Nostalgia: Havering in history on April 19, 1955, 1975 and 1995

The Recorder, April 15 1955

The Recorder, April 15 1955 - Credit: Archant

This week in history – 60, 40 and 20 years ago.

Romford and Hornchurch Recorder, April 18 1975

Romford and Hornchurch Recorder, April 18 1975 - Credit: Archant

Sixty years ago

Villagers were excited after they were given the go-ahead to build a social centre.

The Ministry of Housing and Local Government said the land at the entrance of Wellingtonia Avenue, Havering-atte-Bower, should be released, as there was a clear need for the facility.

The land was one-sixth of an acre of the green belt in that area.

Romford Recorder, April 14 1995

Romford Recorder, April 14 1995 - Credit: Archant

The decision was made at a public inquiry.

Prior to this, the new community association had collected 400 names on a petition.

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Essex County Council had been happy to release the land, but 60 people and London County Council had opposed it.

The previous year, a carnival in aid of the project raised £150.

An association member said: “It encourages us to redouble our efforts this year.

“Now we have a real objective and something tangible to work for after a long period of uncertainty.”


Passengers on a train were lucky not to be injured when a window shattered.

The incident happened as the train, travelling from Romford towards London, neared Chadwell Heath station.

Passenger Gordon Simpson said: “I heard a sharp crack and a piece of glass flew across the compartment floor.

“A hole was made in the window and the glass was cracked in two places.

“It seemed as if a pellet or a stone from a catapult had struck the window.”


Four schoolboys admitted stealing neckties.

The pupils, from a school near Brentwood, took the items from a Romford store.

They were valued at £1 six shillings and three pennies.

The boys, who appeared at Romford Juvenile Court, asked for other offences to be taken into consideration.

The oldest boy, aged 15, also admitted stealing books from a bookshop.

Their sentences ranged from probation to conditional discharges.


Forty years ago

A lorry filled with £11,000 worth of steel was stolen, leading police to launch a clampdown

Thieves struck at a lay-by near Dovers Corner, Rainham, and took 20 tonnes of steel.

The incident brought the total value of such items stolen in the previous weeks to £52,000, leading police to take action on “lorry-lifters”.

A Rainham police spokesman said: “The borough is an Aladdin’s cave for thieves,

“Loaded lorries worth hundreds of thousands of pounds have been stolen in the last year.

“Lorry drivers leave the trailers in lay-bys or cafe car parks overnight and when they go back in the morning they are gone.

“We want drivers to make sure that they take their trailers to a proper secure lorry park.”


Bailiffs were set to move on three Havering Council properties to evict the tenants.

The action came after the council spent years haggling with some tenants over an alleged refusal to pay their rent.

Cllr Bert James, housing committee chairman, said: “It is simply a case of wilful refusal to pay through sheer cussedness.”

A council spokesman added: “We are under no obligation to rehouse these people once we have proved that they are bad tenants.”


A driver was lucky to not be seriously injured after he was shot at with an airgun.

Geoffrey Cooper, 26, was driving home from work in Ilford when he felt a sharp sting and then saw blood running down his neck.

The shot narrowly missed a jugular vein and the pellet was embedded half an inch into his neck.

Mr Cooper was patched up at Oldchurch Hospital.

He said: “Everyone keeps telling me how lucky I was. The pellet was very close to the jugular vein, but quite apart from that it could have hit me in the eye.

“The whole thing was horribly dangerous. Anything could have happened and someone could have been killed.

“As it is, the incident was very unpleasant and my neck is badly bruised. I really don’t think I was lucky at all.”


Twenty years ago

The devastated parents of a 15-year-old boy killed in a road accident demanded to know why there was no crossing at the scene.

Paul Tolhurst was riding his bike to an adventure playground in Hornchurch Country Park when he was hit by a car in Suttons Lane.

Paramedics battled to save him, but he was pronounced dead at Oldchurch Hospital, Romford, after suffering fatal internal injuries and head wounds.

His father Barry, of Ilfracombe Crescent, Hornchurch, said: “I hope whoever had the idea to put a playground at that spot with no facility for crossing, can live with their conscience.

“Two hand-written signs, warning drivers that children were crossing, appeared the day after the accident – but there were none previously.

“It’s unbelievable.”

A Havering Council spokesman said: “There has never been a request for a crossing on the site and we will wait for a full report before deciding if any action should be taken.”

Dozens of tributes had been left for Paul at the scene.


Police were hunting for a man who assaulted a woman in a terrifying attack.

The 25-year-old victim, a bank clerk, was hit around the face with a cosh or truncheon when she got out of her car in Sevenoaks Close, Harold Hill, at 9.40pm in the evening.

Officers were concerned that he could strike again.

Sgt Graham Walker, of Romford police, said: “The attack was motiveless and he made no attempt to rob her.

“No words were exchanged throughout. The whole incident is very sinister and one cannot help thinking he may have wanted to rape her or even worse.

“He must be caught and we must find out who he is very quickly, before anything else happens.”