Flashback: Rent rise, continental shopping and a court case


40-years-ago - Credit: Romford Library

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


Rents of thousands of families in Romford and Hornchurch was going to rise under the proposed Rents Bill which the government hoped to place on the Statue book by Easter.

It would have affected tenants in more than 18,700 Romford houses and flats which fell within the new rent control limits and tenants in more than 29,000 similar properties in Hornchurch.

The main provisions of the Bill - which would have not affected council house tenants - were:

To unfreeze rents of better-class houses - those with a rateable value of more than £30.

This affected tenants living in more than 8,500 houses in this category in Romford and more than 2,400 houses in Hornchurch.

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To remove rent control on any house which fell vacant even if it had been formerly controlled and to raise rent limits in houses which would continue to be rent-controlled.


An exciting plan to airlift continental tourists to Romford for bargain shopping sprees was unveiled.

Business and store chiefs were meeting to discuss the project which offered Havering increased prosperity, perhaps more jobs and a cash bonus for ratepayers.

Havering Council had already announced full backing for the idea dreamed up by one of their members Cllr Johnny Johnston.

The aim was to “cream off” some of the huge numbers of Europeans after converging on the Channel ports and central London for the intense shopping sprees and attract them to Romford’s multi-million pound shopping complex.

John Gowland, secretary of the Romford Chamber of Commerce, said: “German visitors from Havering’s twin-town of Ludwigshafen are delighted with our new shopping facilities so I think they would appeal to others from the continent.”


The man accused of battering to death the 27-year-old daughter of Cllr Caroline Hurlstone, told police he did not have murder on his mind when he confronted the stable girl armed with an iron bar but then hit her until he was “out of puff”, a court heard.

Farm hand Stephen Webber, 39, appeared before Exeter Crown Court accused of murdering Jessie Hurlstone 13 months ago in her caravan home in Devon.

Jessie was head stable lass for top National Hunt trainer Mr Richard Frost at his stables close to Exeter.

The jury heard Webber, who denied murder, became obsessed with Jessie and showered her with presents but she humiliated him publicly, spurning his advances.

Roderick Denyer, QC, prosecuting, said: “There were 10 major injuries and fractures.

“Her brain was effectively pulped.

“The defendant eventually admitted killing Jessie and that once he started hitting her he kept on going until he ran out of puff.”