THE NORTH STAR housing association, which now has more than 4,000 homes across the Tees Valley, County Durham and North Yorkshire, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, having been formed in 1974. Was 1974 a vintage year? Well, you decide – it was certainly a year packed with historic events…


1: Due to mining and railway strikes, Edward Heath’s government announces the three day week: commercial users of electricity were only allowed three consecutive days of consumption and TV had to stop broadcasting at 10.30pm

15: In the US, Happy Days, featuring the Fonz – Henry Winkler – made its debut on ABC

20: The first English professional football match is played on a Sunday: Millwall beat Fulham 1-0 in the Second Division

22: Nike is granted a trademark for its iconic logo, the swoosh

30: Actress Olivia Colman (below) is born in Norwich

The Northern Echo: Olivia Colman


1: British detectives capture Ronald Biggs who was on the run following the 1963 great train robbery in Rio de Janeiro – but he can’t be extradited because his Brazilian girlfriend was pregnant

The Northern Echo: Patty Hearst

4: US heiress, Patty Hearst (above), is kidnapped by left wing terrorists of the Symbionese Liberation Army, for whom she later carries out an armed bank robbery

13: Robbie Williams is born

28: Edward Heath, the Conservative Prime Minister, was clinging to power after a general election ended in Britain’s first hung parliament since 1929


4: Heath was unable to form a coalition with Jeremy Thorpe’s Liberal Party, so Labour’s Harold Wilson is asked to form a government. Within days, he is able to bring the miners’ strike to an end and put a finish to the three day week.

9: Newcastle fans invaded the St James’ Park pitch with their team losing 3-1 to Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup quarter final. When the pitch was cleared, Newcastle went on to win 4-3 but the result was declared void. The match was replayed twice before Newcastle emerged victorious, and went on to the cup final, where they lost 3-0 to Liverpool.

20: An attempt to kidnap Princess Anne in The Mall is foiled

29: The motorway speed limit, temporarily reduced to 50mph in December 1973 because of the oil crisis, is restored to 70mph

30: Red Rum (below) wins the Grand National for a second consecutive year

The Northern Echo: File photo dated 30/03/1974 of Red Rum, with jockey Brian Fletcher being led in by Donald "Ginger" McCain, his trainer at Aintree after becoming the first horse since "Reynoldstown" to win the Grand National in successive years. PRESSRed Rum, with jockey Brian Fletcher being led in by Donald "Ginger" McCain, his trainer at Aintree after becoming the first horse since "Reynoldstown" to win the Grand National in successive years

The Northern Echo: PA file photo dated 07/04/1974 of (Clockwise from top left) Benny Andersson, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Agnetha Faltskog and Annifrid Lyngstad of Abba congratulating each other in Brighton after their song 'Waterloo' won the Eurovision Song Contest.


6: Abba (above) win the Eurovision Song Contest, held in Brighton, with Waterloo

17: Victoria Adams, better known as Posh Spice or Beckham, is born in Hertfordshire


1: Alf Ramsey, who won the World Cup for England in 1966, is sacked after England fail to qualify for the 1974 World Cup, the first time they had missed out on the tournament


7: Adventurer Edward “Bear” Grylls is born in County Down

8: Jon Pertwee makes his last appearance as Doctor Who, regenerating into Tom Baker

26: A packet of Juicy Fruit chewing gum is scanned and bought at 8.01am in a supermarket in Ohio, the first product to be purchased by a barcode


6: Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert win the Wimbledon singles titles

7: West Germany win the World Cup, beating the Netherlands 2-1

The Northern Echo: Brendan Foster breaks the 3,000 metre world record at Gateshead in August 1974


3: At the Gateshead Games at the new stadium, local runner Brendan Foster (above) breaks the world 3,000 metre record. He will become the 1974 BBC Sports Personality of the Year

8: With the Watergate scandal closing in around him, Richard Nixon becomes the only US President to resign. Vice President Gerald Ford is sworn in

The Northern Echo: President Richard Nixon says farewell to members of his cabinet and staff in the White House before leaving for California in August 1974. In the background, left, David and Julie Eisenhower and on the right Edward and Tricia Cox...Copyright unknown..President Richard Nixon says farewell to members of his cabinet and staff in the White House before leaving for California in August 1974.


6: Tim Henman is born in Oxford

8: Ford grants Nixon a "full, free and absolute pardon"

20: The British Parliament is dissolved, making it the shortest in UK history

23: Ceefax becomes the world’s first television text service on the BBC


5: The IRA bombs two pubs in Guildford, Surrey, killing five people and injuring 54

10: Labour’s Harold Wilson triumphs in the year’s second general election, winning a 42 seat majority. Defeated Heath remains as Conservative leader, although early in 1975, he is replaced by Margaret Thatcher

30: In “The Rumble in the Jungle” in Kinshasa in Zaire (below), Muhammad Ali regains the world heavyweight boxing title, defeated George Foreman. The fight is watched by 26m viewers – nearly half the British population – on BBC1, the year’s biggest TV audience

The Northern Echo: LT95888..3/03/16..02 Greenwich...Preview of Muhammad Ali Exhibition...Photo of Ali v Foreman, in their 1974 fight, Rumble in the Jungle...Copyright: Simon Hildrew.

