Nostalgia: Havering in history on July 5, 1955, 1975 and 1995

The Recorder, July 1 1955

The Recorder, July 1 1955 - Credit: Archant

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

Romford and Hornchurch Recorder, July 4 1975

Romford and Hornchurch Recorder, July 4 1975 - Credit: Archant

Sixty years ago

A teenager was thought to have been killed in an explosion at a gasworks.

Fears had grown for Peter Clark, 16, of Kettering Road, Harold Hill, who had been working with five others on a 200,000 gallon ammonia tank, which was in a deep well at the Beckton gasworks.

The Recorder reported there had been a “sudden great sheet of flame, which was immediately extinguished by blast”.

Romford Recorder, June 30 1995

Romford Recorder, June 30 1995 - Credit: Archant

Fumes spread quickly and two explosions made a crater more than 30ft wide and 15ft deep.

It was thought Peter’s body could be under one of the pieces of concrete. Four of his colleagues were injured, but not seriously.

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A society was convinced that children were damaging its crops.

Many vegetables grown by members of the Collier Row Horticultural Society had been pulled up and secretary A. G. Winner thought youngsters were the culprits.

He said: “May we ask them to keep their children from the allotments, or at least impress on them that they are destroying valuable food and discouraging people who are assisting the food production of the country?”

The new allotment site was in White Hart Lane.


A man was fined 10 shillings for riding his bicycle through the Battis footpath between South Street and Waterloo Road, Romford.

Leslie G. Harrison, a cinema projectionist, of Crichton Gardens, Romford, appeared at Romford Court.


Silverware and cutlery estimated to be worth £300 were stolen from the home of a JP.

Burglars targeted Newman Eyre, of Parkway, in Gidea Park, gaining entry through a dining room window.

Another home was also targeted. Mr Eyre was a former member of Romford Council.


Forty years ago

Five schoolboys were commended by a judge for chasing the men who robbed an owner of an antiques shop.

The youngsters saw them escape from the store, in Upminster Road, Hornchurch, with the owner shouting for help and covered in blood.

The boys chased the robbers, who had stolen £140, wrote down their car’s registration and called the police.

Two men were subsequently caught and jailed for four years after pleading guilty.

The robbers, who had carried a replica gun, were caught after a police chase.


A man was temporarily blinded in an explosion.

Alan Smith, 28, of Acacia Drive, Upminster, was injured when a tin of aluminium paint exploded in his face.

He said: “I was stumbling around and could hardly see. I managed to wash most of the paint out but still couldn’t see properly.”

An eye specialist told Mr Smith the injuries would not be permanent, but he was having treatment for the swelling and soreness.

He said: “My eye is still painful and swollen and I can’t open it properly because the skin has been burnt.

“I haven’t a clue why the paint exploded. Suddenly the tin went up with a bang, straight into my face.”


Twenty years ago

A councillor accused health chiefs of letting a hospital become “run down” after spending almost two weeks there as a patient.

Cllr Arthur Latham, the leader of Havering Council, had stayed in Oldchurch Hospital after having a blood transfusion.

He said: “The run down of Oldchurch Hospital is plain for everyone to see, unless they happen to be members of the hospital trust or the district health authority.

“Every time I receive a glossy brochure from them I shall not merely think money should be better spent.

“I shall be able to list precisely what it should have been spent on – lockers, beds, toilets and paint.

“Every kind of refurbishment is needed, even the missing sink plug.”

He added: “Accident and Emergency is currently examining and interviewing patients two in a cubicle.

“Staff morale is in one sense understandably low, but, in terms of dedication to patient care, none of them can be faulted.

“The worst symptom seems to be that of administrative mayhem.”

The chief executive of the hospital, Stephen Eames, said: “Oldchurch Hospital is at the heart of our plans for the future.

“We are totally committed to providing a range of healthcare services from this site.

“Mr Latham thanked our staff for the excellent care received while in hospital. We wish him continued good health.”


Angry pensioners were calling for their licence fee to be reduced after discovering other elderly people nearby were paying just £5.

Residents in Eagle Close felt it was unfair that pensioners on one site, which had a resident warden, paid £5, and those on two other sites, served by the same warden, paid £87.

The pensioners believed the housing association, Hanover Housing, was not doing enough to help them.

A spokesman for the association said they had made representations to the TV Licensing Authority.


Two children were mugged for £10 by teenagers who claimed to have knives in their possession.

The youngsters, 12 and 13, were targeted in Woolworths, in High Street, Romford.

The children had earlier been intimidated by the gang in South Street.