LULU, Lindisfarne and limestone were among the items on the local new agenda this week in 1972.


The first two were on the list of performers at a nightly series of concerts at the County Ground.

Folk rockers Lindisfarne were at the height of their early fame thanks to the massive success of their Fog on the Tyne album and its title track.

Lulu was long past her first flush of 1960s pop stardom but was still a prominent chart fixture and a regular guest on TV light entertainment shows. Two years later she would perform Bond movie theme The Man with the Golden Gun.

Other performers at the County Ground shows included a covers band called The Rock and Roll All Stars and veteran Scottish band The Marmalade, who were and still are best remembered for their British chart-topping cover of The Beatles’ Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.

Britain’s most famous dance group of the era also made an appearance. The weekly routines of Pan’s People on Top of the Pops, when they might be called on to interpret anything from glam rock to a novelty track, made them a big favourite among countless teenaged boys. Many a dad was also a fan, to the disgruntlement of many a mum.

Following the Lindisfarne headliner, our reviewer wrote: “If your ears weren’t bent to the sounds at Swindon’s County Ground last night you missed a good thing.

“Nothing to do with football, of course, as the season is over, but a top pop entertainment evening.

“From the moment the lively Rock and Roll All Stars set the pounding pace, the audience came alive with tapping feet and swaying shoulders. And how they loved the music. The group pounded out old Elvis Presley numbers and others.

“No one noticed the cold evening air – until it took the second act The Marmalade over 20 minutes to set their equipment up.

“But again it was worth waiting for and they played superbly, and how the near capacity audience clapped when they finished.”

The most enthusiastic applause and cheering of all was for Lindisfarne, who had a single, Lady Eleanor, at number 10 in the charts.

Pan’s People and Lulu had appeared a couple of evenings earlier, and the Scottish singer certainly made an impression on our reviewer.

He - we assume it was a he - wrote: “She did her numbers in a white trouser suit. The trousers were like the ones you see in pictures of Napoleon. But they didn’t look a bit like they do on Napoleon.

“And Napoleon didn’t have red stars on them, either. The stars were stitched on in some interesting places. They were all five-pointed stars.

“I know that because I counted them.”

So much for Lindisfarne and Lulu, but what of limestone?

For that story we headed for what was then still Wootton Bassett, where local people rose up in near-civil disobedience. There was even a little sabotage.

We said: “A full-scale storm has blown up in Wootton Bassett over a quarry firm’s plan to develop a dumping site in the town.

“This afternoon the first train load of limestone – 800 tons of it – was being unloaded at a siding dump at the old railway station.

“Workmen were making a road for the lorries and building a weighbridge near the entrance of the site.

“An emergency public meeting at Noremarsh Junior School has been called tonight to set up vigilante patrols.”

The dumping came as a nasty surprise to residents and the parish council, and somebody toured the town in a car equipped with a loudspeaker to alert them to the meeting.

Residents feared possible health implications of breathing limestone dust and the nearby Unigate dairy feared contamination.

A British Rail official arrived and proclaimed that the organisation didn’t need planning permission to let the quarrying firm use its site.

This didn’t go down well with the assembled locals. We said there were cries of: “We want his blood.”

What followed was several weeks of confrontations, including human chains blockading the site, support for locals by MP Daniel Awdry and at least one instance of vandalism when a digger had its valve smashed in the dead of night.

Peace was eventually restored amid a series of concessions over the use of the site.

Back in Swindon, there was praise for the Covingham Estate. Although completed some years earlier, it was hailed as a likely influence on future estates by the Housing Research Foundation.

The organisation’s report singled the Swindon development out for its footpaths which didn’t cross roads, a school away from traffic and cul-de-sacs where children could play safely.

We also found space for a cute animal story with an interesting twist for modern fans of 1970s popular culture.

A rabbit was missing from a family home in Watchfield. It’s name? Jason King, the suave gentleman investigator played by major sex symbol of the era Peter Wyngarde.