The Northern Echo: U.K. PROVINCIAL USE ONLY. ALL TV, FOREIGNS AND NATIONALS (INCLUDING REGIONAL EDITIONS) OUT..File photo dated 08/11/74 of Lord Lucan with his wife Lady Lucan, who has been found dead at home. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday September 27,Lord and Lady Lucan


8: Lord Lucan disappears the day after his nanny, Sandra Rivett, is murdered in the family home in Belgravia in London. His blood-stained car is found two days later in East Sussex, but Lucan has never been found – he was declared legally dead in 1999

The Northern Echo: John Stonehouse, Ministor of Posts and Telecommunications, launched a new generation of TV detector vans in 1969John Stonehouse, Ministor of Posts and Telecommunications, launched a new generation of TV detector vans in 1969

20: John Stonehouse, the Labour MP for Walsall North, leaves a pile of clothes on Miama beach and disappears

21: Two pubs in New Street, Birmingham, are bombed by the IRA, killing 21 and injuring 182 – the deadliest terrorist acts in the UK in the 20th Century

25: The first double heart transplant is performed by Dr Christiaan Barnard in Cape Town, South Africa


24: John Stonehouse is arrested in Melbourne, Australia, and is charged with 21 offences, including fraud, theft and forgery

31: Johan Cruyff becomes the first footballer to win the Ballon d’Or for the third time

The Northern Echo: Les Gray, top right, with members of Seventies band Mud, who has died at the age of 57Mud had the best selling single of 1974

The best selling singles of 1974

1. Tiger Feet – Mud

2. Seasons in the Sun – Terry Jacks

3. Billy Don’t Be a Hero – Paper Lace

4. When Will I See you Again – The Three Degrees

5. Rock Your Baby – George McCrae

6. Gonna Make You a Star – David Essex

7. She – Charles Aznavour

8. Kung Fu Fighting – Carl Douglas

9. Everything I Own – Ken Boothe

10. Sugar Baby Love – Rubettes

11. Devil Gate Drive – Suzi Quatro

12. Love Me For a Reason – The Osmonds

13. Jealous Mind – Alvin Stardust

14. The Air That I Breathe – The Hollies

15. Annie’s Song – John Denver

16. Waterloo – Abba

17. The Wombling Song – The Wombles

18. You Make Me Feel Brand New – The Stylistics

19. The Most Beautiful Girl – Charlie Rich

20. Y Viva Espana – Sylvia

The Northern Echo: North Star

THE Endeavour Housing Association was formally registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1965 on August 16, 1974.

There were, though, much bigger stories for The Northern Echo to report on 50 years ago.

The Northern Echo: From The Northern Echo of August 16, 1974

The morning of the registration, the Echo told how Court Line, Britain’s biggest holiday company, had gone bust, leaving 40,000 holidaymakers stranded abroad and 150,000 people not knowing whether their holiday would go ahead. They included Hazel Johnson, 21, of Stockton and her fiancé Kevin Feeney who were due to fly to Austria for their honeymoon.

“We’ll try to go to the Lakes instead, if we can get in,” said Hazel.

The Echo’s front page also reported how an assassin had missed his target, the South Korean president Park Chung-Hee, but had shot and killed the president’s wife, Yuk Young-soo, in Seoul.

Locally, the Stockton-based Fiesta nightclub chain revealed its plans to take over the ABC cinema – the famous Globe – in the town, while in Darlington, there was a strike at the Cummins engine plant over union recognition.

1974 is remembered as the year of a sugar shortage – there was a genuine shortage, but when it became known, panic-buying worsened the situation. However, on August 16, 1974, the Echo reported that the Amos Hinton chain of supermarkets was restocking its shelves with the sweet stuff, although customers were being asked to buy £1.50 worth of other goods before they were allowed to buy 2lbs of sugar.

Durham County Council was advertising for a clerk/typist to work at its headquarters on between £672 and £1,464 a year, depending on qualifications and experience. In Melsonby, a four bedroomed “chalet-style detached house with a Tyrolean finish” in St James Close was on the market for £20,000 – call East Layton 252 for further details said the advert.

August 16, 1974, was a Friday, so the Echo’s sports pages were looking forward to the kick-off of the football season the following day, with Middlesbrough, under Jack Charlton, joining Newcastle in the First Division. However, the matches were overshadowed by football’s discipline problems, as shown the week before when Liverpool’s Kevin Keegan and Leeds United’s Billy Bremner had been sent off for brawling at Wembley in the Charity Shield.

Dissent against referees’ decisions was described as “the curse of the modern game”, but the newly elected president of the referees’ association, Pat Partridge of Cockfield, told the Echo: “People say players become frustrated and express their anger with dissent to referees, yet one can draw a parallel to ordinary life. If a car driver is stopped by a policeman, he does not immediately kick up and rebel against authority.”

The Northern Echo: Collect pic belonging to Pat Partridge of him in his refereeing days with George Best - D10/03/04ALPat Partridge, of Cockfield, refereeing a match with George Best