Flashback: Questions over redundancy, family’s grief and asbestos fears

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.

40-years-ago

40-years-ago - Credit: Romford Library

1957:

The distressed family of a deceased Briggs’ worker, Ernest Meader, were demanding a public apology from Bill Carron, president of the 900,000 strong Amal-gamated Engineer-ing Union.

References to Mr Meader caused a sensation at the public Court of Inquiry in Westminster into a strike at Briggs, Dagenham. Presenting his union’s case, Mr Carron told of a 72-year-old worker at the river plant who had been declared redundant and who, he alleged, had been unable to find out from company officials what his pension rights were.

He had died still without an answer.

20-years-ago

20-years-ago - Credit: Romford Library


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Mr Carron said of Mr Meader: “I hope his soul has found peace to compensate him for the calculated and callous torture the company subjected his mind to.”

1977:

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The grief-stricken father of a six-year-old who died in a river torrent made a desperate plea: “Don’t let my boy die in vain.”

The body of the fun-loving boy was found in the swollen Ingrebourne River.

He had fallen into the fast-flowing waters while playing on the river bank. His father, of Central Drive, Hornchurch, said his son’s death must be a lesson for Havering Council.

He said: “They must pipe the river to make it safe or there will be another tragedy.

“My wife and I are heartbroken. “But all I can say is that if something is done to pipe the river then my son will not have died in vain.” His neighbours were organising a petition asking for the river to be made safe, particularly as there was a children’s playground nearby. The father told how his eight-year-old son had tried to save his brother. “He tried to grab him but he couldn’t reach so he raced home to tell me. When I got to the river bank and saw the swollen waters I knew he was dead.”

1997:

A leading councillor and teachers’ union representative called for all asbestos to be removed from the borough’s schools.

Their worries over the potentially lethal material were renewed by news exclusively revealed in an edition of the Recorder that raiders at Redden Court School, Harold Wood, damaged a roof which exposed asbestos panels in the school canteen.

Havering Council said it could not confirm how many schools contained asbestos.

But one councillor, Cllr Linda Hawthorn, vice chairman of the environment committee, said: “I think the council should start a programme to get asbestos in all buildings removed, startling with the oldest. I believe even paint can seal asbestos in ceilings.

“But ceiling tiles do deteriorate and even small pins pushed into the ceiling for Christmas decorations can break the seal.”

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