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Flashback: Town centre changes, dangerous chemicals and a family reunion

PUBLISHED: 15:00 07 May 2017

40-years-ago. Picture: Romford Library

40-years-ago. Picture: Romford Library

Romford Library

A look back at the biggest local stories from this day 20, 40 and 60 years ago.

1957:

Romford’s battle between churchmen and planners was going to be carried a dramatic stage further when Romford Council was expected to approve by majority vote, the ambitious plan to revolutionise the town centre.

Church leaders feared it would threaten the future prospects of Romford’s famous church school St Edward’s.

Under proposals, St Edward’s Primary School would stay where it was and a new secondary school and playing fields for 1,000 pupils would be created outside the parish. Vicar of Romford, the Rev F R Wright, said: “Our 250-year-old school has always been associated most closely with St Edward’s Church.

“It is of the utmost importance that the school should not be moved farther from the church.”

1977:

An Alderman gave a grim warning that chemicals were stored so hazardously in some schools that there would be a “catastrophe” if laboratories were wrecked by vandals.

Bill Cole claimed that the situation was so bad in some schools that children and staff were in jeopardy.

Fire brigade chiefs revealed they inspected 12 schools in the borough and recommended improved safety measures at 11 of them.

Ald. Cole, a governor of three schools, believed it was the mere tip of a “terrifying problem” throughout the borough.

He also claimed that pleas by science teachers for top safety storage facilities had been ignored by Havering Council.

While investigating the potentially dangerous situation, the alderman said he had found problems at schools including highly inflamable cleaning fluids kept in a boiler-house for lack of storage space elsewhere and dangerous chemicals being kept on open laboratory shelves.

1997:

A widowed Romford Market trader told of the joy of being reunited with the sister he last saw more than 60 years ago in London’s East End.

No words could describe the joy of Ted Moss, 75, from Harold Hill, as he hugged his long-lost sister Rose Morris, in a tearful reunion.

They were happily making up for all the lost years.

Ted, of Edenhall Road, revealed at a neighbourhood housing committee meeting how he was reunited with his sister.

It was when he decided to make a will three years ago that his Harold Wood solicitor Raymond Ashdown and his wife Rosemary, both keen amateur family historians, took up the search. Ted’s mother, Polly Casey, was sent to a mental home for having children out of wedlock. Ted and his sister were looked after by relatives and various institutions until he was adopted by a family.

He said: “I can’t thank Raymond and his wife enough.”

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