Nostalgia: Havering in history on August 1, 1954, 1974 and 1994

19:04 01 August 2014

The Recorder, July 30, 1954

The Recorder, July 30, 1954


This week in history - 60, 40 and 20 years ago.

Romford and Hornchurch Recorder, August 2, 1974Romford and Hornchurch Recorder, August 2, 1974

Sixty years ago - 1954

A man was sentenced to one month in prison after pleading guilty to stealing a police officer’s handbag.

The 34-year-old, from Romford, was seen by a second officer snatching the woman’s handbag out of her basket before he fled the High Street store they were shopping in.

The second officer caught the thief and both women, who were in plain clothes, escorted him across the road and to the corner with South Street.

Romford Recorder, July 29, 1994Romford Recorder, July 29, 1994

But the man had other ideas and wriggled free and ran off down High Street.

One of the officers was said to have shouted: “Stop, thief,” and a resident caught hold of the man at the junction with Mawney Road, until the police officers caught up.

Chairman of Romford Magistrates’ Court J. W. Matthews said: “It is the first time in the history of this town that a man has been frogmarched through the streets by women.”


Haynes Park and Hylands Recreation Ground were targeted by vandals in two days.

Wooden garden seats and metal flower baskets were flung on to the bowling green in the park. Holes were made in the turf, wooden stakes uprooted and plants destroyed.

The recreation ground had windows in its new pavilion smashed, trees cut down and flowers damaged.

Parks superintendent S. Porter said: “We expect a certain amount of damage but these two cases are the worst that we have had, it has been done deliberately.”


The Jones Trophy for the girls’ relay race at the Essex Secondary Schools’ Gala came to Romford for the first time, when it was won by the Pettits Girls’ School team.

The winning swimming team members were Jean Pannell, Marjorie White, Beryl Porter and Gladys Dixon.


Forty years ago - 1974

The owners of a chewing gum factory which was ordered to shut down vowed to do whatever they could for their 250 employees.

Douglas and Tony Coakley said they would work without pay until they knew what would happen to staff following a High Court ruling on A & BC Chewing Gum in Harold Hill. The order was made in a petition by Topps Chewing Gum Inc of New York. Mr Justice Plowman said the petition was made because the brothers had repudiated a contract on the basis of which Topps had come into the company as shareholders.


Cllr Jean Mitchell, a Ratepayer member for Cranham, gave birth to identical twins, Katherine and Sarah.

Cllr Mitchell, who already had a son, Andrew, with husband Eric, said: “Although I will be busier than ever now, I certainly intend to continue representing the area.”


A nine-year-old boy was impaled on the cleat of a clothes pole after slipping when he climbed up it.

Nicholas Duplessis, who had been discharged from hospital three days earlier after breaking his arm, was climbing the pole at his Hornchurch home when he slid and the hook pierced his groin.

After efforts by his mother and neighbours to help him failed, the emergency services were called.

Neighbour Barry Mizen supported the boy’s weight for an hour while the firefighters sawed the pole with cutting equipment.

Another neighbour said Nicholas “showed incredible bravery”.

The youngster said: “I shall keep the bit of pole for the rest of my life. But I don’t think I’ll do any more climbing.”


Twenty years ago - 1994

A 23-year-old disabled man tackled a bungee jump in his wheelchair.

Wayne Mills, of Collier Row, was applauded as he dropped 150ft to raise £2,000 for the Spinal Injuries Research Trust.

His next challenge was learning to walk again as he prepared to have electrodes implanted into his body to help him stand.

Mr Mills, who used to play football, broke his back in a fall from a roof when he was 19.

His father, Fred Mills, the new chairman of Collier Row Football Club, said: “First, the doctors will have to encourage Wayne to build up wasted muscles before any operations can be carried out.

“This could take up to three months, but Wayne is determined to take the chance.”


A councillor was arrested after police were called to his Hornchurch home by his estranged wife. He was bailed pending further questioning.


A woman pulled off a surprise wedding and married her partner after keeping the plan secret from him for three months.

Dave Surridge thought he was attending Langtons Register Office in Hornchurch to be best man for his brother Gary but it was all a ruse.

He said: “The first I knew I was seeing Nicky all dressed up in the car.”

The couple, who had a two-year-old daughter Amy, had talked about getting married but never set a date.

Nicky said: “He wanted something special for his 40th birthday like a trip around Brands Hatch in a racing car.

“But I thought everyone does that and booked the wedding instead. It was perhaps the most difficult three months of my life hiding it from him.”


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