Fifty years ago the country was undergoing an upheaval that was worse than today. There was a double energy crisis with an oil embargo from the Arab nations, such as Saudi Arabia, and a miners’ strike that led to a three-day week. There were long queues for petrol as well as the threat of more power cuts. However it was not all gloom; the new Guild Hall opened in Preston and life continued.Advertisement
A key event in Preston in 1973 was the opening of the Guild Hall. However the venue got off to a rough start. David Bowie, Led Zeppelin and Roxy Music were banned from appearing again. Apparently, at their performance, Led Zeppelin screwed their rather overpowered (4,500 watts) PA system to the new wood floor of the stage. They were never invited back! It was so loud that some patrons complained of hearing loss for days afterwards.
The image above shows Friargate looking north towards the University. Interestingly this part of Friargate looks more or less the same today. There is evidence – on the end of the build to the left – of where it was demolished to make way for Ringway. A rather stylish Ford Capri is turning left, while a Vauxhall Viva follows. The Jobcentre Plus is now on the right.
Flares were all the fashion in 1973. However, inflation was at 8.7 per cent and rising. By 1979 it was 13.3 per cent. High inflation sparked a range of strikes, the key one being the miners. Most power stations still ran on coal and the threat of more blackouts, as in 1972, was real. Notably a new Ford Cortina cost less than £1000.
Preston Station was in flux in 1973. The old East Lancashire platforms were still in place but disused. Here we see a Class 25 in corporate BR blue with a ballast train. The main line had just been electrified. Also the Park Hotel can be seen on the right. 1973 saw the introduction of the TOPS computer system for managing locomotives. The blue livery had been introduced in 1967.
Fishergate in 1973 and a Preston Corporation double decker bus travels down the not yet pedestrianised main road. The UCP restaurant is prominent. UCP stood for United Cattle Products and they sold mainly tripe. Tripe was once a staple in Lancashire, and was made from the lining of a cow’s stomach. UCP cafes were a common site in northern towns.
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