When the lights went out and shops were forced to close - memories of South Shields during the 1970s crisis
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And as the threat of blackouts return once more this year, we look back to the days when shops shut in the week before December 25 and we got used to three hours in the dark each evening.
It was back in the early 1970s when Britain was in crisis.
The country was struggling with rising inflation triggered by the oil crisis and talk of power cuts to help conserve energy supplies were rife.
Because of government restrictions, Binns in South Shields announced it would be closed in the week before Christmas unless alternative lighting could be found, while F W Woolworths, in King Street, said only the second floor would be open for the sale of food.
Woods in Ocean Road temporarily closed its doors on December 19 because of the power crisis but K.Lee in Fowler Street declared it would be doing its best to stay open.
As a result of restrictions on street lighting, most of the lights on the town’s John Reid Road, except at pedestrian crossings, were disconnected.
A three-day working week was introduced to cut electricity consumption as coal stocks at power stations dropped seriously low.
And the North-Eastern Electricity Board warned South Tynesiders to expect three-hour-a-day power black-outs.
By then, though, the power cuts were almost the norm. They had begun the previous year and people found themselves in darkness for anything from three to six hours. Television programmes ended at 10.30pm.
Mercantile Dry Dock in Jarrow managed to beat the power black-outs by harnessing the generators of two ships at the yard to provide essential lighting.
Who remembers the power cuts of the 1970s and how did you pass the time to get through them?
Do you remember the Christmas when we cope during early evenings of darkness?
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