What life was like in South Tyneside in 1972, the year the lights went out as Britain suffered through a previous energy crisis

The energy crisis is a real worry for thousands of people – but who remembers when the lights went out 50 years ago?

Britain was plunged into darkness in 1972 and we all got used to spending evenings by candlelight.

Let’s remind ourselves of the power cuts we all endured 50 years ago.

What did you do when the lights went out in Britain?

The year we lived through power cuts.

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South Tyneside, like the rest of the country, took its turn at living through power cuts in 1972 but it wasn’t all bad news.

As the miners continued their strike over pay, a new era of Churchillian spirit gripped the country.

People found themselves in darkness for anything from three to six hours as fuel supplies were conserved. Television programmes ended at 10.30pm but there were alternatives.

One was the Regent Mecca bingo hall where four sessions had been re-timed to fit in between the cuts.

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Emergency lighting at a cosmetics counter in Binns store, in 1972.

It worked, said manager Ernest More. Business increased and Mr More added: “It is probably warmer in the hall than in many homes during the cuts.”

They were just as inventive at Mercantile Dry Dock in Jarrow. They managed to beat the power black-outs by harnessing the generators of two ships at the yard to provide essential lighting.

Another choice was to head to the pictures. Carry On Cleo was on at the ABC, a saucy part of the Carry On series which was fitting at the time. Evenings by candlelight also led to a baby boom in the area.

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But what do you remember of the energy cuts of the 70s? How did you fill your time as the power went out?

Soup and tea at a kitchen in South Tyneside in 1972.

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Nine scenes to remind you of life in South Tyneside in 1972 as we step 50 years ...

To jog your memory of the year, a caravette show was on at the York Avenue Garage in Jarrow. Light refreshments and a chance to look round a huge array of caravettes was available – with or without an elevating roof.

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Once the TV was on, you could watch Corrie and that was the year that Emily and Ernest Bishop got married.

Donny Osmond was singing about Puppy Love while the New Seekers had a huge hit with I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony).

Ernest More, who saw business boom at the Regent in 1972.

What were your memories of 1972? Tell us more by emailing [email protected]

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The rota showing when South Tyneside's power cuts were due.
The advert for the caravette show in 1972.