Nostalgia: Havering in history on July 18, 1955, 1975 and 1995

The Recorder, July 15 1955

The Recorder, July 15 1955 - Credit: Archant

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

Romford and Hornchurch Recorder, July 18 1975

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

Sixty years ago

The father of a teenager killed in an explosion identified his son’s remains by a pair of shoes and some clothing.

William Clark’s son Percy, 15, of Kettering Road, Harold Hill, had been missing presumed dead for 11 days after the accident at the Beckton Gas Works.

Mr Clark said he learned about the explosion when his daughter told him.

Romford Recorder, July 14 1995

Romford Recorder, July 14 1995 - Credit: Archant


A man was sent to prison for six months after attacking two police officers.

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The 26-year-old, of Ravensbourne Crescent, Harold Wood, had set upon a chief inspector and a constable.

He pleaded guilty and was given two six-month sentences.

He was also jailed for a month for being disorderly while drunk and another month for causing 15 shillings worth of damage to a cell at Romford police station.

All of the sentences were to run concurrently.


Romford’s MP was fined 10 shillings for parking his car in a restricted street for 25 minutes.

Ronald Joseph left his car in a street in Southgate.

A police constable said when he informed Mr Joseph of the offence, he said: “Thank you.”

The MP wrote to court pleading guilty.


A building foreman working on a house found a dead man inside.

Claude Harman made the discovery in a cupboard in the property, in Servern Road, Upminster.

There was a strong smell of gas in the almost-completed home.

The dead man was Aubrey Salmon, 45, from Grays, Essex.

He had been employed by a firm of gas contractors. It was believed he had suffered coal gas poisoning.


Forty years ago

A 65-year-old man suffered severe burns as he tried to put out the flames which engulfed his home.

Reginald Wright, of Collier Row Lane, Collier Row, was taken to Oldchurch Hospital, Romford, after firefighters from Romford arrived at the scene. ------------------------------

A gallon of white spirit contained in a plastic drum had burst into flames, destroying the whole ground floor of Mr Wright’s house.

The pensioner was discharged after being treated for burns to his face, hands and legs.

He said: “It was terrifying, as the white spirit went up so quickly. I did what I could, but the heat was terribly fierce.” Mr Wright’s brother John, 73, lived only two doors away.

He said: “Reg will stay with me until we sort something out. It was lucky the fire brigade got here so quickly, or other houses in the row might have been damaged.”


Havering was left shocked by the death of its mayor when Cllr Dennis Peters, 60, lost his battle with cancer.

He was the first borough mayor to die in office.

Council leader Cllr Jack Moultrie, a close friend, said: “I am terribly shocked at this dreadful news.

“It is a great loss to me personally and to our borough. I am sure it will be a great support to his family to know they are in our prayers.” Deputy mayor Cllr Dave Davis called Cllr Peters’ death a “loss to the community”.


A children’s playhut was left in disarray after a party was held there.

Play leader Rene McCleish was stunned to find toys thrown about and stacks of records strewn all over the floor at Keats Avenue Adventure Playground, in Harold Hill.

There were also cigarettes stubbed out.


Twenty years ago

A toddler who had swallowed a coin had to wait 14 hours for it to be removed – because surgical instruments were locked away.

Vicky Griffiths was furious after the delays at Oldchurch Hospital and Harold Wood Hospital meant her daughter Simone, 14 months, was left with the coin stuck in her throat overnight. Simone was moved from Oldchurch to Harold Wood as there were no beds available.

Vicky said: “When we got to Harold Wood, doctors said they would get an operating team over from Oldchurch to remove the coin, but then it was found the equipment was locked up until the morning.

“I was very worried – especially when the doctors told us not to let Simone laugh or cry in case the coin moved.

“She couldn’t eat or drink either.” Vicky added: “What would the hospital have done if a greater emergency had come up?” A spokesman for Havering Hospitals Trust said: “Initial assessment of Simone was immediate and indicated no breathing or respiratory problems.

“The medical team believed this position was not life-threatening.

“Naturally, we recognise the distress caused to both baby and family by this unfortunate accident.

“However, in the circumstances, it is our trained staff who take responsibility for a safe and successful outcome.”


A golden retriever was one of the first dogs to have open heart surgery.

Konnor had a congenital disorder of the heart and his prognosis had been bleak – with a life expectancy of just six months to a year if he did not undergo the surgery. Owner Wendy Beckinsale, of Dagenham Road, Romford, said: “Konnor still has to take medication and could take six months to recover from the operation.

“All our dogs are important to us and we’re glad we’ve got him home.”