Flashback: A £100 legacy, detective thrown onto rail line and a clampdown on shoplifters

20-years-ago. Picture: Romford Library

20-years-ago. Picture: Romford Library - Credit: Romford Library

A look back at the biggest local stories from this day 20, 40 and 60 years ago.

20-years-ago. Picture: Romford Library

20-years-ago. Picture: Romford Library - Credit: Romford Library


A nurse was left a legacy of £100 under the will of a Harold Hill managing director who died on her ward.

In his will, Percy Cecil Henderson, 63, of Henderson Sliding Door Gear Factory, described her as a nurse of “exceptional ability, cheerfulness and understanding”.

He also wrote: “Lucky is the man who ill, is under her care.”

20-years-ago. Picture: Romford Library

20-years-ago. Picture: Romford Library - Credit: Romford Library

The nurse was Claire Morris, 40, of University College Hospital London.

Mr Henderson had been a patient under her care several times for a few years.

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Before he died, he was in constant pain from injuries received in France during the First World War.

Miss Morris said: “I am very pleased and very grateful.

40-years-ago. Picture: Romford Library

40-years-ago. Picture: Romford Library - Credit: Romford Library

“I did not know anything about this until the will was read - he never mentioned it to me.”


A detective was hurled onto an 8,000 volts rail line at Elm Park Tube Station by a vicious thug and survived thanks to a leather jacket.

Det Con Peter Macken rejoined his colleagues in their hunt for the man who could have killed him.

Mr Macken was rushed to Oldchurch Hospital, Romford, after he was sent sprawling across the District Line tracks but miraculously he escaped with shock and injuries to his ankle and wrist.

He said: “I have been told by railway police that I could have easily been killed.

“I landed right across the tracks and although I had a leather jacket on, I still had red marks across my back where the railway lines were. It was the leather jacket that saved my life.”

The incident happened after detectives swooped on the area following a 999 call giving a burglary alert.


Shoplifters who were costing Romford town centre shops £2m a year were to be targeted in a unique and wide-ranging clampdown.

Convicted thieves were going to be banned from the town’s shops for at least three months and a sophisticated intelligence system, co-ordinated by computer, was going to provide pictures of all suspects for distribution to retail businesses.

In extreme circumstances, police may have used local media to publicly identify serious offenders.

Romford was thought to be the first town in the country to take full advantage of what was then a recent legal ruling that cleared the way for these measures to be used.

Although much excellent work had already been done to reduce crime in the town centre, police and traders believed that this initiative was going to make Romford a complete “no-go” area for professional shoplifters and those who steal to feed drug habits.

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