Nostalgia: Havering in history on July 25, 1955, 1975 and 1995
- Credit: Archant
This week in history – 60, 40 and 20 years ago.
Sixty years ago
Police officers were called to clear the public gallery at Romford Town Hall after angry residents launched a protest.
The Mayor of Havering, Alderman F C Bell, adjourned the meeting and ordered the gallery to be cleared after smallholders of Lodge Lane, Collier Row, made their outburst at plans to acquire some of their land for housing.
They shouted: “You have forgotten two of the Commandments – thou shalt not steal and thou shalt not covet.”
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After the first disturbance, the mayor interjected, saying, “Will you sit down, please? I give you warning that if there is any more disturbance I will have the public gallery cleared.”
But a man then replied: “That doesn’t worry me, boy! You shouldn’t steal, never mind anything else.”
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Tensions ran so high during the general election that a politician allegedly drove his car at a trade union official.
Conservative John Bishop was fined at Romford Court after a road accident between himself and socialist Arthur Fazey.
The court heard Mr Fazey, of Kensington Road, Thorpe Bay, parked his official poll car close to the front of Mr Bishop’s car near a polling station in Westland Avenue, Hornchurch.
When Mr Bishop, of Wingletye Lane, began to drive out, Mr Fazey helped him to get out of the space and then returned to the conversation he was having.
But the court heard Mr Bishop swung back and drove straight at Mr Fazey, who could not get out of the way and was rolled along between the cars.
He escaped with a grazed wrist and arm.
Mr Bishop allegedly told a police officer: “There was no accident. I didn’t hit a car.
“I went close to it because of a car pulling out behind a loudspeaker van that was parked on the other side of the road.”
Mr Bishop was fined £10 and ordered to pay £1 and 10 shillings costs for dangerous driving, failing to stop after an accident and failing to report an accident.
Forty years ago
Two of Havering’s MPs announced emergency measures to tackle the jobs crisis facing young people.
School leavers were without any immediate prospects of work and it was feared the number of them without jobs would soar once the next wave of leavers came.
Romford MP Michael Neubert and Hornchurch MP Alan Williams were set to call for a special borough conference, round table discussions between employers, councillors and officials in the youth service, cash boosts from the government and a scheme to provide a programme of community work for youngsters on benefits.
The borough’s principal careers officer, Gordon Malt, described the situation as the worst he had ever encountered.
An urgent inquiry on staircase handrails was being carried out after a six-year-old girl was seriously injured when she fell from a landing.
June Allison fell over rails in her flat in Heaton Avenue, Harold Hill, leading to an investigation being opened by Havering Council.
Safety campaigner Dick Philips alleged handrails and balustrades in the building were up to two inches too short and claimed a similar problem existed in the nearby Bards Court flats for pensioners. Mr Phillips, of Straight Road, Harold Hill, said: “There could be 10,000 handrails in council flats throughout Havering that do not comply with building regulations.
“These are laid down for safety, but people could topple over these railings and many of the flats are occupied by elderly and infirm residents or children.”
Twenty years ago
A seven-year-old boy just given the all-clear from cancer was devastated after his birthday bike was stolen.
Christopher Fyffe’s BMX was taken from the grounds of his school after he had left it there for less than an hour while he enjoyed his birthday party.
Medics had feared Christopher would not reach his birthday.
His angry mum Sue, 35, of Moray Way, Rise Park, said: “I was wild when I realised it was gone and I still am.
“How anyone could do this to a little boy on his birthday is beyond belief and totally sickening.
“When the thieves read this, if nothing else, I hope it pricks their conscience.
“The bikes were tucked away on school grounds, so they were not easily accessible.
“They just went for the BMX and left Robert’s new mountain bike behind.”
Christopher had been given the all-clear from Wilms’ tumour after three years in remission.
He said: “I am very sad. A friend has let me borrow his old bike, but I would love to have mine back.”
A campaigner for pensioners claimed two women were living in “Victorian squalor” and others were struggling on small incomes.
Tony Fuller, director of Havering Age Concern, said: “Lots are on income support, a level under which people should not live. “There are two old ladies living in Havering who have no money, rented accommodation surrounded by derelict buildings, with no money to move, no benefit, virtually living in Victorian squalor.
“The disposable income of pensioners is just not keeping up with the cost of living.”