Flashback: Sacked Ford car workers, roadside attack and a vote of ‘no confidence’
PUBLISHED: 12:00 01 January 2017
A look back at the biggest local stories from this day 20, 40 and 60 years ago.
Hundreds of sacked Ford car workers and lorry drivers would have swelled the first post-war dole queues in Dagenham, Romford and neighbouring towns, as a result of too few vacancies for local people.
Alarmed by the “deteriorating position”, the Romford and District Employment Committee appealed to the Minister of Labour to open a branch employment exchange in Harold Hill.
Similarly, MP John Parker and members of local organisations were going to meet at the Civic Centre to elect a deputation to make representations to the government on the town’s plight.
Sackings of the first Briggs workers at Dagenham, including 200 women, began with an additional 16,000 Dagenham car workers short-time.
A teenage girl was brutally raped only yards from a busy road in Havering-atte-Bower.
The girl’s screams for help went unheard as office workers made their way home through rain and slush.
And Collier Row detectives made an urgent appeal to anyone who may have been in the area at the time to come forward.
The girl’s ordeal began shortly after 6pm when, on her way home from work, she was walking up Havering Road towards a bus stop.
She was holding her umbrella against the wind and rain as she reached the junction of Havering Road and St John’s Road. Suddenly, a man grabbed her and pulled her into a clump of bushes about 10 yards from the road.
He pushed her to the ground, ripped her clothes and raped her.
She screamed for help but no one appeared to have heard. Then he left her to stagger home for help.
Detectives were particularly anxious to trace a cyclist who could have proven to be a vital witness.
A shock vote of “no confidence” was passed on Havering Council’s Labour group leader Cllr Arthur Latham.
It could have led to a new challenge to Cllr Latham, though he was confident of seeing it off.
Rank and file members in Hornchurch voted 12 to three in favour of the motion at the monthly general committee meeting.
It followed discussion of the effect on the party of the publicity surrounding the trial of Liberal Democrat activist Terry Hurlstone.
He was convicted of assaulting Cllr Latham during an argument over his friendship with Mr Hurlstone’s estranged wife Cllr Caroline Warren.
The Hornchurch motion had been sent to the Labour group at Havering Town Hall for consideration.
At the group’s annual meeting in May 1995, Cllr Latham had been challenged for the leadership for the first time, but triumphed.
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