A regular feature for almost the last 9 months on the weekday mid-morning show at 11:15 has been our ‘Local trivia just for fun’. It's not a competition, just something to think about for 30 minutes, before the answers are revealed at 11:45. The trivia has reinforced our localness, community spirit and also sometimes been nostalgic, highlighting what once was and how some things have changed over the years. I know our listeners have enjoyed it, some of the trivia questions have been sent in by our listeners, some supplied by 'Trivia Dave', a few by other Stafford FM presenters and others I’ve written myself.
I've been asked to publish some of the questions (and now I've added the answers), so here goes.
1. Which Stafford town centre shopping centre, developed in the 1970s, was partly demolished and given a £5 million redevelopment and re-opened in 2003 as Gaolgate Place?
The Sheridan Centre
2. Which of these Stafford housing estates WERE NOT built in the 1970's? Highfields, Parkside or Wildwood?
Highfields. The first houses were built about 1955 and many others (Highfields No. 2 estate) in 1963–1964. Many streets added in the 1960s are named after poets and playwrights (Shakespeare Road, Masefield Drive, Coleridge Drive, Keats Avenue, Tennyson Road, Binyon Court, etc.) Much of the original estate was built on Preston's Farm land.
3. Which district in Stafford has streets with the names of trees, such as Birch Close, Elm Avenue and Cedar Way?
Walton on the Hill
4. Which district of Stafford has streets named after West Country areas?
Baswich, (eg Porlock Avenue, Bodmin Avenue and Falmouth Avenue)
5. Which area of Stafford has the names of streets to do with the police?
On the site of the former Staffs Police HQ at Weeping Cross, now known as Baswich Grange (Sergeant Way & Constable Close).
6. Where in Stafford is Sandlewood Drive and Wellington Close and what is special about them?
Sandlewood Drive and Wellington Drive are off Sandon Road and on the site of the former Lotus shoe factory - they both connect to Lotus Way.
7. Bob Marley & The Wailers kicked off the European leg of the Kaya tour at the Bingley Hall in Stafford in June 1978, it was their only UK date. Tickets for the show were £4 and you could buy them from Lotus Records. Where was the Lotus record shop in Stafford town centre?
8. Bob Marley & The Wailers were due to play at The Top of the World nightclub on Newport Rd Stafford in December 1973. But why was the gig cancelled at short notice?
The very cold weather - some of the band were unwell and struggling coping with the extreme cold/snow and ice and went back to Jamaica to warm up.
9. Fleetwood Mac performed at Bingley Hall Stafford in June 1980. It was the first time the band had played in Stafford for 11 years. Which Stafford venue did Fleetwood Mac play in May 1969?
The Staffordshire Yeomen on West Way (now demolished)
10. Which member of the band Travis was born in Stafford?
Fran Healy - born in Stafford before moving to Glasgow, his mother's hometown.
11. The Staffordshire General Infirmary (S.G.I.) on Foregate Street first opened in 1765 and was Stafford's main general hospital for many years. What year did it finally close?
12. The County Hospital on Weston Rd Stafford is built on the former site of which former hospital?
Coton Hill Private Asylum (closed in 1976)
13. What year did Stafford District General Hospital on Weston Rd first open (now known as Stafford County Hospital)?
14. Rowley Hall Hospital is one of Staffordshire's leading private hospitals located in a Georgian Grade 2 listed building, in five acres of Rowley Park. It opened in 1987. But before Rowley Hall was a hospital what was it used for?
Rowley Hall Girls School
15. The Climax Blues Bands most famous album was called Gold Plated, but what was guitarist Pete Haycock's solo album called and became the name of a very influential music shop in Stafford?
Guitar & Son
16. On the 16th April 2009, the Stafford Gatehouse Theatre held its last ever standing concert. Supporting artists were Roy Wood (ex The Move, ELO, Wizzard), Jeff Rich & Rhino Edwards from Status Quo, Stafford's own Chris Gumbley and Steve Gibbons, but who headlined the show and why?
The Climax Blues Band with guest vocalist Johnny Pugh. It was the Colin Cooper memorial concert raising money split between Prostate Cancer Awareness and Macmillan Care.
17. John Fiddler & Peter Hope Evans met at Stafford Art College in the late 1960's, but what was the name of their band that released a single called 'One and One is One', which reached number 3 on the UK Singles Chart in 1973?
18. What year did Stafford Gatehouse Theatre first open?
1982 - previously known as The Borough Hall
19. How many seats are there in the main auditorium at Stafford Gatehouse Theatre?
20. What year did Stafford Rangers lift not only the FA Trophy but the Northern Premier League championship as well?
21. And who was Stafford Rangers manager at this time?
22. The former TV star Dame Hilda Bracket comes from Stafford, what is her/his real name?
23. Can you name 2 terraces in Stafford that sound as if they have royal connections ?
Albert Terrace and Victoria Terrace
24. There used to be 2 pubs in Doxey, both on Doxey Rd. Can you name them?
The 3 Tuns and The Doxey Arms
25. What was the name of the pub that closed its doors for the last time in 2015 that used to be on Churchill Way?
The Nesbitt Arms was situated on Churchill Way. This pub opened in 1956 and was closed in 2015.
