Evans Weir 50th Birthday

November 1967

We’re nearing the end of our 50th anniversary year and so this is our penultimate jaunt through the items that were making the news when Evans Weir was established – this month we are looking at November 1967

With the battle for independence in the news once again, both at home and abroad, it’s interesting to note that 50 years ago this month the Scottish National Party won only its second ever seat in the House of Commons. It’s done a little better ever since, returning at least one seat in every subsequent General election.

Just a few miles down the road from us, Fernhurst made the news on Saturday November 4th November 1967 as Iberia Airlines flight 062 crashed into the forest on Blackdown hill as it began its descent into London Heathrow. The flight had left Malaga airport in Spain and had encountered a trouble-free flight until it was given permission to drop to 6,000 feet on approach and continued to descend for no apparent reason before crashing, killing all 37 people on board. Many residents of Fernhurst remember the accident and have secured a permanent memorial near the site. Sadly, this accident was one of many in November 1967.

Business conditions were tough The British trade deficit for October 1967 reached a record high of £107 million, prompting a devaluation of the British pound against the US Dollar to six sevenths of its trading value as part of conditions laid down by the International Monetary Fund for a £1 billion loan to the United Kingdom. Even with this devaluation the rate was still $2.40 to the pound, down from $2.80. Hard to think that today, £1 would buy you half of that figure! This move by the then Chancellor James Callaghan sparked an economic crisis with numerous other countries having to devalue their currencies in the days that followed. The aftermath witnessed a gold rush on world markets as investors sought safety for their money. London, Johannesburg and Paris all reported pandemonium with panic buying orders arriving from all over the world. A single day in Paris recorded sales of five times an average (pre-devaluation) day.

And finally, …

No look back over the news would be complete without a Brexit related story and we have a cracker in November 1967. Monday November 27th, French President, Charles De Gaulle, announces that he will veto the United Kingdom’s application to join the (at that time) six-member European Economic Community, later to be called the Common Market! De Gaulle cited the UK’s economic instability in his speech saying British entry to the EEC “would obviously mean the breaking up of a Community which has been built and which functions according to rules which would not bear such a monumental exception”. Those same rules now appear to be coming back to bite us as we seek our exit from the club.