Flashback: Plans for new schools, manager brutally attacked and robbed and life of little girl put at risk

PUBLISHED: 12:00 18 December 2016



Romford Library

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


New Year educational prospects were bright.

In 1957, new schools costing between £2-3million were to be opened, or beginning construction work, in Romford, Hornchurch and Upminster.

Alongside this ambitious construction drive, said to have had few equals throughout the country, the search had already begun for the 200 to 300 additional teachers required to staff new schools, reduce wastage and bring down the size of classes.

In Romford, the first of the new schools to be opened in 1957 would be Brookside Infants’ School, which was hoped would launch in the middle of February.

It was announced the headmistress was going to be a Mrs Kerrigan.


A manager collecting his firm’s wages was brutally attacked and robbed by a vicious thug in Romford.

Robert Bridgen, 28, had to have 10 stitches in his face during treatment at Oldchurch Hospital, Romford, after the assault.

His attacker escaped into crowds of lunchtime shoppers with a briefcase containing £3,530.

The robbery happened at 12.10pm as Mr Bridgen, who worked for a local cleaning contractors, left a bank in Victoria Road, Romford.

As he climbed into his car, a man jumped in beside him and ordered him to drive off.

When they reached nearby Carlisle Road, the thief ordered him to stop the vehicle. He grabbed the briefcase and, as he jumped out, he smashed Mr Bridgen across the face with a heavy object concealed in a bag.

Following the drama, police searched the area looking for the thug.

A spokesman said: “We believe this thief is vicious. We want anyone who saw any part of the incident to come forward.”


Shortage of council cash was putting the life of a nine-year-old girl at risk.

Leanne Poulter, of Trustons Gardens, Hornchurch, had suffered from a rare immune deficiency condition since she was 18 months old.

In 1994, Leanne and her mother Lorraine had moved out of Rainham, but the home they went on to only had ground floor heating, which led to concerns and Leanne’s condition worsened.

Miss Poulter said: “The cold is a potential killer for Leanne. If she catches a cold or an infection it could be deadly.

“If we stay in this cold atmosphere, my daughter will spend her life continually being admitted to hospital.”

Environmental officers found the upstairs of the house to be riddled with damp and agreed heating had to be installed.

But the housing department told them that due to a shortage of money, nothing could be done until the next budget was set.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

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

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


A Romford resident was delighted to have two life-sized Laurel and Hardy statues returned to her after they were stolen three years ago.


“As for me, I remain an unapologetic conservative, a passionate supporter of Brexit and a big fan of our party grassroots!”


The story of a heroic American pilot who saved hundreds of school children during the Second World War is coming to Brookside Theatre.


Residents were invited to admire some fresh produce at a special open day organised by an Upminster allotment society.


A special carnival that was set up to put Collier Row on the map returns this summer.

Yesterday, 12:00

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.

Yesterday, 10:00

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

As an MP representing a “Greater London” constituency for 17 years, last week I decided to throw my hat in the ring to become the next Conservative Mayor of London.


“The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining,” so the saying goes. So if some warm weather is making your conservatory uninhabitable, think about replacing its roof with a flat one and adding a roof lantern instead.

The next step in renewable energy could be right beneath your feet as you walk through a Romford shopping centre.

There are many reasons people decide to join a gym. Some want to pack on muscle for strength, train for endurance, or lose weight. But did you know it also does wonders for your mental health? Two members at Romford’s Better Gym in the Market Place talk about their personal fitness journey and the importance of replacing bad habits with good ones.

Newsletter Sign Up

Romford Recorder twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists

News from your area

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now