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Nostalgia: Havering in history on December 13, 1953, 1973 and 1993

The Recorder, December 11, 1953 The Recorder, December 11, 1953

Friday, December 13, 2013
6:45 PM

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

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Romford and Hornchurch Recorder, December 14, 1973Romford and Hornchurch Recorder, December 14, 1973

Sixty years ago – 1953

A man was jailed for three months, and his wife sent to a “housewifery training school”, after pleading guilty to neglecting their children.

The couple, of Benets Road, Hornchurch, were accused of allowing their two young sons to live, eat and sleep in “deplorable and filthy” conditions. The man, 30, also pleaded guilty to beating his older son, three, with a strap.

Prosecuting for the NSPCC, Mr Jefferies said the family’s bedding was “saturated” and the single room the family-of-four shared was unheated and dirty.

Romford Recorder, December 10, 1993Romford Recorder, December 10, 1993

Attempting to explain his actions, the father said he was not in his right mind when he hit the boy, but added his son could be “very adamant” and said his wife could not control him. The chairman handed him two three-month prison terms, to run concurrently.

Despite the family’s poor living conditions, the NSPCC said the children were well-fed.


A hairdresser’s cat was “none the worse” after being accidentally nailed down under the floorboards of her owner’s shop.

Dinkie, who belonged to hairdresser Winifred Tilley, who ran the shop in Eastern Road, Romford, had gone missing while finishing touches were being added to the in-store decorations.

“Everyone looked high and low until a pitiful mewing was heard from below,” the Recorder explained.

The floorboards were hastily pulled up and Dinkie was released – presumably now one life down, but otherwise unscathed.


Plans were underway to widen Romford High Street.

Romford’s highways committee had approved the recommendation that the council make a compulsory purchase of 940 square feet on the south side of the road – the area including numbers 39 and 59.


Forty years ago – 1973

A multi-million pound leisure complex was a step closer to realisation in Romford town centre.

“Fun city”, set to house a swimming pool, ice rink, “bathing pool with tropical-style beach”, gym, concert hall and tennis courts, was to be built on land north of Romford Market, with private developers providing most of the cash.

Work was expected to commence before May, 1974.

A third of responses to a borough-wide consultation had opposed the development, but these were thought mostly to come from people who lived outside Romford.


Four Hornchurch people were killed in two road crashes during a single weekend.

A young mother and her two children died instantly when a tanker and their car were involved in a crash on the A12’s Brentwood by-pass.

Then, the following day, a man was killed after his car collided with a coach carrying a fishing party in North Ockendon.

Inside their broken-down car, Benets Road resident Jacqueline Wilson and her children Dean, two, and Danny, six months, were hit by a tanker as dad David, who had been pushing the vehicle, watched helplessly.

And 46-year-old John Dyer, of Candover Road, died 24 hours later in Clay Tye Road.


Straight Road, Harold Hill’s “killer mile”, had claimed another victim – young motorcyclist Robert Smith.

He was the fourth person to die on the road in a year – but the circumstances of his collision with a parked van remained a mystery as no witnesses had come forward.

Robert’s father Frederick said his son, a trainee tester at Plessy’s and former Broxhill Secondary School student, had not been a reckless rider.


Twenty years ago – 1993

Havering Council had sold its stake in The Liberty shopping centre for £32million.

Much of the cash would now be pumped into regenerating Romford town centre, particularly the area around the market. The council wanted to restore South Street’s “golden mile” name and improve multi-storey car parks.

Negotiations over the sale to property firm Hammerson and insurers Standard Life had dragged on for two years, and the deal was struck less than a month before a New Year government deadline would have frozen half the money.


A sickening sexual attack on a Shetland pony in Cranham was feared to be the work of an occultist sect.

Police were investigating “Satanist and witchcraft motives” following the death of the 15-year-old pony in a “perverted sexual stabbing”.

Hickstead show pony Rhiannon was found in a pool of blood with her battered six-month-old colt on top of her. She had been mutilated.

There was no evidence linking the crime with occultists, but Det Sgt Colin Threadgold said a sect was known to worship a mythical horse called Rhiannon.

The pony had been cared for by Barbara and Charles Jones-Mustoo, whose daughter Abbie – Rhiannon’s original owner – had sadly died of pneumonia the previous year.


Eastern Electricity sent a bouquet of flowers to a disabled Hornchurch woman who had been left without power for 13 hours.

They also sent Mrs Jones cash to replace ice cream that melted during the power-cut in Northdown Road.

Mrs Jones told the Recorder she had used “a whole box of candles” while the electricity had been off between 9.30am and 10.45pm.

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