Flashback: Ford cars, continental tourists and a helicopter crash

12:00 15 October 2016



Romford Library

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


1956: Ford’s plan to spent millions of pounds on improved and new models to combat declining sales of British cars at home and abroad.

In the frankest statement issued to employees in the British car industry, the Ford company warned bluntly that the crisis of vanishing markets “will call for all the skill and resource we possess if we are to win the 1957 battle”.

The statement - in Ford Works News - confirmed that despite a falling income, the company intended to complete its new £7,000,000 foundry at Rainham and to spend millions “consolidating our proud reputation for holding the world’s best after sales service”.

1976: An exciting plan to airlift continental tourists to Romford for bargain shopping sprees was unveiled.


Business and store chiefs were meeting to discuss the project which offered Havering increased prosperity, perhaps more jobs and a cash bonus for ratepayers.

Havering Council had already announced full backing for the idea dreamed up by one of their members, Gidea Park’s Cllr Johnny Johnston.

The aim was to “cream off” some of the huge numbers of Europeans converging on the Channel ports and central London for intense shoppings sprees and attract them to Romford’s multi-million pound shopping complex.

Leading members of the Romford Chamber of Commerce, who enthusiastically greeted the plan, set it on the agenda for the executive committee meeting.

Secretary of the Romford Chamber of Commerce, Mr John Gowland, said the council’s attitude was “very encouraging”.

1996: An ex-Romford journalist was killed in a tragic helicopter crash which also claimed the lives of four others including Chelsea Club vice-chairman Matthew Harding.

Mr John Bauldie, 47, a keen Bolton Wanders fan, was killed in the crash in Yorkshire as he flew back with Mr Harding, 42, and the others after the Coca-Cola Cup match between Chelsea and Bolton.

Mr Bauldie and his girlfriend Penny moved to Romford together in the mid 1980s and lived for several years at flats in Rushdon Close, off Manor Road.

He worked on Q Magazine based in London.

Associate editor, Mr John Aizlewood, said: “He was a lovely person and the type of man you were pleased to call friend.

“The whole office is devastated.”

He was an acknowledged expert on singer Bob Dylan and published a fan magazine called the Telegraph on the singer.

His work brought him into contact with fellow fan Matthew Harding and the two regularly attended matches together.


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