A decade of trouble and laughter, all change for pupils at the town’s schools
- and plans for a new museum.
Change at the Works
Business at the Works remained healthy in the 1970s. It was producing dry cleaning machines as well as continuing the production for The S&S Machine Company and the Elliott’s shaper output However, its parent company, Beyer-Peacock, struggled.
After it was taken over in 1976, the Works experienced changes in ownership. At first, things looked promising and, in 1977, the second phase of plans for Colonial House on the Top Works was completed. In 1978, Garretts proudly celebrated its 200th anniversary. But, in 1980, the parent company collapsed. This forced an abrupt end to Richard Garrett Engineering Works.
Opening, ending and moving
The beginning of comprehensive education in Suffolk meant a major reorganisation of schools in Leiston. A new block was added to the school site in Seaward Avenue and Leiston High School for pupils aged 13-18 opened in September 1973, ending both the Modern and Grammar Schools. A new 9-13 Middle School moved into the 1909 buildings the Grammar School had occupied.
The old Grammar School buildings
Silver Jubilee Mug
Gloom, humour and celebration
Leiston felt the impact of national difficulties in the 70s – the three-day week, power cuts and strikes affecting postal deliveries and refuse collection. It was a good decade for TV humour, though, and The Good Life and Fawlty Towers, amongst others, lifted the gloom. Sport flourished with the opening of a new speedway cycle track at the Victory Road ground in 1974. The Queen’s Silver Jubilee was celebrated in June 1977 here and across the country with parties and a carnival atmosphere.