Retro 1972: Coal row hits schools

DATELINE: January 1972


Acoal shortage sparked a crisis which threatened to close Leeds schools.

The shortage, brought about by union wrangling, forced the National Coal Board to strike hundreds of Yorkshire schools from its delivery list in a bid to conserve supplies.

Yorkshire miners' secretary Sydney Schofield warned of power cuts within four weeks.

Junior, primary and infant schools were told not to expect any further deliveries of coal but senior schools would continue to receive the fuel.

In Leeds, a spokesman for the education authority announced they had about three week's worth of coal in stores and that coupled with efficiency savings, no schools would have to close for the foreseeable future.

The crisis was brought about by miners striking over pay and conditions.


Former hospital porter Jimmy Savile shared a joke with children's ward patient John Gosney, eight. Also in the picture was fellow hospital porter Joe Tyrer, who was due to travel to Buckingham Palace with Jimmy for the his investiture with an OBE. The former wrestler, semi-professional cyclist, dustman and hospital porter was presenter of music show Top of the Pops at the time. He was awarded the title for services to hospitals and charity.

Leeds United stopped Liverpool in their tracks and ended a 34-game unbeaten run when they beat them 2-0 at Anfield, with goals by Allan Clarke and Mick Jones. Jack Charlton was pulled from the team at the last minute because of neck strain.

Demolition men began work to take down a leaning chimney on York Road, Leeds. The 70ft tall soot-blackened structure, right, formed part of a disused baths and leaned menacingly towards All Saints C of E School. Caretaker Harry Leathley, who had a bungalow near the chimney, said he noticed it wasn't right about three months previous.

House prices rose by 15 per cent in 1971, according to a review of the property market published in Leeds. A mid-range semi-detached house bought for 3,250 in 1965 was worth about half as much again, according to the report.

The Bloody Sunday massacre took place in Derry, Northern Ireland, when the British Army opened fire on unarmed nationalist civil rights marchers and killed 14.

It created just as much a stir as the iPhone in its day - the first hand-held scientific calculator went on the market, for a cool 200.

Unemployment topped 1m, rising by 56,691 to 1,023,538 - the first time it had risen above 1m since 1947, when a fuel crisis threw 1.9m out of work.

Films on at the cinema included Klute, starring Donald Sutherland and Jane Fonda, who played a New York prostitute who helped Sutherland's cop find a missing man and Brotherhood of Satan, the story of how a family found themselves trapped in a town by a cult of senior citizens who recruited children to worship Satan.

The Queen Elizabeth liner sank just outside Hong Kong harbour on Monday January 10 after fire raged on the ship for 24 hours. The twin-funnelled 83,000-ton former Cunard liner, once the world's largest passenger ship, met an inglorious end after a 33-year-long career.


On January 24, Japanese soldier Shoichi Yokoi was discovered in Guam, having spent 28 years in hiding in the jungle. Yokoi was conscripted into the Imperial Japanese Army in 1941 and arrived on Guam in February 1943. When American forces liberated the island in 1944, he went into hiding. He was eventually discovered by two fishermen, who managed to capture him - he nitially lived with two other soldiers but spent the last eight years living alone in a cave. He died aged 82 in 1997.

Yugoslavian air stewardess Vesna Vulovic unwittingly became a world record holder after a bomb caused the plane she was on to break apart in mid-air. The stewardess fell to the ground in the middle section of the plane and miraculously survived the fall of over 30,000ft. Despite suffering terrible injuries, including two broken legs, a fractured skull and crushed vertebrae, which left her temporarily disabled, she recovered and was able to walk and work again as a stewardess. She was rescued from the wreckage by a former Second World War German army medic.


Footballer George Best was given a dressing down by Manchester United manager Frank O'Farrell after he missed training sessions at the club and went out on the town with a beauty queen instead. He was fined two weeks' pay (about 400), told to quit his club-sponsored house and had several days off cancelled.

It was announced that the UK's top comedy act, Morecambe and Wise, were to open the new Burton store in Leeds on February 4, followed by a dinner at the Queen's Hotel. The YEP had six tickets to give away to lucky readers.


Four-month-old Jason Marcus Glew, of Primrose Hill, Batley, was the luckiest baby alive after his pram was hit by a run-away car. He had been left outside a shop on Commercial Street, Batley by 20-year-old mother Diane, when the pram was hit by a driverless car. Diane ran out of the shop screaming for her son. The pram was completely crushed by baby Jason came out without a scratch on him. Shop owner Margaret Fox said: "How that child came out of that pram alive I shall never know. The pram was absolutely squashed."

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