Archive photos recall visit to Romford by disgraced DJ Jimmy Savile
These pictures, recently unearthed by the Recorder, show a smiling Jimmy Savile when he visited Romford to help encourage young people to vote.
At the time, Savile was one of the nation’s top DJs and TV presenters but the star’s good reputation has since been destroyed by child-abuse claims.
In 1970 he was invited to Romford by Havering Council for an event to promote electoral participation by young people.
The Welcome to Citizenship event at Romford Library, Main Road, was part of the council’s strategy to get 18 to 21-year-olds to the ballot box for the first time after the voting age had been lowered.
Historian Brian Evans worked in the reference section of the library in 1970, and left for the day just before Savile’s arrival.
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He said: “I was a bit annoyed because they closed the library early that day.
“The BBC were involved, they came to set up microphones. There were lots of people waiting around, lots of them making the yodelling noise that he did.”
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Brian has mentioned the event in two of his history books: Remembering Romford and A Century of Romford, from where these pictures are taken.
He added: “At the time I was uneasy about him, but I thought it was just because he was not my sort of thing.
“People who were a bit close to him knew, but obviously people in local government wouldn’t have done.
“Young people are traditionally not interested in politics, so they used the attraction of celebrity. I think some of the girls thought that by coming along they might get a chance to get into show business.”
In recent months the former Jim’ll Fix It presenter, who died last year, has become the subject of multiple police investigations after a number of people said he had abused them as children.
The Metropolitan Police has said he may have had more than 200 victims.