Search

Flashback: A near miracle, fire at Romford shops and a mum fighting for better living conditions

PUBLISHED: 10:00 03 December 2017

60 years ago.

60 years ago.

Romford Library

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

20 years ago. 20 years ago.

1957:

With police patrol cars immobilised by the worst pea-souper for many years, Romford police performed a near miracle when they succeeded in restoring more than 50 panic-stricken, lost children to their anguished parents.

Amid traffic chaos – described by one driver as “near bedlam at Gallows Corner before darkness fell – buses crawled to a standstill and long queues of distressed shoppers and homeward bound schoolchildren formed outside Romford railway station.

By 4pm, Romford and Hornchurch represented fog-beleagured “ghost” towns and the first improvised flares to guide stranded lorries to emergency parking places appeared in South Street.

Thousands of school children - including 4,000 pupils in Romford secondary schools - were sent home at 2.30pm.

Clockhouse County Junior School staff escorted children whose parents had been unable to come for them.

As darkness added to the chaos, stranded pedestrians – many of them had waited vainly in bus queues up to 200 yards long – linked hands in human chains to cross blotted-out traffic intersections.

1977:

Shocked traders at Romford’s Quadrant Arcade were counting the cost of a fire which raged through and devastated some of their shops.

Early estimates showed that it was going to cost hundreds of thousands of pounds to repair the damage.

Men from the three armed forces worked through the night clearing the rubble after two shops were destroyed and several others were extensively damaged by the mystery blaze in the arcade, next to the Market Place.

But despite the wreckage, most of the traders in the arcade were determined it was going to be business as usual before the Christmas rush was over and was already trading.

Striking firemen were shocked at the extent of the damage and one picketer said: “This would not have happened under normal circumstances.

“If we had been at work we would have controlled the fire and kept smoke and water damage to a minimum.”

1997:

A young mum braved sub-zero temperatures to camp outside Havering Town Hall in protest of living conditions at her flat.

As 18-month-old Kayleigh Stanley was cared for by a friend, her mum Rachel, 17, pitched a tent outside the council offices in Main Road, Romford, with her dad and friend along for support.

Despite the plummeting temperature, Miss Stanley told the Recorder how she would rather freeze than go back to her two-bedroom council flat in Hilldene Avenue, Harold Hill, and face a bathroom full of sewage.

In tears, Miss Stanley claimed that since August, her toilet has overflowed with sewage from all of the other flats connected to hers, flooding her bathroom with filth.

She said: “I just can’t go on like this anymore, I’ve got my daughter to think about.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Romford Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Romford Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Romford Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Romford News Stories

Yesterday, 17:00

A number one bestselling author from Romford has released her thirteenth crime novel, which promises her readers a gripping ride throughout and a big twist at the end.

Yesterday, 15:00

Hornchurch residents expressed their frustration as a large pothole outside their home grew in size, and became more hazardous.

Yesterday, 13:00

An original musical telling the story of how an American hero saved hundreds of school children during the Second World War will once again be performed in Romford.

Yesterday, 12:20

Hundreds of Santas are set to hit the streets for charity - just a week before Easter.

Yesterday, 11:00

The Dagenham and Rainham MP has praised the Mayor of London for confirming an investment of £49m will go into policing in the capital.

Yesterday, 09:21

The Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA) is recruiting volunteers across Romford for its befriending service, which pairs volunteers with members of the RAF community who are feeling lonely.

Yesterday, 07:00

Hornchurch and Upminster MP Julia Lopez discussed life in Parliament, Brexit and trade in an exclusive interview with the Recorder.

Mon, 17:00

An invitation is being extended to residents across the borough to mark Holocaust Memorial Day at a special service.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Window and conservatory specialist Ken Rhodes talks about the possibilities for brightening up your home for the new year, and with their home improvement finance deals it’s possible for everyone to make some changes

Lisa and Jennie are cousins who grew up in the borough. Their grandmother, ‘Nanny Fish’ was a huge part of their lives, and while she had dementia and increasing needs, she really benefited from having care in her nephew’s loving home. This experience was the inspiration for Lisa and Jennie to set-up their own home care service.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists

News from your area

Competitions

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now