Flashback: A Rent Act row, growing vandalism and a football club demonstration

20 years ago.

20 years ago. - Credit: Romford Library

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

20 years ago.

20 years ago. - Credit: Romford Library

1958: A bitter row over the Rent Act flared between Romford’s Labour MP Ron Ledger and the Liberal Parliamentary candidate Douglas Geary.

It all started with a speech by Mr Geary.

Mr Geary said the Labour party attacked the act but the Co-operative movement took advantage of it.

Mr Ledge, a Co-op nominee, said: “Mr Geary is following the traditional Liberal line of feeling safe providing he is not original.”

20 years ago.

20 years ago. - Credit: Romford Library

Mr Geary, who threw down the gauntlet at Romford’s Liberal Association’s annual meeting, referred to a statement by Romford Labour agent Jack Smith, about dealing with a fresh surge of inquiries from tenants “who have received eviction notices from their landlords.”

He said: “Mr Smith speaks of this brutal Rent Act.

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“Perhaps he would care to look into the activities of the Co-operative Movement.”

1978: Growing vandalism forced Havering Council to close down a Romford youth centre and councillors were deciding whether or not to make it a permanent measure.

That week, Horn-church Liberal Ted King called for the closure of another youth centre, the Robert Beard Youth Centre in Hornchurch, after a mob street fight.

The list of vandalism included pictures torn from walls, graffiti, roof tiles smashed and fire extinguishers removed.

Chairman of the school’s governors, Councillor Bill Smith, said: “The vandalism appears to happen on the nights the youth club meets and so it was decided to close the youth club down.”

Meanwhile, candidate for the borough elections in May Mr King, said: “The Robert Beard centre in Hornchurch Road should be shut down for two months.”

He demanded an investigation by Havering Council into the running of the centre.

1998: Hundreds of Romford Football Club fans, including scores of youngsters, staged one of the biggest demonstrations ever seen at Havering Town Hall in their bid to find a new ground and later claimed they had scored a vital victory.

Police and council security staff stood by but reported the protest had been peaceful.

It was the first time barriers had been erected outside the town hall entrance to keep the crowds away to allow members, officers and others to get in.

Protesters claimed Havering Council had let them down in their search for a new ground, hotly disputed by the minority Labour administration. They were left with promises from all political groups of future talks but no guarantees of success.