Flashback: A new swimming pool, service station raid and masked gunmen at fast food restaurant


40-years-ago - Credit: Romford Library

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


The £143,000 Hornchurch Swimming Pool was going to open later that year.

That’s what the council decided when they fixed the cost of admission for adults at 1s 6d.

Juniors, every child under 15 or anybody under 18 who was a full-time student, would have to pay 9d.

But there was a shock for the girls who favoured the fashion of short hair styles, as they were going to have to wear bathing caps in the water.

The Baths Superintendent Mr G. M. Lee told the Recorder that this was to prevent girls losing their hair grips as these stained and corroded the pool’s bottom.

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The December opening was going to give officials plenty of time to get running in top gear before the summer boom started.


A garage attendant was held at knife-point when thugs raided a Harold Hill service station.

The cashier was alone at the Faringdon Service Station, Faringdon Avenue, when two raiders burst in.

They threatened him with a knife as they grabbed cash from the till.

They were believed to have escaped with between £50 and £80.

The garage attendant suffered severe bruises during the robbery which happened at about 9pm.

Investigations into the raid were being led by detectives from Harold Hill police station.

A spokesman said: “We cannot release anymore details at present but we are anxious to hear from anyone who might have seen anything suspicious.

“The raiders could strike again.

“They are dangerous.”


Terrified staff and customers cowered at the back of a fast food restaurant as a real-life raid drama unfolded outside.

Masked gunmen trying to hi-jack a security van fired five shots at its guards.

One shot was aimed straight at the driver, who was protected by a bullet-proof windscreen.

Mr Husseyn Otkay was preparing to close his Wimpy Bar in Clockhouse Lane, Collier Row, when the battle erupted.

Two guards were attacked as they arrived to collect cash from the Abbey National bank next door at 10pm.

Mr Otkay described the attempted raid as “utterly terrifying”.

He said: “It was terrible to see guns used like this on our streets.

“People could easily have died.”