THIS month in 1975 Margaret Thatcher celebrated becoming leader of the Conservative Party.

Two major political figures appeared in local news, but came from the other end of the ideological spectrum.

One was perhaps the only female politician of the time more famous than the future first female Prime Minister.

Swindon Labour Party was delighted to announce that the guest of honour at the party’s Wiltshire County Rally that summer would be Barbara Castle.

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Mrs Castle – later Baroness Castle of Blackburn – was Prime Minister Harold Wilson’s Secretary of State for Health and Social Services.

Swindon Advertiser: Barbara Castle, whose forthcoming visit to Swindon was announcedBarbara Castle, whose forthcoming visit to Swindon was announced

Her best-known legacy stems from her time as Transport Minister in the second half of the 1960s, when she championed breath testing to tackle the carnage caused by drink-driving.

She died in 2002, aged 91.

Mrs Castle’s visit was still in the future, but another instantly recognisable face of the era visited during the second week of February, 1975.

Clive Jenkins was the secretary general of the white collar union the Association of Scientific, Technical and Managerial Staffs, and in the fraught 1970s industrial climate he frequently appeared in the news.

Swindon Advertiser: Clive Jenkins, who visited Burmah's world headquartersClive Jenkins, who visited Burmah's world headquarters

He visited Burmah’s world headquarters in Swindon’s Marlborough Road, where apartment buildings now stand, to advocate worker participation in management decisions.

“Staff will be able to take a sensible interest not only in their own affairs,” he said, “but in the company’s research policy, expenditure and marketing issues.”

The union leader also called for there to be more opportunities for women in managerial roles. “I think we must positively discriminate in favour of women,” he said.

“And men have to realise it will not be to their disadvantage.”

Clive Jenkins died in 1999, aged 73.

Aside from towering figures of the national stage, we also wrote about a rather more literally towering local figure.

At 6ft 6ins, Jock Clark was often referred to as the king of Swindon’s pub and club bouncers, although he preferred to be known as a steward or doorman. The agency he owned supplied door staff to locations as diverse as the Brunel Rooms, various hotels with discos and the Wyvern Theatre.

Swindon Advertiser: Jock Clark, Swindon's 'King of the Bouncers'Jock Clark, Swindon's 'King of the Bouncers'

Originally from Glasgow, 35-year-old Jock had lived in Swindon for 20 years and was a Plessey sheet metal worker by day.

And his evening job? Jock explained: “It’s not so much brawn and muscle but personality. You’ve got to use a lot of diplomacy.

“Nine times out of ten you talk your way out of trouble.

“We’ve always been known as bouncers and I get very angry about it. Three quarters of the public see it as a term of abuse.

“Then there’s one or two who hear someone is a bouncer and try to take him on to show how tough they are.

“They’re a very good crowd of people in Swindon, and 98 percent of them just want to go out and enjoy themselves.

“It’s the two percent who spoil it for everyone else.”

Mr Clark wasn’t the first person to suggest society consisted mostly of good people with a smattering of rotten ones, and definitely wasn’t the last.

An illustration of this truth came courtesy of one man and his dog.

“Someone is trying to part a partially blind Swindon man from his crippled alsatian,” we said.

“At least that’s what his owner, Mr Granville Gray suspects.”

Mr Gray lived in Gorse Hill, sharing his home with alsatian dogs Rex and Sindy.

Swindon Advertiser: Granville Gray and his dog, RexGranville Gray and his dog, Rex

“Allegations have been made, he says, that because of his lack of sight he cannot look after his dogs properly.

“And Mr Gray claims someone has launched a petition to force him to get rid of the dogs.

“Concern is over Rex, his three-year-old alsatian who had his hind leg amputated because of gangrene three weeks ago, and consequently sometimes falls over.”

Mr Gray pointed out, not unreasonably, that Rex was bound to be a little unsteady in the aftermath of the operation, but was improving steadily.

If the pictures were anything to go by, Rex was a very happy and handsome dog indeed, in spite of being 25 percent lacking in the limb department, and his owner clearly loved him very much.

What most upset Mr Gray was that none of the gossips were prepared to confront him in person.

He added: “If only people would speak to me about it, I would show them what a happy dog he is.”

Later in the week, we followed up the story with the news that friends, colleagues and neighbours had deluged Mr Clark with messages of support and good will.

Another of our stories that week was about a Swindon man separated from his family for months following an international diplomatic crisis.

Kiashif Houssein, 37, had been in Cyprus with wife Yvonne, 30, and children Houssein, 13, Devrim, 11, and six-year-old Ferdiye when Turkey invaded.

Swindon Advertiser: Kiashif and Yvonne Houssein and children, from left, Ferdiye, Houssein and DevrimKiashif and Yvonne Houssein and children, from left, Ferdiye, Houssein and Devrim

Mr Houssein, a Turkish Cypriot by birth, had worked on the island as a police officer near a British base. Following the invasion his loved ones were able to leave, but Mr Houssein was obliged to stay and help to process refugees.

The Greek authorities, perhaps because of his heritage, insisted that when he left he went to Turkey instead of Britain, in spite of his holding a British passport.

It took a long process of international wrangling, including intervention by Swindon MP David Stoddart, before he was finally able to reach home.