Here are some fascinating photos from the Oxford Mail archive, showing the year 1969, when Witney had a blanket queen, the RAF had an elephant as a mascot, and Oxford only had a total of 20,000 telephone lines.

Witney had a special reason to celebrate its blanket industry heritage in 1969 - the town marked 300 years of blanket making.

Thousands of people turned out to join in the fun of a carnival for the tercentenary of Charles Early and Marriott.

Crowds, often five and six deep, lined the pavements as a procession made its way through the town.

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Thirty floats and decorated vehicles assembled on the Leys recreation ground before moving off, headed by the band of the 1st Battalion, Royal Green Jackets.

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At the carnival field, Richard Early, the company chairman, invited TV personality Ray Alan (without his usual companion, ventriloquist’s dummy Lord Charles) to open the event.

He was accompanied by the carnival queen, Anna Hicks, and her attendants, Maureen Cross and Marie Hicks.

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The winning float was a tableau entered by the Rotary Club of Witney depicting the manufacturing of blankets in the year 2069. It was awarded £100.

Second prize of £75 went to a 100ft long, 7ft high ‘tercentipede’, described as ‘The Early Worm’. Inside its ‘body’ were members of Witney Round Table.

The celebrations ended with a firework display, culminating with one that read: “300 Years of Progress”.

Thomas Early was the man who started the firm. He began his working life at the age of 14 as an apprentice to a Mr Silman and when Mr Silman died, he left the business to Thomas.

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He and his sons and grandsons put Witney on the map as a major blanket maker, fighting off fierce competition, particularly from Yorkshire manufacturers, and building up a profitable export trade.

Eventually, the firm passed to Charles Early, who built up the firm still further, installing the latest power looms and building new warehouses.

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