Days Gone By: What made the headlines on this day in 1968?

Days Gone By February 22

Days Gone By February 22 - Credit: Su Anderson

The prospect of a new pay deal for agricultural workers – including a basic minimum wage – was the main front-page news item in the EADT on February 22, 1968.

Also featuring on the front page that day was a statement by Barbara Castle, Transport Minister, indicating that the recently-introduced breathalyser legislation was set to save 1,600 lives each year.

On inside pages, Lord Butler of Saffron Walden was warning of a potential age war breaking out between the older and younger generations.

In Colchester, staff at Severalls Hospital had been cleared of allegations of incompetence and negligence after an independent investigation.

On a lighter note, there was also a picture feature highlighting an Orford man who had turned his fish-smoking hobby into a successful business – with customers from as far afield as California and Africa.

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And, long before such events became frowned upon by feminists, an Ipswich model was pictured winning a national contest to take the title of “Ocean Princess” – with a trip for two to South Africa as the main prize.

The biographical bank-robbers movie Bonnie and Clyde was being screened at cinemas locally while, for anyone who fancied something a bit more sporty, there was a Point-to-Point race meeting taking place at a venue near Newmarket – or you could go to the dogs with greyhound racing in Bury St Edmunds.

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Premium Bonds were being advertised as a great “no-risk” way to stand a chance of hitting the £25,000 jackpot. If, however, you were more inclined towards a property investment, an 18th-century house with a one-acre garden at Creeting St Mary was on the market for £5,250.

National and international news

Plans to introduce a new pay structure for agricultural workers was the main news story on the front page of the EADT on February 22, 1968. The powers of the Agricultural Wages Committees were to be extended with a view to establishing a basic minimum wage – with higher rates for workers possessing particular skills or occupying positions of special responsibility.

Bury St Edmunds’s Tory MP Eldon Griffiths said it was extraordinary that, in the Midlands car industry, a worker could get more pay for not working than a farm employee could receive for putting in five or six days with his varied skills.

Meanwhile, Barbara Castle, Minister of Transport, told the Commons that an estimated 1,600 lives a year would be saved as a result of the recently introduced breathalyser legislation. Mrs Castle was also reported to be considering a proposal to increase driving-test fees to £1. 15s (£1.75).

In Washington, a dawn blast shook the Soviet Embassy when a package exploded in front of the building. The Moscow news agency Tass blamed anti-Communist hysteria in the US.

England cricket vice captain Fred Titmus was said to be making satisfactory progress in hospital after losing four toes in a boating accident at Bridgetown, Barbados, two days earlier.

Local news

An age war between younger and older generations could start because of “sermonising by the old and misunderstanding from the young.” This was the warning from Lord Butler of Saffron Walden, speaking in a debate about youth in the House of Lords.

An independent inquiry found staff at Severalls Hospital, Colchester, not guilty of incompetence. It followed a family’s allegations that the hospital and staff had shown negligence towards their 86-year-old mother. The investigation found there was no case to answer.

The story of how a hobby had turned into a business featured Richard Pinney of Orford who built a fish smoke-house from odd pieces of material in his back garden. The previous year he smoked 35,000lb of salmon and, as well as supplying a shop in the village, he had about 10,000 postal customers. The fish product was being sent as far as California and Africa.

Local model, Nanette Slack, was pictured receiving a kiss from Ipswich-born actor Ian Hendry after she was voted “Ocean Princess 1968” in a national competition. Among the prizes for Nanette, from Ipswich, was a trip for two to South Africa – plus £100 pocket money, new clothes and accessories. Her next challenge was to be at the finals of the Miss Britain contest.

The adverts

Readers were being encourage to “Back the pound to win” by investing in Premium Savings Bonds. “You can win but can’t lose your stake” was the message with the chance of a £25,000 jackpot every three months “and the chance to help your country.”

Staying on the money theme, readers were told they could “economise with an oil-fired Aga cooker – for “approximately 18s (90p) a week.”

Other ways to save cash was via the “wonderful offers” at International Stores – sliced peaches, lemon barley drink, cooked gammon, suet and such like all at bargain prices – and free delivery to your door.

For the price of £619 you could buy “the stylish Singer Chamois” from H.O. Cox car sales in St Peter’s Street, Ipswich. “Elegant walnut-finished facia. Plushy fitted carpet. Contoured seating for four.”

Footmans in Ipswich – self-styled as “East Anglia’s Shopping Centre” urged shoppers to “Hurry, hurry, hurry” for “the latest, greatest fabric show of all time.”

Anyone feeling the chill could turn to Robinson Willey – “the hottest name in gas.” The Super Firedance in your fireplace promised to provide enough “big heat” for your largest room plus a “superbly effective log glow.”


Live entertainment in the area in February 1968 included Pygmalion at Colchester Repertory Theatre, See How They Run at Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal, and She Stoops To Conquer at Ipswich Arts Theatre.

Events of a sporting nature included the Newmarket and Thurlow Point-to-Point races at Moulton or greyhound racing at the West Suffolk stadium in Bury St Edmunds.

At local cinemas the choices included Bonnie and Clyde (starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway) Blood on the Arrow (Dale Robertson and Martha Hyer), The Helicopter Spies (Robert Vaughn and David Mc Callum), The Fastest Guitar Alive (Roy Orbison) and the Disney classic Fantasia.

On TV there was the Thursday night “must” for teenagers – Top of the Pops (Manfred Mann’s Mighty Quinn was No 1 that week) – on BBC1, followed by the Softly, Softly crime series, starring Stratford Johns and Frank Windsor.

On BBC2, the Top Gear predecessor – Wheelbase – was covering the world of motoring. The Money Programme was asking “Why the Hovercraft Hold-Up?” and then it was time for Lief Erickson as “Big John” Cannon in The High Chaparral western series.

Anglia offered a couple of long-term soaps – Crossroads for early evening viewers and Peyton Place from 10.30pm.

Budding business leaders could brush up on their management skills before bed with BBC1’s “Delegation – not abdication” starting at the unlikely time of 11.12pm.

Looking for a house?

18th Century house at Creeting St Mary, with exposed beams; lounge, dining-room, kitchen, sun room, bathroom 2/3 bedrooms; two garages, stable; garden one acre; £5,250

Or a job?

Employment vacancies on February 22, 1968, included:

Linotype operator required for morning paper production – payment through incentive scheme. Superannuation and sickness benefits. Apply works manager EADT Ltd.

Wanted: Nice intelligent girl, school-leaver (or widow) to help in small residential hotel; live-in. The Links Hotel, Southwold.

Senior shorthand typist required immediately. Interesting and confidential work in charge of a small section and as secretary to the Children’s Officer. Salary scale £780 -£860. East Suffolk County Council.

Welcome to the world

GRIGGS – On February 20, 1968, at 24 Ramsgate Drive, Ipswich, to Maureen (nee Hazell) and Bill, a daughter, Clare Louise. Most grateful thanks to midwives, nurse and doctor.

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