Nostalgia: Havering in history on June 6, 1955, 1975 and 1995

The Recorder, June 3 1955

The Recorder, June 3 1955 - Credit: Archant

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

Romford and Hornchurch Recorder, June 6 1975

Romford and Hornchurch Recorder, June 6 1975 - Credit: Archant

Sixty years ago

The election of Romford’s mayor was opposed for the first time in 18 years.

Cllr Frederick Bell, backed by the socialists, won the vote by 17 to 13, but some were not pleased he was opposed by Alderman Harold Beck, nominated by the Conservatives.

Cllr Bell said: “It is the first time that the mayor of Romford has been opposed. I don’t think a great deal of it.

Romford Recorder, June 2 1995

Romford Recorder, June 2 1995 - Credit: Archant

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“Knowing they couldn’t win, they [Conservatives] opposed me and in not a very good method.

“I can assure you the town is very proud of the Labour mayors it has had during the last three years.

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“I hope at the end of this year they will be as proud of me as of previous mayors.”

Mr Beck’s term of office as an alderman had expired and he was not re-elected.

The Recorder reported that the socialists had appropriated all five of the vacancies.

Mr Beck said: “The socialists as the majority party have decided to adopt the one-party state.

“This should serve as a warning when the extreme Left takes control.”

Conservative Cllr P. F. Broadhead said his party nominated Mr Beck as the only way to keep him on the council.


A 16-year-old girl was remanded for three weeks after allegedly stealing a swimming costume.

The girl, from Rush Green, was accused of taking the costume because she did not have one herself, although she then did not use it.

The teenager was remanded at Romford Juvenile Court so full medical and school reports could be made.


A Romford pilot was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for serving during an anti-terrorist campaign.

Lt Ronald Leonard, from the Fleet Air Army, the Royal Navy’s aviation branch, took part in a number of missions in Malaya (now Malaysia).

A citation quoted in the Recorder stated that Lt Leonard “by a masterly display of precision flying in most difficult conditions” had succeeded in air lifting out of deep jungle all the components of a crashed helicopter, which was then repaired and ready for action again


Forty years ago

Factory employees were celebrating after their firm, which had made 500 workers redundant four years before, announced a £4.5million expansion and modernisation project.

Office equipment company Roneo Vickers, in Hornchurch Road, Romford, was set to put in place a two-year rebuilding plan.

Len Willis, chairman of the shop stewards’ committee, said: “It gives people security in their jobs.”

The news was also welcomed by the Romford Department of Education.

In the same week, it was reported that the 2,300 teenagers set to leave school would face gloomy job prospects.

Gordon Malt, Havering’s principal careers officer, said: “Undoubtedly, the position will be a more difficult one than for the last few years.

“But it is hoped that the majority of young people leaving school will at least be absorbed into the employment market, although they may not get the job of their first choice.

“Over the past six months there has been a marked decline in the number of vacancies notified by employers to careers offices.”


A pet dog had to have its tail amputated after being involved in a freak accident with a boat propellor.

Little Scruffy’s tail was dragged into a propellor while he was on a motorboat with his owners on a Barking lake.

Owner Sylvia Hudson, of Billet Road, Romford, was with her son Richard, eight, a friend and her two children when the accident happened.

She said: “Suddenly Scruffy started howling from beneath the back seat. His tail had been completely dragged into a hole.

“We started shouting for help as we couldn’t stop the motor and one of the attendants came out and towed us back in.

“as soon as Scruffy was freed we rushed him to a vet. But he had to have his tail amputated, two operations and stitches in his [back] wounds.

“He is still unwell. Richard has been so badly shaken that he has had several nightmares.”

Scruffy was trapped for 10 minutes.

The incident led Barking Council to put up notices at their boating lakes stating dogs should not be allowed onto the boats.

The local authority was also studying a safety report.


Twenty years ago

A former mayor who had been the subject of a long hate campaign was lucky not to be injured when his car was firebombed.

Cllr Long, 70, who represented Hornchurch, was inside his home when the vehicle was set ablaze.

Cllr Long had been targeted at Havering Town Hall on a number of occasions, with his portrait having been removed from the gallery of mayors five times.

His wife Gill said: “We cannot think who would want to do this, but it might be related and seems to be part and parcel of being a councillor these days.”

Cllr Long, who was in the Residents’ Association, said: “It makes you feel like packing it all in. I have no idea who it could have been.

“Whoever wanted to hurt me has done it.”

The councillor suffered from asthma and had only just recovered from a long illness.

He said: “It’s not just me who has been affected by this, but all the constituents I visit and help.

“I need the car to get around because of my asthma and my age, so obviously I can’t do that any more.

“It really is devastating.”


A teacher hit the headlines after claiming The Ugly Duckling tale could be racist.

Anne Douglas, a nursery teacher at Broadford School, in Faringdon Avenue, Harold Hill, wrote a letter to the Times Education Supplement claiming schools had removed the story from their bookshelves.

She wrote: “Most schools have removed such books from their libraries in the cause of anti-racism and equal opportunity.

“Any teacher with black children in his or her class would surely think twice about using a book that clearly says creatures, and thus humans, are worthless unless they are white!”

Cllr Eric Munday hit back at the comments, saying: “It’s ridiculous. This business about racism is just going too far.

“Hopefully the average teacher in Havering uses their common sense and is above this type of thing.

“Stories such as The Ugly Duckling capture a child’s imagination. I see no harm in them at all.”

But a spokesman for Havering Council said: “We obviously respect Mrs Douglas’ views and these would be wholly supported by the council under its equal opportunities policy.

“Schools are free to choose books which accord with this policy.”

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