100 years ago

Two and a half million letters and a quarter of a million parcels had been dispatched by the General Post Office, London to the men of the British Expeditionary Force in time for the Christmas festivities at the front.

There had been no Christmas Eve posting of parcels, and the General Post Office had overcome splendidly all the abnormal difficulties of transport.

The work was complicated by the fact that over 6300 of the regular staff of sorters and postmen in the London districts had joined the colours.

Something like 10,000 temporary men had been taken on. Since the earlier days of the war the soldiers' mail had grown in bulk with each succeeding week.

During the first week in December the number of letters sent from home was 1,700,000, in the following week over 2,000,000, and in the last week 2,500,000 letters had been dispatched.

The parcels had grown in the same proportion, and nearly a quarter of a million were sent in the last week.

50 years ago

One million leaflets setting out the details of the new deal for hire purchasers in the Hire Purchase Act, 1964, which would come into force shortly, were being distributed throughout England, Scotland and Wales. The Act did not apply to Northern Ireland.

The Board of Trade would continue to reprint the leaflet, called “Hire Purchase, what you need to know,” to keep up the supply, which would be distributed through main Post Offices, Citizens' Advice Bureaux, gas and electric showrooms, public libraries, local authorities, women's organisations and youth clubs.

Under the Act, amongst other details, there would be a cooling-off period when customers could withdraw from agreements signed “on the doorstep.”

Once a third of a hire purchase price was paid, the finance company would not be able to repossess except by court order.

25 years ago

North Yorkshire was gearing up to kiss the 1980s goodbye and welcome the new decade in party-style. With no pubs serving alcohol to the public after 12.30am, those hoping to celebrate well into the early hours would have to go to or hold private parties.

Disco dancers would be able to bop out the old decade as nightclubs, usually closed on Sundays, were to be open until 2am. New Year's Eve counted as a special occasion under the terms of their licences. Taxi and private-hire firms expected to be busy coping with partygoers wanting to avoid drink-driving.

At least one firm was advising potential customers to book their ride home beforehand. All 16 pipers of the City of York Pipe Band would be playing at private parties as exiled Scots celebrated Auld Lang Syne.