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Nostalgia: Havering in history from March 15 - 20, 40 and 60 years ago

PUBLISHED: 09:00 15 March 2013

The Recorder front page - week 11, 1953

The Recorder front page - week 11, 1953

Archant

This week in history from 1953, 1973 and 1993.

Havering Recorder front page - week 11, 1973Havering Recorder front page - week 11, 1973

1953

A 28-year-old Harold Hill man was jailed for a year after throwing a coat over a railway watchman’s head.

The charge was assault with intent to resist arrest.

The oil gas maker, of Leyburn Crescent, along with his 28-year-old accomplice, of Holloway, was also sentenced to a nine-month prison term for being in a railway maintenance depot with intent to steal.

Romford Recorder front page - week 11, 1993Romford Recorder front page - week 11, 1993

A court heard how the two men had been discovered in the Holloway depot by night watchman Alfred Taylor. The Holloway man had fled, but the Harold Hill man had thrown a coat over Mr Taylor’s head.

Mr Taylor “slumped to the floor pretending he was unconscious” and the Harold Hill man retrieved the coat and ran off.

Both defendants had been on the night shift at the Railway Executive gas works at the time of the offence. They pleaded not guilty.

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Young Rainham mother Doris Botham acted quickly and courageously to save her son’s life.

Mrs Botham, 28, dived into a cesspool after hearing a splash and seeing the six-year-old boy’s school cap floating on the surface.

She grabbed her son, wedged herself into a corner of the pool and waited 25 minutes for help to arrive.

Mrs Botham, who had been fully clothed when she dived into the pool, was being treated for shock at Oldchurch Hospital, but her son was said to be “fully recovered from his distressing experience”.

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Stealing two items of post earned a Harold Hill postman four months in prison.

Their suspicions had been aroused after some postal wrappers were found behind a locker at the post office.

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1973

Nine-year-old Peter French could have died after his elderly neighbour gave him a live grenade – because she thought it would make an “ideal toy for a youngster”.

The woman had been using the grenade as a doorstop for years, not realising it still contained its detonator.

Peter’s concerned dad James took his son’s new toy to the local Army Careers office in South Street, Romford – where it was prized open and discovered to contain the intact detonator, although the explosive had been removed.

Staff Sgt Vic Zimmer said the heat of Peter’s hands alone could have been enough to set off the grenade.

Disappointed to be deprived of the lethal weapon, young Peter was given a gas mask as a consolation present – and was said to be “delighted”.

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A trio of three-storey shops on the corner of Essex Gardens, Hornchurch, had caused uproar among residents.

Plans for the shopping parade had been passed by Havering Council despite local fears they would “overshadow houses and cause serious traffic congestion”.

Just 12 months previously 3,000 signatures had been collected opposing a supermarket on the same site – and the plans had been turned down.

Now the site’s neighbours said they were “up in arms” about the decision to pass the latest application.

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A savvy group of guides and scouts was ready to build its new headquarters – and beat VAT.

Concerned the price of building materials would go up when the tax was introduced in April 1973, the 3rd Gidea Park St Michael Scouts and Guides had raised the cash to build their new home and purchased all the materials with just weeks to spare.

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1993

Perry and Jane Hales, a young married couple from Harold Wood, were tragically killed when their car was hit by a pick-up truck on the A12.

The 28-year-olds had been on their way to an evening service at Romford’s Evangelical Church, in Brentwood Road, when the truck was said by police to have crossed a central reservation and ploughed into them.

Mr and Mrs Hale, a tennis coach and a beauty therapist, had been dedicated churchgoers and youth workers, setting up a club – Rusties – to help keep youngsters off the streets.

Rev Peter Baker described their deaths as a “momentous tragedy for the community”.

Now the church’s congregation had acted quickly to set up a memorial fund to keep their work going.

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A fire that caused £60,000 worth of damage at an Upminster riding school was thought to be the work of arsonists.

Luckily, none of the horses kept at the 127-acre Lilliputs Equestrian Centre, in Wingletye Lane, were hurt.

But bales of hay that had been due to last the stables until October were all destroyed.

It was the second such attack in a decade – a similar blaze nine years previously had cost £70,000.

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Callous thieves who ransacked a bedridden pensioner’s home could have caused a deadly explosion.

The crooks broke open a gas meter, causing gas to leak out near a convector heater they had strewn with clothes.

Police investigating the scene where the poor 95-year-old had been forced to watch her own home raided said the leak could easily have led to an explosion that would have destroyed the complex in Queen Street, Romford.


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