When the lights went out across the UK in ‘72

The Chronicle - - Nostalgia -

LESS than three decades af­ter Bri­tain had been vic­to­ri­ous in World War II, the lights went out across the na­tion.

It was 1972 and an era which saw Ted Heath’s Tory gov­ern­ment and the trade unions re­peat­edly go­ing head to head.

When coal sup­plies at power sta­tions would run low due to strikes, there would be power cuts and black­outs.

Fac­to­ries, shops and busi­nesses would tem­po­rar­ily close as power sup­plies were con­served.

Our pic­ture, from this month 45 years ago, shows a power cut at R Thomp­son Dix butcher’s shop, at the for­mer Grange­way Shop­ping Cen­tre, in Pre­ston Grange, North Ty­ne­side. The store served top qual­ity steak and sausages from 1970 un­til the early 1990s.

As for the power cuts, on the home front, TV cov­er­age fin­ished at about 10.30pm ev­ery night and, of course, the screens went blank as the power cuts hit.

Sales of can­dles, mean­while, soared.

The cuts, which lasted sev­eral hours at a time, would come around on a rota ba­sis printed in news­pa­pers, so peo­ple knew when to get the can­dles ready.

Out came the play­ing cards as fam­i­lies en­ter­tained them­selves hud­dled around the flick­er­ing light, but many peo­ple would just go to bed early - and get up next day to find the power was back on.

In the event, the black­outs would hit home across 1972 and 1973.

Most peo­ple aged 50 or over will re­mem­ber them.

A power cut at R Thomp­son Dix butcher’s shop, North Ty­ne­side, De­cem­ber 1972 A news­reader us­ing can­dles dur­ing 1972 power cuts

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