Flashback: A premonition, poisonous waste and an initiative to tackle drugs

40-years-ago. Picture: Romford Library

40-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.

40-years-ago. Picture: Romford Library

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


A woman said she had a premonition that she would see her husband again soon.

That Saturday in the early hours, her husband arrived at their Romford home having escaped from Maidstone Prison.

He had been serving a three-year corrective training term for receiving lead, a crime of which he insisted he was innocent.

He had been sentenced in July 1957 at Essex Quarter Sessions.

Since then, he and his wife, had battled for his freedom.

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He had returned home to discuss with her unexplored channels in his fight for liberty.

But the discussion was never completed.

Within half an hour of breaking into his Highfield Road, Collier Row, home, police officers entered and took him away.


Three-thousand people called for an end to the dumping of poisonous waste in Rainham.

A petition signed by local people, was handed to Hornchurch MP Alan Lee Williams at the House of Commons.

It was going to be sent to environment minister Denis Howell and transport secretary Bill Rodgers.

Campaigners feared that the dumping site in Ferry Lane, Rainham, could become the toxic “dustbin of the world”.

All 3,000 signatures on the petition had been collected since January, when news leaked out that more than 3,000 gallons of polychlorinated biphenyal (pcb) were to be stored at the site.

Just one year earlier, a plan to dump 6,000 tons of radioactive waste in Rainham was abandoned after a public outcry.

The petition was handed over by three members of the United Action Against Toxic Wastes group - Mark Long of Hornchurch Liberals, Christopher Aylott of the South West Essex Conservation Society and Alice Farrelly of the North Rainham Action Group.


A Havering youth initiative was given pride of place at the launch of a new government strategy to combat drugs.

The borough’s Bands Project was spotlighted by national “drugs czar” Keith Hellawell.

Principal youth and community officer at the Broxhill Centre, Harold Hill, Steve Power said: “I felt extremely proud.

“It shows we are in the forefront, tackling this issue using positive initiatives.”

It was the only youth project to be featured at the launch.

Its drug awareness CD, Crave, produced by local bands, was played throughout the launch at the Trocadero in London.

Mr Power said: “Keith Hellawell invited us because he was impressed with our success.

“It’s an extremely credible way to work with young people.”