Nostalgia: Havering in history on August 19, 1953, 1973 and 1993

PUBLISHED: 13:05 19 August 2013 | UPDATED: 13:05 19 August 2013

The Recorder, August 21, 1953

The Recorder, August 21, 1953


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

Sixty years ago – 1953

A corporal serving with the Royal Corps of Signals flew 12,000 miles home from Singapore to the bedside of his dying mother in the Victoria Hospital.

But tragically George Kenneth Wardill, 35, arrived 24 hours too late – because his mother Janet had already died.

Mrs Wardill, Brooklands Road, had whispered: “My son, my son – please fetch Ken,” as she lay in bed.

But she was too ill to explain exactly where he served, which delayed the attempt to track him down.

Fruitless searches at the Air Ministry and the Admiralty were followed by enquiries at the War Office, which revealed Ken was serving in Malaya.

But by the time he had been tracked down and flown home, Mrs Wardill, 64, had died.


Two-year-old Geraldine Simmons was run over and killed – by a mobile shop.

An inquest heard the tragedy unfolded when little Geraldine, of Dorking Walk, Harold Hill, ran into the side of the vehicle as it was turning in her road.

Mobile shops could not turn while driving forward.

The coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death – and the jury added a rider that it should be made possible for vans to turn while travelling forward.


Purple-stained hands led a boy to court after he stole 2s. from a specially marked purse.

The 15-year-old, who lodged in a single room with five family members, admitted taking the coins from another tenant at his house.

Romford Juvenile Court heard dye had been sprinkled on the coins and purse by police as a result of “certain happenings”.

When the victim spotted purple marks on the boy’s hands, he checked the purse and found the money had gone.


Forty years ago – 1973

The 20-month nightmare of Hornchurch man John Farey was finally over after he was acquitted of involvement in a shooting.

He was found not guilty of plotting to make an affray, conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm and assault.

But now John, 33, of Saunton Road, was left with the task of picking up the threads of his life.

During the fight in an Ilford minicab office over which John was arrested, he narrowly escaped death when a bullet lodged in his arm – which was shielding his face.

John was left with no job and a bill for hundreds of pounds.


A young mother’s life was hit by tragedy for the second time when her two-year-old son died following a fit.

Her fiancé Stephen, after whom the tot was named, had been killed in a car crash just a month before they were due to get married.

Poor Lesley Bass, 19, was admitted to Rush Green Hospital with shock.

Lesley said: “I just can’t understand why all this has happened to me. It’s been like a nightmare.”


Havering’s bizarre policy of burning 30,000 books and 1,000 LP records each year came under fire from councillors.

The books, destroyed by libraries, were allegedly unusable and unsafe because of their “filthy condition”.

And some text books were out of date and legal restrictions prevented the sale of library books.

But Tory Cllr Bill Sibley said the books could be given to charities instead of being destroyed.

Labour councillor Ed Miller added the policy was “obviously wasteful and a nonsense”, but added pulping and recycling the books would not be financially worth it.


Twenty years ago – 1993

An elderly couple had their holiday dreams shattered when Havering Council threatened them with court action over unpaid poll tax.

Ken and Audrey Jones, of Parkway, Romford, had planned to visit their son and his grandchildren in Lancaster following a trip to the Lake District.

But the council said they owed £511 and had threatened them with a court summons after just three weeks.

Frightened, the couple – aged 68 and 70 – had paid up, and kissed their holiday goodbye.

Angry Ken said they had hit hard times following the recession and had always kept up-to-date with payments in the past.


Police were appealing for witnesses after a “lightning fast” smash-and-grab at the Royal Mail sorting office that netted £1million.

The Angel Way, Romford, depot was the site of a van raid by a masked gunman who fired into the air before clubbing a security guard over the head.

He made off with the haul in cash, stamps and postal orders in 23 canvas bags.

The depot had been due to shut after staff moved to the Crow Lane site.

But a small number of workers were still on site.


A “nationwide horse-watch group” said the theft of a Shetland pony from a Rainham stables was further evidence of an increase in equestrian crime in the region.

Tarda, an 18-month-old pony, had been taken from land off Upminster Road North. Now HorseWatch members said they would check fields, abattoirs and auctions across the country for the dark bay-coloured animal.

Her heartbroken owner Tara Elliott, 18, and mother Margaret, were “desperately upset” and appealing for information.

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