Flashback: Rent increases, tragic Christmas death and parents fight for school pelican crossing


40-years-ago - Credit: Romford Library

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


Rent rises ranging from 2d. to 7s. a week would have affected nearly 2,000 Romford tenants in post-war council houses from April.

But to alleviate hardship, in cases where increases exceeded 2s. 6d. a week, the rise would operate in installments not exceeding a rise of 2s. 6d in any one year.

And on April 1 2018 rents of an additional 546 tenants in post-war council houses were going to go down by sums varying from 1d. to 4s 10d.

These housing committee recommendations which formed part of the most comprehensive review of the rents ever undertaken in Romford were approved by the council after a lengthy and stormy discussion.

To express their disapproval of certain recommendations, the Conservative minority on the council refrained from voting formal acceptance of the housing report as a whole.

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Christmas joy suddenly turned to hearbreak when a mother who gave birth to a bouncing baby boy on Christmas Day died tragically.

The mother, Mrs Mary Parr, of Thorogood Way, Rainham, died just hours after proudly showing off her new son to a Recorder photographer.

The baby, who was to be named David, held a place of honour in the maternity wing at Rush Green Hospital as he was the first Christmas Day baby to arrive and his cradle was decorated in special white silk coverings.

Just hours before her death, Mrs Parr, 40, told a Recorder reporter: “I didn’t even realise I was pregnant until the doctor told me.

“At my time of life, I didn’t expect to have anymore children.

“It certainly came as a surprise to both myself and my husband but it was such a beautiful surprise.”

Shocked neighbours in the Rainham area mourned her death.

Stunned next-door neighbour Mrs Ivy Poole said: “This is a dreadful blow.

“We all knew Mary so well.

“I can’t believe she’s dead.”


A human road block brought traffic to a standstill outside a Havering school as angry parents raised the stakes in a biter eight-year fight for a pelican crossing.

Parents of children who attended Mitchell Infants’ School in South End Road, Hornchurch, made their protest after a child was involved in a collision, the second incident in five months.

They stepped out into the road at 3.15pm as their children left the school and blocked it until every youngster had crossed safely.

Mrs Sharon Edwards, 33, the mother of five-year-old Reece, who was involved in the collision, said: “He was injured down the side of his face, on his nose and inside his mouth.

“He was taken to hospital by ambulance and X-rayed.

“Thankfully he was alright.”

Another mother Mrs Ann Purchase, 35, said: “We want a proper pelican crossing.

“All the schools along this road have crossings except this one.

“The only way to get people to listen is to stop the traffic.

“We’re prepared to keep doing it until something is done.”