Nostalgia: Havering in history on July 26, 1953, 1973 and 1993

PUBLISHED: 15:10 26 July 2013 | UPDATED: 15:10 26 July 2013

The Recorder, July 31, 1953

The Recorder, July 31, 1953


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

Sixty years ago - 1953

Four hundred private houses would be built in Rise Park after Romford Council failed to secure a compulsory purchase order for the land.

It meant the council wouldn’t be able to build council houses as it hoped. Instead, the homes built would be for private buyers, costing between £2,000 and £2,350.

Objections came from the people who owned the land and had already planned to build on it.

The borough surveyor Hugh Hird conceded that private developers Messrs Jackson would be able to complete a development faster than the council, but the deputy town clerk Mr J. E. Symons said there was “no doubt” that council houses were more needed than private houses for sale.

The houses that would now be built were expected to constitute the London area’s largest post-war development.


Princess Margaret, then 22, was to visit the International St John Cadet Camp at Stubbers in North Ockendon.

After having lunch with the Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Sir Francis Whitmore, the Princess would meet the commissioner-in-chief of the St John Ambulance Brigade. They would then inspect the cadets and hand out awards – from a Land Rover.

Details of her return route were also published, with the Recorder noting: “Council members and officials will stand at the White Hart, Hornchurch, though it is unlikely that the Princess will stop.”


A man sustained head injuries when youths threw stones at a commuter train.

It happened on Romford-bound service that had just left Ilford. A pair of boys standing on the embankment smashed windows, leaving a passenger with cuts.

The incident was described to the Recorder by Barnstaple Road, Harold Hill, resident Frederick Peach.


Forty years ago - 1973

A Hornchurch steel erector told the Old Bailey how he was shot and had ammonia squirted in his face during an alleged battle at a mini-cab office.

The Saunton Road resident and 10 other people denied being involved in causing an affray.

They were accused of taking part in a battle at the offices between two warring groups.

The man had been in a low settee when shots broke out in the office, in Ilford High Road. He used an ashtray stand to help himself up and “had no intention of attacking anybody with it,” he said.

He sought refuge in a “hole” in the back yard, before realising he’d been shot in the arm.

And while in the hole, someone squirted ammonia in his face, and it got into his right eye, he alleged.

The trial was to continue.


An Upminster bakery went up in flames.

Night baker Ron Triffs had been working in the Station Road bakery when the fire broke out. He burnt his ankle trying to douse the blaze.

Mr Triffs, of Plumpton Avenue, was taken to Harold Wood Hospital.

The fire damaged the ground floor of the bakery, but was brought under control by firemen and didn’t spread.


Romford’s Labour party was calling for London Transport to axe its one-man buses.

The party claimed buses with no conductors caused traffic jams as passengers queued up to pay their fares, and meant they couldn’t stick to a proper timetable.

But Cllr John Riley, secretary of Oldchurch Ward, said there was little hope of London transport phasing out the one-man buses any time soon because “their buses seem to last for ages”.


Twenty years ago - 1993

An armed siege ended in tragedy when a man was found dead with gunshot wounds.

The drama began in quiet Padnall Road on the Marks Gate Estate, Romford.

A householder heard a shot ring out, and seconds later his neighbour Sheila Spur knocked on the door and asked him to call the police.

Then, the neighbour said, another shot was heard.

Mrs Spur was taken away “in a distressed state” as police, some armed with automatic weapons, surrounded the house, sealing off the road at both ends.

They asked Romford ambulance station’s operations manager, Alan Shaw, to go into the house.

Sadly, Sheila’s husband Dick was found dead inside.


A 67-year-old pedestrian was thrown through a windscreen into a car during a road crash.

Joyce Mayhew suffered multiple cuts to her arms, head and body. Her daughter and a passing off-duty nurse tended to her until paramedics arrived at the Petersfield Avenue scene.

The car, a Ford Fiesta, was being driven by 18-year-old Richard Evans, of Kingsbridge Circus, Harold Hill.

Mrs Mayhew was taken to Harold Wood Hospital for treatment, and later discharged. Mr Evans and his young family, who had been in the back seat, were shocked but unhurt.


The future of Romford’s brewery site was to be the subject of a public consultation.

Havering Council was to draw up a planning brief to give developers – letting them know what the public wanted for the area.

A council spokesman said it was a “major opportunity” that could “reshape and revitalise Romford town centre” – even though it was conceded the brewery’s closure was a setback for employment.

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