Nostalgia: Havering in history on May 31, 1953, 1973 and 1993

The Recorder, June 5, 1953

The Recorder, June 5, 1953 - Credit: Archant

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

The Recorder, May 25, 1973

The Recorder, May 25, 1973 - Credit: Archant

Sixty years ago - 1953

Romford Recorder, Friday, May 28, 1993

Romford Recorder, Friday, May 28, 1993 - Credit: Archant

Stealing money and falsifying accounts to fund a gambling habit was the case against a 42-year-old man from Brentwood.

The man, formerly a Hornchurch resident, worked for agricultural and corn merchants J. Clayden and Son, as a cashier.

But when he left the job of his own accord, money he was supposed to have received and put in the bank was found to be missing.


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He denied the charge, but was found guilty at the Essex Quarter Session and sentenced to 18 months in jail.

A letter he had written to a Knightsbridge restaurant to explain a bounced cheque was used in evidence against him. He denied he had been spending a lot of money but accepted he had fallen on hard times.

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He also denied that gambling was the reason for his financial woes.

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Coronation reports dominated the Recorder’s front page.

One told how a beacon had been lit on top of a hill in Havering-atte-Bower as part of a chain of bonfires leading from Land’s End to John o’Groats.

Another described a coronation ball at which the Carnival Queen was crowned – an event that included a parade of mannequins wearing the latest West End fashions.

All proceeds from the ball, organised by Frances Dee of South Street, went to the Romford War Memorial Old Folks’ Club.

And a “garden of rest”, converted from a cemetery in Main Road, was opened by Mayor Ald. Mrs L. A. Irons.

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Ventriloquist Peter Brough and his doll Archie Andrews visited the Victoria Hospital to entertain more than 100 young patients and former patients.

Ford, of Dagenham, paid for the visit.

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Forty years ago - 1973

A £10m deal that would see Havering Council buy 830 houses and bungalows from private owners was given the go-ahead.

Amid uproar from the Tory and Ratepayer opposition parties – who called the move “disastrous” for reasons that were not noted – the Labour administration voted through a deal to secure more council housing by buying the homes at an average cost of £12,000 each.

The alternative – buying land and building a similar number of homes – would run up a higher cost, argued Cllr Ron Whitworth, who chaired the housing committee.

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It was “a miracle no one was killed” after a David Bowie concert at the Romford Odeon sparked teenage hysteria.

The Recorder noted how “Bowie fever almost caused a disaster” as “fanatical screaming followers” of the “flame-haired superman” clambered over each other in the balcony to get a better view.

St John Ambulance volunteers said fans were “almost pushing each other over the edge” of the balcony.

Perhaps the youngest audience member was three-year-old Lisa Martin of Edinburgh House, Gidea Park, who was there with her parents David and Sandy.

A policeman was “slightly injured” as Bowie’s car drove away, followed by “hysterical, weeping girls”, but no one else was hurt.

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Timothy Croucher, a disabled 11-year-old boy, was delighted to receive an electric wheelchair from kind-hearted Hornchurch pupils.

“I am really thrilled,” said the Southview Drive resident.

The wheelchair was paid for with 171 books of trade stamps collected by the children at Dury Falls Secondary School.

But for his disability, Timothy would have started at the school in September. Instead, he was attending a special school in Redbridge.

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Twenty years ago - 1993

There was horror in Elm Park as a haul of used needles was discovered among a pile of rubbish Havering Council had allegedly refused to clear.

Before the needles were discovered, an environmental officer from the council had inspected the site and declared that the pile didn’t pose a health hazard.

But as they prepared to clear the rubbish themselves, shocked Stephen and Lesley-Ann Conway found evidence of substance abuse near their home.

The secluded area, behind Woolworth’s, was thought to be a prime location for people injecting drugs.

In view of the discovery, the council – which did not own the land – said it would be clearing the refuse immediately.

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A Collier Row family was in shock after a council-owner motor mower went amok, demolishing a brick wall and ploughing into a car.

The bizarre chain of events happened in Gobions Avenue. Stella Wilshire was “devastated” when the mower uprooted shrubs and roses planted by her late husband. It went on to wreck a wall before hitting her grandson’s car.

Havering Council had apologised for the accident and offered to clear the mess and pay for repairs.

The mower’s driver said the machine had gone “out of control”.

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Then former Havering councillor Ron Ower – who is now back on the council representing Upminster – had been appointed editor of the Residents’ Association’s regional newsletter.

“I have made a number of changes to the format,” he said of the Cranham and Upminster RA’s bulletin, “and on occasions increased the number of pages.”

He added: “It really is an asset to the area.”

Cllr Ower, originally a councillor between 1978 and 1990, was re-elected in May 2010.

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