Lancashire nostalgia in 1977: Duke takes a wrong turn, white lines and the painful truth

Here's a look at some of the stories that were making the headlines back in 1977:
Prince Philip taking part in the Holker Hall horse trialsPrince Philip taking part in the Holker Hall horse trials
Prince Philip taking part in the Holker Hall horse trials

Wrong turn for Duke blows race win hope

A momentary loss of concentration meant the end of two days of hard driving for His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh in Cumbria.

Competing before a huge crowd in the Holker Hall horse driving trials, the Duke took a wrong turn near the end of an 18-mile marathon drive and was automatically eliminated.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It was a very expensive mistake for Prince Philip when he went on the wrong side of a red flag, for up until then he had been well clear in his class - Class One for teams of four horses.

He drove a team of bay geldings from the Queen’s stables harnessed to a Bowers dog-cart, and incurred only 32 penalty marks in the opening dressage and presentation sections. The wrong turn meant that the Duke missed a whole section of the course.

The mistake was quickly seized upon by others in the class and Surrey driver, Mr Ian Bristow, and local man George Bowman - from Penrith - went ahead to take the honours.

There were a record number of entries for the trials - being run for the second year - with more than 50 people competing in seven classes.

Read More
Look back at a selection of pictures from 1977 here

Residents amazed at the case of the vanishing white lines

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Baffled residents were amazed at the “now you see them, now you don’t” road markings painted at a junction on a Lancashire housing estate.

For only days after the long-awaited white lines appeared motorists were sent back to square one when they vanished just as suddenly as they had come.

Spokesmen for the two council departments responsible for the vanishing trick blamed their own lines of communication for the slip-up.

Workmen arrived in Aldfield Avenue, Lea, to paint road markings at the junction with Dodney Drive and local motorists were delighted.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But a second gang turned up to spray tar on the road, before rolling chips in to improve the surface.

A spokesman for Preston highways department outlined the problem.

“We are responsible for the road surface, and we give a list of work we want done to the county council whose workmen complete the job for us.

“The traffic department look after road markings and they do not tell us when they intend to do their work,” he said.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Meanwhile, the men in traffic are equally in the dark about the road mending operation.

“We had no knowledge of the intended road works on this junction otherwise the firm which does the markings for us would have been told not to touch it.”

Painful (naked) truth for Lytham DIY man

A bizarre string of accidents left a Lancashire civil servant nursing three painful injuries, and regretting the day he agreed to mend a blocked sink... in the nude.

The do-it-yourself plumber from Lytham, wrapped only in a towel, was attacked by his pet kitten, knocked unconscious, and then received a broken arm as he was accidentally tipped off a stretcher by an ambulance man who could not stop laughing.

The incidents put the unfortunate man in hospital.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

They happened as the unnamed man was called from the shower by his wife to unblock the kitchen sink.

As he put his head under the sink to examine the U-bend, the family’s pet kitten spotted beneath the towel “movement from a part of the anatomy not normally exposed to view.”

It pounced, and the victim smashed his head on the sink, knocking himself unconscious and gashing his head.

Ambulance men were called and when one heard how the man had come to be lying unconscious and naked on the kitchen floor, he laughed so hard he dropped his end of the stretcher and the patient tumbled back on to the floor breaking his arm.