A UNIQUE new shop opened in Sunningdale 40 years ago, selling a diverse variety of autographed goods, ranging from signed photographs, documents, letters and books.

Britain’s first ever “Autograph Shop” was opened by Ian Sayer from Wentworth, who had spent the previous 20 years amassing a collection of over 20,000 items, which had personally cost him £150,000.

Included in Ian’s autograph stock rooms were letters from Lord Nelson to Lady Hamilton, a signed painting by Adolf Hitler, plus a framed letter from the infamous murderer Dr Crippen, to his wife dated September 1910.

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Bracknell-based computer giant, Honeywell, were helping car makers British Leyland make their cars, especially the new Metro, more fuel efficient in 1980.

Leyland’s plant at Longridge in Birmingham was to become infamous in later years as an inefficient and strike-ridden factory, was in fact at the cutting-edge of technology. and with the installation of a new micro-processor, the Metro was the most fuel-efficient car in Europe.

The Metro, which was launched earlier in the year, retailed at just over £3,000, even attracting future royalty Lady Diana Spencer’s to purchase one, just before her engagement to Prince Charles.

A 300-year-old relic of Old England was being preserved in Binfield as an empty barn at Old Manor Farm was being lovingly restored.

Owner, Bert Melhuish, decided to revive the building using the original 17th century techniques and skills to give it an historic feel.

Mr. Melhuish told the Bracknell News: “I wanted to restore the barn in exactly the same way it was originally constructed and by the time it is completed it will have cost me in the region of £10,000.”

A giant hot air balloon, sponsored by local firm Racal Electronics, was attempting to break a few endurance and distance world records in the night sky over the North Sea in 1980.

‘Mission control’ was at the company’s Western Road HQ in Bracknell, as the crew’s two-way radio equipment kept everyone involved informed of their progress over the chilly waters.

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The ‘Crest Warrior’s’ pilots were both serving officers from the RAF, lifting off from Hull at 8.30pm and landing in northern France some 24 hours later- unfortunately not with any world records.

TV legend Johnny Morris arrived early at Bracknell Sports Centre to open the Getaway 81 travel show, which featured entertainment from around the world.

The evening, run by Hunting Lambert travel agency, brought together performers such as Garth Hill School’s Balalaika Orchestra, folk singers and the Troika Ensemble from the USSR.

Model makers from Wokingham and Bracknell were keen to show off their engineering skills in a special feature by the News.

Bracknell Radio Controlled car club founder, Brian Flounders, had only formed the group three months earlier, but it already had over 40 members signed up.

He admitted: “Membership has grown by word of mouth.”