Flashback: Inexperienced firemen, good neighbours and Havering’s reaction to Dunblane

60-years-ago

60-years-ago - Credit: Romford Library

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

1956:

Alarmed by dangers to public safety, 500 angry passenger and goods train drivers at Stratford decided to petition the transport minister for an immediate inquiry into the employment of hundreds of inexperienced firemen on British Railways.

The petition was to be presented at Whitehall by five drivers elected to form the Stratford Drivers’ Committee.

AA Scrivener, a driver of 30 years and member of the committee from Bartlow Gardens, Collier Row, said: “The situation has become intolerable. In our depot alone we have 200 inexperienced men on the footplate.


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“They have only received a fortnight’s schooling and many can neither read or write.

“We have given these men a fair trial but you can’t train any man in a fortnight – it takes years.”

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A seven-month-old baby girl and her two-year-old brother were found dead at their Cranham home.

They were discovered by police after an emergency 999 call to New Scotland Yard.

A close neighbour said: “They were one of the happiest families I have ever known.

“This tragedy is a terrible shock. I just can’t believe that this has happened.”

1976:

A “good neighbours” scheme launched by a group of Havering churches was proving a big hit. The “dial a friend” scheme had answered calls for help from several parishioners.

Called the North East Havering Community Care Scheme, it had been organised by churches in Harold Hill, Harold Wood and Harold Park.

The Rev Victor Vine, Harold Wood Methodist minister, said: “The sort of service we hope to provide is visiting the lonely, household help during sickness, decorating the homes of the elderly, tending their gardens and above all answering cries for help from the community.”

1996:

Havering Council wanted £250,000 from the government to prevent a Dunblane-style tragedy by improving safety measures in schools.

It was acting in the wake of the massacre, in which 16 primary school pupils and their teacher were shot dead, and the Wolverhampton playground terror, where a crazed man wielding a machete attacked children.

A total of 11 schools came into Havering’s Capital Challenge Bid programme.

Safety initiatives included radios for on-site communication, site direction signs, a radio link to the council’s mobile patrol service, additional fencing and hedging, door entry systems, extra lighting and alarm zoning.

Closed circuit TV systems were also introduced in locations which experienced the “greatest number of problems” – three in the north-east and two in the south.

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