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.”


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 News Stories

Robert Bull, the pilot killed after his plane crashed in Gravel Lane, Chigwell

Tributes have been paid to a Hornchurch pilot tragically killed alongside his colleague when their plane crashed into a field and burst into flames.

Havering Council has halted the demolition of the Mecca Bingo hall in Hornchurch

A dramatic turn of events has seen the demolition of the Mecca Bingo hall in Hornchurch halted by Havering Council.

Yesterday, 15:24
Ivana Bartoletti

An NHS worker and a mother expecting her second child, Labour’s London Assembly candidate, Ivana Bartoletti, wants to send a message of “trust and hope”.

Yesterday, 12:25
Picture: BrianAJackson

The A127 Ardleigh Green Bridge was reduced to a single lane carriageway in both directions on Monday as work to replace it continues.

Yesterday, 07:00
Mayor of London Boris Johnson announced a multi-million plan for the redevelopment of 86 acres of industrial land owned by the Greater London Authority in London Riverside on Friday.

A multi-million plan to develop 86 acres of riverside land will regenerate at least eight run-down industrial sites in Rainham.

Tue, 17:57
Circus big top. Picture: Johnny Green/PA

Rival circuses are accusing each other of using “every trick in the book” to drum up publicity for their own event after rolling into town at the same time.

Tue, 17:24
Rainham Hall

An 18th century manor upheld as one of the country’s finest surviving examples of a Georgian merchant’s home has opened to the public for the first time.

Tue, 14:55
The site would be one of three in London. Picture: David Parry/PA

Drivers could be popping into Rainham to charge their hydrogen-fuelled cars within 18 months after developers earmarked the area for their £31million project.

Most read news

News from your area


Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.


You'll be stocked up on toiletries  for a while!

Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more.

You could be splashing the cash at Topshop!

Just imagine what you could do with £1,000 to spend at Topshop.

Digital Edition

Read the Romford Recorder e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder