From the files

From our own archive, we bring you what happened in the Mearns in history.

25 YEARS AGO - Friday January 11th 1991

Stonehaven has found its way into the most unusual quarters these past months - winging its way on the airwaves into the heart of Iraq and Kuwait via the BBC’s world service.

Ex hostages of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein heard “Stonehaven”.Broadcast as a competition - a word game inviting listeners to create the greatest number of five-letter words from the town’s ten-letter name.

The game had been suggested by former Stonehaven resident Mrs Elma Moss (nee Watson), who lived at Evan Street until she was 15 years old. The hostage crisis was particularly traumatic for Mrs Moss because her son, David, and daughter-in-law, Helen, were in hiding themselves.

Both were working as computer consultants in Kuwait on a two-year contract, with 18 months already completed - and they had been back in the country only 20 hours, after a holiday in Cheshire, when Hussein’s army invaded.

Executive Producer of the BBC’s twice daily “Gulf Line” programme, Mr Brian Jarmin, was so enamoured with the idea that he broadcast the competition - jokingly adding “Answers on a postcard, no prizes”, intending the competition only as a distraction for the hostages, and David in particular. But several replies were received!

All letters containing entires were smuggled out by friendly Kuwaitis.

50 YEARS AGO - Friday January 14th 1965

“If the Government does not take urgent action to tell local education authorities what steps they should take to solve their problems, and if the Government cannot give the required assistance for accomodation and staff, then serious consideration should be given to abandoning the plan to raising the school leaving age in 1970.”

This notion was unanimously adopted by Kincardine Education Committee on Wednesday after hearing a report on comprehensive secondary education, which will be presented to the Scottish Department.

Presenting the motion, Provost WJB Robson, Laurencekirk, said that time was most inopportune and the Government should be told. Kincardine should not agree to the Government’s policy.

“At the moment we are working completely in the dark,” he said. “ The Government should let us know what they are doing. It ought to be thumped home to the government that the situation will be complete chaos.”

Mr Smith has presented a report on what steps he thought the county should take to implement a two-tier system of comprehensive education.

“This is not the last work,” he said. “The plan will come before the county council and then go to the Scottish Education Department.”

100 YEARS AGO - Thrsday January 13th 1916

We imagine that few people will have serious faults to find with the decision of the Stonehaven Town Council, come to by a small majority, to allow a partial lighting of the street lamps.

During the past few weeks there has been quite an epidemic of accidents of a more or less serious nature, having no connection, let us hasten to add, with the festive season.

There is no doubt that in the inky blackness of some of the moonless and starless nights of some time ago, pedestrians were in considerable danger of sustaining injury from collision with lamp-posts and the other obstructions on the streets. A partial lighting will prove, like the famous pens, “a boon and a blessing to men” - and to women too, and there will not be any unpleasant results from Zeppelins or German warships. And the Admiralty regulations will be complied with - provided the lights do not shine or reflect towards the sea.

Turnips have suffered a good deal from the rigours of the climate, being mostly, as the farmer puts it, “fair droon’t.” There are signs, however, that a continued spell of fresh weather would encourage the comparably less frost-bitten and weather-battered bulbs to take a fresh hold of the earth, and in some degree recover their vitality and feeding properties.