Nostalgia: Havering in history on May 30, 1955, 1975 and 1995

The Recorder, May 27 1955

The Recorder, May 27 1955 - Credit: Archant

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

Romford and Hornchurch Recorder, May 30 1975

Romford and Hornchurch Recorder, May 30 1975 - Credit: Archant

Sixty years ago

A driver whose car overturned four times, killing his passenger, was told he should have taken more care.

A jury at the inquest of Frederick Stratford, 43, heard William Chaplin’s car had a problem with its steering, which he had noticed a week before the crash in Eastern Avenue West, Romford.

Mr Chaplin, of Gooshays Drive, Harold Hill, said he realised the steering wandered sometimes, especially at speed.

Romford Recorder, May 26 1995

Romford Recorder, May 26 1995 - Credit: Archant

Cyril Grandfield, a witness to the crash, said he heard the whine of an engine and saw a car travelling towards him at approximately 60mph.

He said: “I saw its front offside wheel hit the centre grass verge.

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“It went straight on down the middle of the road and after that the driver appeared to lose control.

“I think he put his brakes on and that took the car in a 50 degrees turn towards the nearside kerb.

“It was still going fast and hit the kerb, bounced 10 to 12 feet in the air, rolled over four times and came to rest on its side.”

Another witness found Mr Stratford’s body near the car and Mr Chaplin in the wreckage.

The jury at the inquest gave a verdict of accidental death.


A postman was jailed for a year for stealing letters.

The 28-year-old had pleaded guilty at the Essex Quarter to taking two letters in Romford and Dagenham.

He asked for 13 other cases to be taken into consideration.


An emaciated terrier was found close to death in a gutter, suffering from cancerous tumours and so weak it could hardly move.

This sad tale was heard at Romford Court, where the dog’s owner was fined for causing unnecessary suffering.

The 43-year-old, of Judith Avenue, Collier Row, had pleaded guilty.

Gordon Jones, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, said: “The dog didn’t seem to have had any reasonable attention for a long time.”

He claimed the defendant had said in an interview: “It has been ill some time. I didn’t want to have it killed because my late brother was fond of it.

“The dog has not fed in my house for about 10 days.”

Speaking to the court, the defendant said: “I tried to keep the dog in, but it had just run wild.”

But chairman A. C. Salinger said: “You were the owner. It was up to you to look after the dog.

“If you have no interest in dogs or pets you should not keep them.”

The defendant was fined £2, with costs of £5, five shillings.


Forty years ago

A young father died after being electrocuted while working on 25,000 volt overhead cables.

Michael Reynolds, 25, of Daventry Road, Harold Hill, was working in sidings near Seven Kings station, Redbridge, when the freak accident happened.

Doctors battled to save his life with cardiac massage, but he died in hospital.

Mr Reynolds’ wife Patricia spoke of how the police knocked on her door at 2am that morning.

She said: “It was a shock, but even then I did not think it was very serious.

“When I arrived at the hospital I was horrified to find he was dead.

“We have been married five years and he was a good husband. We are all going to miss him so much.”

Mr Reynolds also left behind children Julie, three, Claire, 16 months, and Michael, nine weeks.


A teenager who dreamed of becoming a horse rider was killed in a car crash.

Lynn Harvey, 19, of Rainsford Way, Hornchurch, died after a car she was passenger in collided with another at the Moby Dick roundabout, Chadwell Heath.

The part-time barmaid had won a number of riding competitions.

Her mother Edith said: “Lynn just lived for horses.

“I can’t believe it. She was a beautiful girl.”


Police were sent to round up two stray horses.

Officers were put on the trail of two horses who had been wandering in Eyhurst Avenue, Elm Park, after 10 people complained.

The animals were found and taken to Hornchurch police station, where their owner came to collect them and return them to the Chase, in Upper Rainham Road, Elm Park.


Twenty years ago

A Cub leader was devastated after her group’s new minibus, which had been bought with four years of fundraising money, was stolen.

Margaret Oliver’s Cub pack in South Hornchurch had raised £4,500 for the vehicle, which had been purchased just hours before.

It was so new it had not been insured.

Mrs Oliver said: “Whoever stole it is as low as you can get. I feel angry, sick and devastated that we have spent four years of hard work, time and effort raising the money to buy it and now we have nothing to show for it.”

The vehicle was stolen from outside the home of assistant leader Ray Clark, in Blacksmith’s Lane, Rainham.

He said: “A mountain of effort had been put in over the years, such as handmade bits being made for our jumble sales – that’s what really hurts.”

Mrs Oliver added: “We were going to insure it first thing on Saturday morning – we didn’t dream anybody would steal it overnight.”


A PE teacher was set to take part in TV show Gladiators.

Mel Cambridge, 27, who worked at Frances Bardsley School, in Heath Park Drive, Gidea Park, was selected out of thousands of people.

She said: “I really only entered as a joke. But when I found I had been selected I was over the moon.

“Only 16 people were chosen out of the 22,000 who applied.”

Mel, who said she “rarely” sat down and enjoyed playing sport, was set to raffle off 250 tickets at the school to raise money for the gym roof.

She said: “I’m just hoping I don’t let down all the girls at school and blow out on the first round.

“The girls are all fascinated. I hope I can be a positive role model to them.”