THE new year is a time when we can look forward and make plans for the year ahead.

However, it also encourages us to reminisce about the past.

As we welcome 2015, let us take a look at some of last century’s New Years: the various ways in which people celebrated the upcoming year and the events on which they reflected as the last one passed.

The new year following the end of the Second World War was heralded as the ‘year of promise’ by the Echo with aspiration the theme after the hardships of the war years.

“Hope will soar high in the New Year we are about to enter. In Britain 1946 will come in on a great wave of youthful aspiration. Hundreds of thousands of young people newly released from the service of their country are now turning their thoughts to their own concerns and taking a hand in the framing of their own destinies.

“Those who are in the hey-day of life are anxiously preparing to make up the time wastage of the war years and to take advantage of the new opportunities, which the rebirth of British industry should provide.”

In 1952, the country celebrated the coronation of a new Queen – Elizabeth II – and mourned the death of their former King.

Following these events, on December 31 the Echo marked the upcoming new year with words both of reflection and anticipation: “And now we look forward to the solemn and joyous Coronation of another Queen [...] whom so many of us have watched grow up, from the little girl holding her father’s hand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, and the teenage volunteer serving her country in wartime, to the charming Princess, self-dedicated to the service of the Commonwealth, who was so suddenly and tragically called upon to assume the cares and responsibilities in the highest temporal office in the world today.”

Fast-forward to later decades and 1986 saw the Echo reporting on a traditional midnight dip taking place on New Year’s Eve, which went ahead “despite unkind weather conditions”. Eight men and women from the Spartans swimming club took to the chilly seas once again on New Year’s Day at Boscombe Bathing Station.

The start of a new decade in 1990 also marked the beginning of the Echo’s 90th year and with it a brand new look for the newspaper.

Reporter Malcolm Morrison looked back on the milestones of the Echo, as well as looking forward to the paper’s new technological advancements. Among these were the introduction of full colour to the newspaper’s pages to make it “an even brighter community newspaper”, and the use of the latest Apple Macintosh computers in the newsroom.

While many were out partying in Bournemouth Square, or at their homes on New Year’s Eve, one woman was seeing in the new year in a different way in 1992. Karen Culkin from Christchurch gave birth to her daughter, Dana, just 20 seconds after midnight, making her one of nine babies across the country to be born within the first minute of 1992.

A few years later, the paper happily reported that there were “more party poppers than coppers” in Bournemouth on New Year’s Eve, 1995. Unlike the previous two years, police reported a relatively quiet night.

The year after, arctic conditions meant only 5,000 people headed out to Swanage for the town’s New Year’s “fancy dress frolics” – half the number in 1995. The report stated around six needed to be treated for hypothermia. Meanwhile, in Bournemouth Square 3,000 revellers braved the cold for the celebrations.

On the front page of the last paper of the millennium, the Echo reported the story of a Jewish refugee, who fled Nazi Germany just before the Second World War, being awarded an OBE in the New Year’s Honours List for his charity work in Dorset.

Michael Katz donated more than £1.3 million to good causes after arriving in Britain with just 10 shillings in his pocket 60 years beforehand.

Happy New Year!