THIS week 82 years ago, a state-of-the-art telephone exchange was installed in the town centre.

It was so advanced that people could call a friend, loved one or anybody else living as far as five miles away without having to be connected by an operator.

Also in the town centre the new Civic Offices complex was nearing completion.

Not far from the site, a famous stage escapologist in the Harry Houdini mould drummed up interest in an Empire Theatre run by escaping from a straitjacket in which he was suspended, upside-down, outside the venue.