Flashback: Plans for new schools, manager brutally attacked and robbed and life of little girl put at risk


40-years-ago - Credit: Romford Library

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


New Year educational prospects were bright.

In 1957, new schools costing between £2-3million were to be opened, or beginning construction work, in Romford, Hornchurch and Upminster.

Alongside this ambitious construction drive, said to have had few equals throughout the country, the search had already begun for the 200 to 300 additional teachers required to staff new schools, reduce wastage and bring down the size of classes.

In Romford, the first of the new schools to be opened in 1957 would be Brookside Infants’ School, which was hoped would launch in the middle of February.

It was announced the headmistress was going to be a Mrs Kerrigan.

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A manager collecting his firm’s wages was brutally attacked and robbed by a vicious thug in Romford.

Robert Bridgen, 28, had to have 10 stitches in his face during treatment at Oldchurch Hospital, Romford, after the assault.

His attacker escaped into crowds of lunchtime shoppers with a briefcase containing £3,530.

The robbery happened at 12.10pm as Mr Bridgen, who worked for a local cleaning contractors, left a bank in Victoria Road, Romford.

As he climbed into his car, a man jumped in beside him and ordered him to drive off.

When they reached nearby Carlisle Road, the thief ordered him to stop the vehicle. He grabbed the briefcase and, as he jumped out, he smashed Mr Bridgen across the face with a heavy object concealed in a bag.

Following the drama, police searched the area looking for the thug.

A spokesman said: “We believe this thief is vicious. We want anyone who saw any part of the incident to come forward.”


Shortage of council cash was putting the life of a nine-year-old girl at risk.

Leanne Poulter, of Trustons Gardens, Hornchurch, had suffered from a rare immune deficiency condition since she was 18 months old.

In 1994, Leanne and her mother Lorraine had moved out of Rainham, but the home they went on to only had ground floor heating, which led to concerns and Leanne’s condition worsened.

Miss Poulter said: “The cold is a potential killer for Leanne. If she catches a cold or an infection it could be deadly.

“If we stay in this cold atmosphere, my daughter will spend her life continually being admitted to hospital.”

Environmental officers found the upstairs of the house to be riddled with damp and agreed heating had to be installed.

But the housing department told them that due to a shortage of money, nothing could be done until the next budget was set.