The year we sweltered - memories of Hartlepool in 1976 as we prepare for a long-awaited hot spell

At last! Warmer weather is on the way but will it compare to the year when we basked in the sun for months on end.

Thursday, 12th May 2022, 12:33 pm

The year of 1976 saw a heatwave which lasted for more than three months. At one point, we had 16 consecutive days where the temperatures topped 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

Weather experts are predicting a warm to hot spell during this month.

It may well not reach the heights of those dizzy 70s days but it gives us a chance to reminisce on Hartlepool news from 1976.

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Remembering Hartlepool in 1976.

l Workers had to dig out the ice cream stand at Seaton in readiness for the summer season.

Severe gales earlier in the year meant it was almost completely covered by sand which had been blown up.

l Temperatures reached 80 degree-plus and weather experts predicted more to come for Hartlepool.

A Weather Centre spokesman said there need be no fears that the heatwave was on the wane for the time being at least.

St Hilda's Hospital which saw a rise in accidents caused by platform shoes in 1976.

“There looks like being no real change in the weather for a couple of days at least, ” he said. “There will perhaps be the odd misty patch but it will remain generally dry and sunny with temperatures staying pretty much as at the moment, ” he added.

l Hundreds of sprains and fractures were being handled by St Hilda’s Hospital casualty department because of platform-soled shoes, said a Hartlepool consultant.

More than 50 per cent of foot and knee injuries involving young people are caused by the shoes and many result in permanent foot damage, said WM Bowden, consultant in charge of the accident and emergency department.

l Twenty one children at St Helen’s School in Hartlepool, who took their cycling proficiency test, were successful, said the Hartlepool Road Safety Officer Bert Carter. The highest mark of 99 went to Carolyne Embleton.

The ice cream stand at Seaton had to be dug out of the sand in readiness for the summer season.

l Hartlepool teenager Judith Potts, 19, was given the honour of naming a 600ft Burmah oil platform in 1976. She was the only female apprentice draughtsperson at Laings at the time.

l Residents in Hutton Henry were trying to raise £1,700 to help create a community centre and they were doing it through charity meals.

To date they have acted as hosts to each other for steak lunches, soup kitchens, coffee mornings, pie and pea suppers, bake-ins - you name it, the Hutton Henry community have done it.

The old school, which is believed to date back to 1742 and was originally called The Church On The Hill, was selected by the villagers as the obvious choice for a community centre.

Longscar Hall which often held events such as dances in the summer holidays at Seaton.

l The first ever record was produced by the Friday evening folk club at the Red Lion in Trimdon Village.

It featured residents and floor singers from the club and they included Bert Draycott, Dennis Rowan, Dick Smith and the Trimdon Folk Band.

l Early morning crowds at the sun-soaked Durham Miners Gala heralded one of the biggest “Big Meetings” for many years.

The platform party took on an historic aspect with the joint presence of Mr Callaghan and Sir Harold Wilson.

Mr Callaghan promised miners that they would have more money within a month and moves were being made to ensure the miners were given a pay rise at the end of July.

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