Lancashire nostalgia in 1986: Bus station bomb hoax, real life Fawlty Towers and the naked truth

Here's a look at some of the stories that were making the headlines back in 1986:

Thursday, 6th February 2020, 11:01 am
Updated Thursday, 6th February 2020, 11:01 am
Preston bus station was evacuated after a suspicious package was found by staff
Preston bus station was evacuated after a suspicious package was found by staff

Preston bus station bomb hoax probe

Preston Council leader Harold Parker called for a report on security at the town’s bus station following a bomb scare which led to its evacuation.

The incident, in which an Army bomb disposal unit carried out a controlled explosion, turned out to be an elaborate hoax involving an Army ammunition box.

Quick-thinking staff alerted the police after finding the suspicious looking device in a toilet and passengers were ordered to leave the station. A nearby office block was also emptied.

After the hour-long incident Coun Parker said he intended to look into ways of tightening security at the bus station.

He said: “We are anxious to prevent a similar occurrence. I am waiting for a report from officers on what happened and we will be seeing if there are any steps we can take.

“The problem is, it is such a huge place - probably the biggest bus station in Europe - and with a very open situation.”

Coun Parker praised the vigilance of staff and thanks the bomb disposal team.

An Army spokesman hit out at the hoaxers: “It was criminally irresponsible,” he said.”

READ MORE: Look back at a selection of pictures from 1986 here

Service comes with a sneer at all new Fawlty Towers hotel

Guests are guaranteed a thoroughly rotten time at the Royal Hotel, Bowness-on-Windermere. And if they think television’s Fawlty Tower’s could not be much worse, manageress Barbara Phillips will be delighted.

“Just for once that’s the whole idea,” she said. “The more complaints we get and the more customers we insult the better we will like it.”

It may sound like commercial suicide for one of Lakeland’s most prestigious hotels, with a three-star RAC rating and membership of the English Lakes Hotels and Best Western groups.

But Barbara is quick to assure customers that four years as manager at the Royal have not suddenly robbed her of reason.

“It’s all a bit of fun really, and it has got to the point where we have had to turn bookings away,” she said.

“Somebody suggested that once in a while staff ought to have the opportunity of dropping their smiles and being really rude to clients who were rude to them.

“It’s just the sort of thing you see in Fawlty Towers, with inept staff and Basil Fawlty making sarcastic remarks about everybody, and that’s how this weekend came about.”

Naked truth is exposed

Skinny-dipping in the sea is really cool... unless you are a man!

A silly by-law has been exposed which allows women to bathe in the nude off Southport beach, but orders the fellas to cover-up.

The Home Office law which bans men from stripping off unless 200 yards from the shore has come under fire from Sefton tourism chiefs.

They say the law is old-fashioned for the longest stretch of beach in the country running from Southport to Crosby.