News flashback: Caravan woes, rescued by a dog, and cars vandalised


1959 - Credit: Archant

Stories that made the news 60, 40 and 20 years ago


1979 - Credit: Archant


Nearly 100 families on the Palmer Caravan Site in Romford were facing having to find new homes within 17 days. And they didn't even know it.

The site owners had not yet told them of a ministerial decision made in November 1958 concerning the site in Oldchurch Road.

Told of the quit notice by the Romford Recorder, a mother of five said: "If I have to leave I shall go and camp on the town hall's doorstep."


1979 - Credit: Archant

In September 1958, after Romford Council and Essex County Council had refused permission for the site to be used for caravans, the owners put their case at a Ministry of Housing inquiry. The minister later insisted the land must be cleared of caravans by November 30, 1959, saying: "Circumstances justified giving the owners time to find alternative accommodation."

But according to caravanners interviewed by the Recorder, the tenants had never been told.

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A thug held a knife to the throat of a young woman during a terrifying attack in her home - but she was rescued by her dog.

The attacker struck while the 22-year-old woman was working in the kitchen. She saw a man's reflection in the taps of the sink.

He grabbed her by the hair, pulled her head back, held a kitchen knife to her throat and dragged her to the stairs saying he would steal her money. But when the woman's dog came in from the garden, the attacker panicked, dropped the knife and ran out of the house.

The incident happened on the Dury Falls Estate in Hornchurch.

The woman was left with a slight cut on her throat.

Elsewhere, Romford ambulance crews stopped worked for one hour in support of ancillary workers in dispute at Warley Hospital, Brentwood.

Warley Hospital administrator Michael Allen said about 50 elderly day patients were unable to go to the hospital for treatment beause of the ambulance crew's actions.


Vandals went on a wrecking spree along a normally peaceful Havering road - and left it looking like a bomb site.

Horrified residents of Clydesdale Road, Hornchurch, woke up to find 17 of their cars which were parked in the road, splattered with silver spray paint.

They were faced with repair bills stretching into thousands of pounds. The yobs also uprooted trees, hurled dustbins around and tossed glass bottles into gardens during the overnight spree.

Sgt Rose Crompton, of Romford police, said: "The offenders ran up and down the road attacking at least 17 cars with the spray paint.

"A resident raised the alarm when she looked outside her house at 2am and saw the damage to the vehicles."

She added: "This was a terrible attack of sheer mindless vandalism. It has caused a lot of distress to a lot of people."