Flashback: House hunting, justice for accused train driver and the borough’s waste


60-years-ago - Credit: Romford Library

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


Hundreds of house hungry Romford families on the council’s waiting list were promised their dreams would come true.

“We are not letting up and 1957 will be a busy year”, said Alderman W R Pike, chairman of Romford’s Building and Town Planning Committee when he analysed 1957’s building prospects.

Commenting on the eight schemes in progress to build 496 flats and houses and 12 new shops, he said: “I am hopeful these will be substantially completed before the end of the year.” The schemes provided for 144 new council homes in Rush Green Gardens, 12 shops and 12 houses in White Hart Lane and 42 houses in Romside. It was also revealed that site work would commence on the Dagenham Road housing site where 84 new one and two-bedroomed flats would be built.


A Hornchurch church train driver acquitted of murdering his mother-in-law, spoke of his hatred and bitterness towards the police and the killer.

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He was trying to settle back into a normal family life after an Old Bailey jury unanimously cleared him.

The joy of being reunited with his wife and three children was marred by his feelings about the nine-month prison ordeal he suffered for a crime he did not commit.

It was the first day he had been home since police started questioning him in May 1976 about the death of his mother-in-law at her home in Strathmore Gardens, Hornchurch.

He said: “I am still full of hatred for the police who put me in prison. They’ll never be able to give me nine months of my life back again,” he said.


Havering was being asked to pay £1.5m more than a neighbouring borough to get rid of its rubbish.

Labour Cllr Ray Harris, who represented Havering on the East London Waste Authority, was demanding a judicial review and a full-scale independent audit of its performance.

His call followed a series of clashes between Havering Council and ELWA over money and fears of a vast incineration plant that was being built in Rainham.

He said the people of Havering would have to cough up much more cash than their east London neighbours because ELWA increased its 1997/98 budget by a massive 24per cent.

That, he claimed, would mean Havering having to pay a total of more than £3.6m – £1.5m more than Barking and Dageham’s contribution to the ELWA – even though both of the boroughs had similar tonnages of waste.

Cllr Harris, former Havering Council environment committee chairman, said some of the ELWA’s increased costs were due to the government’s new landfill tax.