Nostalgia: Havering in history on May 10, 1953, 1973 and 1993

09:45 10 May 2013

The Recorder, May 15, 1953

The Recorder, May 15, 1953


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

Romford and Hornchurch Recorder, May 4, 1973Romford and Hornchurch Recorder, May 4, 1973

Sixty years ago - 1953

A housewife’s terrifying struggle with a housebreaker who planned to kill her was described before Romford magistrates.

The 31-year-old crook, of no fixed address, had tricked his way into the woman’s Rise Park house, in Deveron Way, before punching her.

He then tried to strangle the young mother, who smashed a window to attract attention, after which he released her.

Romford Recorder, May 7, 1993Romford Recorder, May 7, 1993

She persuaded him to take £1 from her purse and leave, which he did.

But while awaiting his court appearance he confessed to a police sergeant he had intended to murder her.


“Crude” defacements of two nude paintings led to their withdrawal from an exhibition.

The art show at YMCA Red Triangle Club in Western Road, Romford, saw two paintings “disfigured” by pencil marks and daubed with paint.

One painting, The Recorder noted, “deals with the busts of two women” while the other showed three nudes.

At the previous year’s exhibition, a miniature had been stolen.


Master builder David Carter was celebrating the recovery of his home after an illness he believed was terminal.

Mr Carter’s brother had let the Harold Wood house because Mr Carter had become too ill to work At the time, Mr Carter told Ilford County Court, he had “understood that his days were numbered”, and Mr Carter’s family – himself, his wife and their three children – began sharing his brother’s house.

But following a nervous breakdown the builder had “pulled himself together” and started his own business.

Now he had been granted possession of his house from the tenants, giving them six months to find a home elsewhere.


Forty years ago - 1973

A group of “militant” Elm Park mums had threatened to keep their children away from school because of a “ridiculous” Havering Council plan.

They wanted catchment areas redrawn to allow the youngsters to attend Brittons School, which was near their homes. Existing plans would have forced the children to go to Suttons School, some two miles away.

Catchment areas had been brought in to anticipate Havering’s change-over to comprehensive secondary education, due in September 1973.

But the catchment lines had produced some anomalies.

“Our garden almost backs onto the Brittons playground, yet I have been told that in September my children will have to go to Suttons,” said Lily Brown, of Rainham Road, South Hornchurch.


Obscene phone calls were making life a misery for 12-year-old Judi Matthews.

The pop fan, from Cranham, had been asked to pose nude for photographs by a mystery caller – who had also called her house a number of times previously and asked what she was wearing.

It started after Judi won a competition to see the Osmond brothers in America. The caller had claimed to be from a clothes manufacturer and, later, to be a reporter.

Her mother Phyllis said: “Judi is a pretty sensible girl, but naturally these calls have upset her.”


The “forgotten village” of Rainham was set to be “remembered at last” with a hefty report put before Havering Council.

“Determined and progressive”, the report took a “detailed look” at the area, taking into account a survey of residents, and made recommendations for its future.

The A13, heavy traffic, and children’s play facilities were among the topics it addressed.

Twenty years ago - 1993


A 12-year-old girl who suffered from a rare disabling condition was making “great progress towards an improved lifestyle” – thanks to Recorder readers.

Former bus drivers Terry Holeyman, of Hornchurch, and Ted Philpin, of Romford, had stepped up and undertaken a 110-mile walk to raise cash for Megan Gonsalves, whose plight – revealed in the paper 11 months previously – had touched them.

Megan suffered from Wolf Syndrome, a chromosome abnormality. The cash raised by Terry and Ted was to go towards paying for specialist treatment in Somerset.

Her parents, Jo and Lionel, had first appealed for help in the Recorder as they needed support with Megan’s special exercises – 30 half-hour sessions needing three people.

Jo said she had been “overwhelmed” by the response and that the exercises had made Megan stronger and fitter. She was now even able to walk a few steps.


A frustrated son beat his elderly mother “black and blue” because she had refused to give him money to buy a motorbike, a court heard.

The Harold Hill man, 52, admitted assaulting his 84-year-old mother and causing her actual bodily harm. He was jailed for 18 months.


A hedgehog who miraculously survived being torched and used as a football by thugs was making good progress, said a Harold Hill vet.

The animal was set upon by a group in Grays and kicked about before being set alight.

A resident spotted the poor animal with its prickles “well alight”, plunged it into a bucket of water, and called Fitzilian Avenue vet Lawton’s.

Amazingly, nothing was broken, and after injections the hedgehog was on the road to recovery.


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