jackson said they were consulting a variety of organisations, including the Victorian Society, the Ancient Monuments Society, and the local Civic Trust.

They had also had objections from three local men, but hoped to have discussions completed in two or three weeks.