26. What was the name of the tavern on the Stone road that had a large function room at the back, which closed in 2007? There's now a care home on the site bearing the same name.
27. If you fancied a ride in a hot air balloon, where is the nearest place to Stafford to go?
Virgin Balloon Flights, Amerton Railway, Amerton, Stowe-by-Chartley, Stafford
Aston Marina, near Stone. (since 2018)
The Trentham Estate.
28. What is the nearest commercial international airport to Stafford?
Birmingham 39 miles
East Midlands Airport 43 miles
Manchester 51 miles
29. Does Penkridge have an airfield?
Yes - Otherton Airfield, Micklewood Lane, Penkridge.
Otherton Airfield is one of the most active airfields in Staffordshire with over fifty aircraft based on the field. Flyouts are arranged to many parts of the UK and overseas by field users. They fly both Microlights and GA aircraft subject to any restrictions in runway length.
30. What year did RAF Seighford abandon the airfield at Seighford?
Military flying ceased at Seighford in 1946, with the site abandoned by the Air Ministry in 1947. Most of the site is currently leased by the Staffordshire Gliding Club who moved to Seighford in 1992.
31. What is the distance (in miles or km) between Stafford and London Euston by train?
122 miles (196 km)
32. How many trains per weekday travel between Stafford and London Euston?
63. There are normally 123 trains per day travelling from Stafford to London (more info here, Trainline)
33. What's the fastest journey time, between Stafford and London Euston by train?
The fastest journey time by train from Stafford to London Euston is currently 1 hour and 17 minutes
34. Stafford used to have 2 railway stations, the current station on Station road and Stafford Common railway station. What year did Stafford Common railway station close to passengers?
35. How many platforms did Stafford Common railway station have?
36. You used to be able to catch a train to Uttoxeter from Stafford Common station. How many railway stations were there on the way to Uttoxeter and can you name them?
4 stations - Salt, Ingrestre & Weston, Chartley, and Grindley
37. What year did the current Stafford railway station open?
1962 - The first Stafford station opened 1837 and was rebuilt in 1844 and 1862, the current station opened in 1962
38. Who was the member of Parliament for Stafford and Stone all through the 1960's?
Sir Hugh Fraser was elected Member of Parliament for Stone in 1945, later Stafford and Stone following constituency boundary changes, from 1950 until 1983 and then Stafford again until his death in 1984.
39. What year was the Stafford by-pass completed? This later became the M6 between junctions 13 to 14.
40. What club at 139 Newport Road was opened in 1965?
The Top of the World
41. Can you name the band who played there in 1969 which featured Bev Bevan and Roy Wood in their line up?
42. In the 1970's, Black Sabbath lead vocalist Ozzy Osbourne used to live in a village just outside Stafford. Can you name the village?
Bullrush Cottage in Ranton, located down the amusingly named Butt lane.
43. What was the name of the pub close by where Ozzy used to drink?
The 'Hand and Cleaver'
44. What year did Black Sabbath perform a very loud concert to a full house at Bingley Hall Stafford in the 1970's?
Sunday 6 March 1977.
45. The Rolling Stones played at Bingley Hall, Stafford on 17th May 1976. But where did the Stones stay while in Stafford?
46. When The Boomtown Rats played at the Top of the World Newport Road in the 1970's, there was a rumour going around that they let live rats loose into the audience as part of the show. Fortunately they didn't, but what year did Bob Geldof and the boys play there?
Thursday 10 March 1977
47. The Damned were due to play at the Top of the World on 16 May 1977. However, because of the controversy surrounding punk rock and insurance problems, the gig was cancelled and hurriedly relocated to another Stafford venue. Where was it?
North Staffs Polytechnic, Beaconside.
48. Diamonds Are Forever, is a 1971 James Bond film starring Sean Connery, but which Stafford Cinema was it shown at?
Odeon, Newport Rd
49. Jenkinsons was a very popular restaurant in Greengate Street Stafford, in the 1970's - which shop is now there?
50. For much of the 20th century the local council was based at the Borough Hall in Eastgate Street. Following local government reorganisation in 1974, a modern Civic Centre was built for the enlarged Stafford Borough Council, where was it?
Riverside and completed in 1978.
And a BONUS QUESTION if you ever used to go there.... What year did the original Riverside Recreation Centre on South Walls open?
Sticker courtesy of Gareth Evans, former employee of GEC ALSTHOM. These stickers were placed on their products before being shipped worldwide.