In last week's Bygones, we had just learnt about the Women's Institute in West Felton that was celebrating is 50th birthday.

We continued in November 1971, when the Advertizer gave a price comparison of the local grocery stores. Inflation has certainly accelerated since then. For instance you could purchase a packet of 24 Weetabix for between 11 and 13p or a 2lbs pack of sugar for around 8p! How prices have changed since 1971.

While too much sugar has always been considered bad for the teeth, a man mentioned in the Advertizer from Ellesmere had problems with his or certainly the lack of them. It appears he had finished a relationship with his girlfriend. She was upset. Two members of her close family visited this ex boyfriend. In an ensuing argument and scuffle the poor unfortunate Ellesmere man lost four of his teeth. On the other side of the world that month in Cambodia there was fighting of a more serious nature. The Khmer Rouge attacked Phnom Penh and its airport. Nine aircraft were damaged. 30 people were injured while 44 more were killed. The next day on the 11th November in Kawasaki, Japan another 15 victims died in a man made landslide.

While all this was occurring that month, the Advertizer reported council house rent in Llanfyllin was to increase by an average figure of 50p per week commencing in April 1972. Also in this particular area, engineering consultants were in the process of accessing costs of the Llanfyllin Rural District Council’s flood prevention proposal for Llantsantffraid. It seems a Government grant was required and the clerk wanted to get the “ball” rolling after much time had already been given to the issue.

While meetings regarding these aforementioned flooding topics seemed to be going round in circles, very many miles away there was an item of other circular motion. On 14th of November 1971, Mariner 9 was the very first spacecraft to successfully enter the Mars orbit. (Here we are in 2018 and man has not stepped on Mars yet!). The next day a minister of the British Government visits Salisbury in Rhodesia to confer on a satisfactory settlement to political unrest in this African country. In another part of the world a few days later was the start of the Indo-Pakistani war. This was a time when the US was engaged in the Vietnam conflict. On the 28th of November 1971, 34 American soldiers were killed when the helicopter they were travelling on crashed in South Vietnam.

If you lived in the Oswestry area in 1971 and was an avid party goer etc there was one or two outfitters you could visit if you needed to be of smart attire for those important occasions. One of the shops frequently advertised in the Advertizer was Pritchards, Tailors & Outfitters, 15 Cross St, Oswestry. I like the sentence at the bottom of their advertisement: Parking Fee refunded on request. If shops did that today it would cost the retailers a great deal in order to sell their goods!

Oswestry Glassworks

A few years ago I was given a letter that was sent to a farmer near West Felton in August 1963. Other farmers and landowners in the area had obviously been sent the same correspondence. The man who sent these letters was a historian living in Wellington, Shropshire. He was endeavouring to locate the remains of a glass works in the Oswestry area and at that time was apparently having little success for his valiant efforts. However, he did have some information. The “glass house” in question seems to have been thriving in 1752 and still visible on an 1833 map. (Interestingly not shown on an 1808 map). In the letter there is mention of a Stourbridge glazier possibly around 1780 purchasing a glassworks in the Oswestry district in order to close it – the industry by that time becoming extra competitive. To quote the letter: “A knowledge as to whether sand and or lime was available in the vicinity”. A source of nearby coal availability was also a consideration. I have done a little research myself and it appears there was a small glass works at Wootton near Queens Head where there was an abundant supply of sand. Maybe this solves the mystery.