Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Do you remember March 1991?

  • Good news for the local economy was the confirmation of a new headquarters for the Irish dairy company Kerrygold at Barnfield which would safeguard the future for the concern in Leek, along with the jobs of the 300 workforce. The cost of the undertaking was £7.5 million. The headquarters was opened by the European Commissioner for Agriculture Ray McSharry, assisting him chairman of the Irish Dairy Board Dr Noel Cawley- no relation. The new facility would have the facility to supply 25% of the UK market for pre packed hard cheese and 15% of processed cheese and be ideally placed for good access to retail outlets in the UK and Europe.

  • Other good news was news of a major contract to wire the Channel Tunnel won by Thomas Bolton of Froghall. An order for £1.5 million had been placed by the French Government and had been won by the Staffordshire company beating off stiff competition from others including a French company. The contract required Bolton's to supply the cable by the autumn. Work on the tunnel had begun in 1988 with the work competed in 1994. It cost £4.6 billion to build an over run of 80% in the amount originally budgeted. At the peak of construction over 15,000 were employed on the Tunnel. It should be noted that Bolton's involvement in this project completed a notable double as the company had supplied the copper cable for the laying of transatlantic telegraphy cable in the previous century.

  • Leek's last foundry closed in March 1991 Sneyd Engineering based in Sneyd Street. The firm specialised in non ferrous castings having been founded as Goodwin Brothers early in the century. It became Sneyd Engineering just before the Second World War. The demise of the company prompted one correspondent to refer back to the War in a subsequent letter “ The war brought a great increase in business, at one period it seemed that half of Leek's skilled machinists were making bronze bearings for the Bailey Bridges, whilst the other half were making gun barrels up at the “Daimler”

  • A Tudor Hall long thought to be demolished many years before was rediscovered in the structure of the Red Lion Inn in Market Square. Workmen carrying out repairs found the remnants of Leek Hall. The Red Lion was established as a coaching Inn in 1767 when the incorporation of the early structure into the Inn must have taken place. Chief conservation officer John Leech considered the discovery one of the most important archaeological finds in Leek. It appears that the front of the hall was removed when the Red Lion was built and a second floor added with a flat roof. It had been long thought that the hall built by William Jollife in 1627 had been demolished to make way for the coaching Inn

  • The year had begun with the successful prosecution of the First Gulf War when the army of Saddam Hussain had been ejected from Kuwait and pursued back across the Iraq border. A local soldier Steven Tatlow in the 1st Staffords visited a local school -Valley Primary in Oakamoor- to thank the children for writing. He had received many letters from the kids which had very helpful to him and his colleagues whilst waiting for the final assault and during the days of conflict. Of course no one knew that the second Iraq conflict would occur exactly 12 years later

  • For the past year Mr Terence Howell of Hill Top Farm, Brown Edge had been battling to win the right to sleep with his chickens. There had been complaints of the mess that littered the site, but Farmer Howell was determined to assert the right to live by his “feathered friends” “ If I lived on the site it could be tidied up, but if the Council wants war then war it shall have”, he added belligerently