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Nostalgia: Havering in history on February 21, 1954, 1974 and 1994

18:45 21 February 2014

The Recorder, February 19, 1954

The Recorder, February 19, 1954

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

Romford and Hornchurch Recorder, February 22, 1974Romford and Hornchurch Recorder, February 22, 1974

Sixty years ago – 1953

A 78-year-old baker died after falling down the stairs of a toilet near Romford Market, an inquest heard.

Fred Wilson, of Havering Road, was walking down the stairs when he collided with a man walking up them.

He spun around and fell, hitting his head at the bottom of the steps.

Romford Recorder, March 4, 1994Romford Recorder, March 4, 1994

Mr Wilson’s son Peter said his father’s health had taken a turn for the worse a few months before, when he had a stroke.

The pathologist said death was caused by a cerebral haemorrhage following a fracture of the skull.

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A shoplifter was spared prison because she was a mother-of-two.

The 30-year-old was instead placed on probation for three years after stealing clothing from department stores in Romford and Dagenham.

She pleaded guilty to stealing more than £6 worth of clothes from Marks and Spencer, South Street, and a second offence of stealing the same amount from the store.

She also asked for two offences of shoplifting from Marks and Spencer and British Home Stores in Dagenham to be taken into account.

At court she was told that imprisonment should be the punishment, but that she was spared because of her young children, aged three and seven.

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Oldchurch Hospital staff were criticised for not informing police earlier of a woman’s death from poisoning.

They did not notify officers until two days after the woman died of an overdose of tablets.

Coroner Mr L. F. Beccle told an inquest it was a “serious delay” and might have affected the administration of justice.

He added that he had been made to look “foolish” because a doctor asked him about the case and he hadn’t known anything about it.

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Forty years ago - 1974

An 18-month-old baby was saved from drowning by a hero fireman.

Brendon Hickey was pulled unconscious from the fish pond at the back of his Wennington home.

The toddler had been seen floating in the water by his father Patrick, who tried to revive him, and his mother started screaming so loudly that firemen in the area rushed over.

Doug Vale and Terry Morris leapt over the fence to get into the garden.

Mr Vale said: “I started giving the child mouth-to-mouth respiration. Eventually the child came round.

“The other fireman had called an ambulance and when it got here we had undressed the child and wrapped him in blankets.

“Another five minutes and I’m sure the child would have died. It was only because the distressed parents were making such a noise that we were there so quickly.”

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A miniature horse called Fireball was playing a part in helping to raise £10,000 for Oldchurch Hospital.

The animal, which stood just 28 inches high, was being put into action to persuade residents to support the drive for a new occupational therapy unit.

Florist Nellie Sims was hoping to parade Fireball around Romford Market Place with a colourful caravan.

Five-year-old Fireball has already been the star of carnivals and parades across the country.

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An eight-year-old boy paralysed in a car crash had his wheelchair taken away by police – because it was stolen.

Stewart Clark had been waiting a year for a wheelchair when one was dropped off at his home by a stranger.

However, officers took it away and said it had been stolen from an 86-year-old woman.

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Twenty years ago - 1994

Council tax was set to be cut, with residents due to see their bills reduced by £40.

The Band D rate was set to drop from £535 to £495 thanks to the authority’s new budget.

Also announced were plans to provide youngsters with three years of full-time infant education.

Council-owned parts of Romford were to be refurbished thanks to a £2million fund while cars parks and the market were also due to benefit.

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The council leader suggested trams could solve the problem of traffic congestion in North Street, Romford.

Cllr Arthur Latham’s comments came as residents were being asked for their views on a possible traffic management scheme.

Cllr Latham said: “A link through North Street could be the real answer.

“It is a serious suggestion because we do really need to develop a north-south transport link in the borough, especially when we develop Havering riverside, as we intend to do.”

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A widow received £85,000 compensation after a 15-year battle to prove her husband’s death was caused by asbestos.

Elizabeth Standen, 68, of London Road, Romford, believed George’s death, and those of his two brothers, were caused by exposure to asbestos dust.

She won the money from the Manchester-based insulation company which employed them.

Judge Justice Mitchell said the woman had established a “sufficient causal connection” between her husband’s death and the disease mesothelioma.

She had been told when he died in 1979, aged 58, that he had died of lung cancer, but her son, Dr Graham Standen always had “nagging doubts”.

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