Our Century

Slade crack Christmas!

Part of Christmas, Slade from left: Dave Hill, Don Powell, Noddy Holder & Jimmy Lea.

They were the top supergroup of the early 70s and now all that was left was to conquer the Christmas chart and have the coveted number one spot over the festive season.

This Slade, whose members came from Walsall, Wolverhampton and Codsall, duly achieved in 1973 with what was thought to be their first title not to contain a spelling mistake - "Merry Christmas Everybody".

It reached the top spot within two weeks of release and at the time it was the fastest Christsmas seller since "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer".

It is trotted out nearly every December and more than a quarter of a century later is still a nice little earner for Noddy Holder and co.

To many generations its first play on the radio heralds the proper start of Christmas.

They courted controversy in their ascent to stardom from their early years as first the 'N Betweens and later Ambrose Slade.

But like the Beatles before them their essential good nature shone through and it would have been a hard-faced critic who took any serious offence.

The foyer of the Odeon Cinema in Dudley, taken in February 1973, but showing the perfectly preserved 1930's decor.

Walker optimistic despite woes: "You've Never Had It So Bad." That was the phrase doing the rounds as 1973 was coming to an end with the start of Britain's three-day week.

It was to last into the early months of the new year and help to bring down Edward Heath's Tory government and return the Gannex mac man Harold Wilson to No 10.

Nearly half of West Midlands industry came to a standstill with hundreds of thousands of workers being made idle as the restrictions came into force.

Workers laid off included more than 55,000 at the trouble-torn British Leyland plant at Longbridge, Birmingham.

Trade and Industry minister Peter Walker told a meeting in Wolverhampton that a "wartime single-mindedness" would be needed in the early days of the new year.

He said that as soon as the miners called off their overtime ban and the train drivers delivered coal production to the power stations Britain could "almost immediately" get back to normal working.

"We start 1974 with by far the biggest order book in the country's history," he told a largely unconvinced audience.

Later the minister watched Linda Jukes, of Bushbury Road, Wolverhampton, demonstrate the country's first fax machine.

Police 'near to committing an offence' to trap prostitutes: An attack on the "unreasonable manner" in which prostitutes were convicted was made by solicitor John Lishman at the Wolverhampton Stipendiary Magistrates' court.

He told the court that police officers volunteered for the special patrols to earn extra overtime.

Mr Lishman was representing a 35-year-old woman who admitted soliciting for prostitution in the town.

The officers' method of making the arrest was not one which should receive the approval of the court, he said.

"The fisrt officer drove up in an unmarked vehicle and passed himself off as a customer with a second policeman crouching at the back of the car to listen to what was being said," said Mr Lishman.

He warned that the police were "coming pretty near to committing an offence in order to make a conviction".

The hapless lady of the night told the officer: "Business love - 3 in the flat. You will have to make it quick because there's police everywhere."

Slip-ups on the way to the altar: Neither the bride nor the groom managed to get to the church on time when Patricia Anne Mary Wolseley, daughter of Lady Wolseley of Rugeley, married her sweetheart.

While the bride observed her womanly prerogative of being late her husband-to-be Stuart Moor was injured in an early morning road accident on his way to the wedding.

Doctors at first advised him the ceremony should not take place but later relented and gave it the go-ahead.

The honeymoon in France, however, had to be rescheduled while he recovered from his injuries.

Greed reason behind strikes:


I am sure I speak for thousands of people when in saying it's about time something was done to curb strikes.

People sitting on their backsides all day getting 150 a week and causing strikes should be put behind bars.

I am sure it is greed. Give way to them now and they will soon be after even more.

I am sure the biggest part of them are caused by people intending to crippled the country.

They do not go short of wages when they get the workers out on strike and it's ther workers who suffer. Little do they realise they are the cause of the cost of living rising.

I wonder if these union leaders can sleep at night or haven't they got a conscience.

J Lyons, Foster Street, Walsall.

Alister Hagger
Generation X is the most highly educated yet