Nostalgia: Havering in history on November 22, 1953, 1973 and 1993

PUBLISHED: 18:45 22 November 2013

The Recorder, November 20, 1953

The Recorder, November 20, 1953


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

Sixty years ago – 1953

An 11-year-old boy took a kitten from behind a wall and gave it to a greyhound, which savaged it so badly it had to be put down.

The boy denied causing the animal unnecessary suffering, saying the dog had bitten him and that the kitten had leapt out of his arms while he was stroking it.

Prosecuting for the RSPCA, Gordon Jones said there had been an increase in cases of juvenile cruelty to animals – possibly caused by the widespread showing of pictures of violence, as well as a “lack of parental control” and a “failure of state education”.

The Montgomery Crescent boy was found guilty despite his protestations of innocence, and was to be sentenced once a report on his health and home life had been prepared.


After being fined for selling herbal medicine he claimed could cure rheumatism, fibrosis and stomach disorders, a Romford Market stall holder told magistrates the law was “stupid”.

Frederick Merrell, of Westbury Road, Southend, found himself before the court because it was an offence to sell medicines from any premises other than a shop.

“If it were concreted to the ground it would be legal,” the Recorder explained.

Chairman Mr J. W. Matthews told Merrell: “We must carry out the law whether it is right or wrong.”


The Recorder branded the perpetrators of an attempted burglary at Romford’s income tax office “optimists”.

The crooks broke into the North Street office by forcing a door at the back of the building.

“After disturbing papers, they left the office in disorder but stole nothing,” noted the Recorder, drily.


Forty years ago – 1973

Sixty pupils at a new comprehensive school in Harold Hill staged a protest against alleged “snobbery” from teachers – by blocking a footbridge.

Harold Hill Grammar School and Broxhill Secondary School had been merged into Bedfords Park School. The two sites were linked by a footbridge.

But former Broxhill students said the former grammar school teachers had “got it in” for them. “Some staff there told us to get back to our own side and not to come over again,” said one boy.

The headteacher, Robert Bracken, said he “deplored” the pupils’ behaviour, adding they had “no reason” to enter the upper school.


An 86-year-old woman melted the hearts of union bosses and persuaded them to go to work out of hours to restore power to 4,000 Havering homes.

The pensioner, whose name was not known, had appealed to the Electrical Power Engineers’ Association, which had banned its members from working outside contracted hours, to fix a fault at one of Romford’s substations.

Power had gone out at 5pm and ordinarily repair work would have been put off until the following morning.

But a union spokesman said members were “responsible people” who would not want to put lives in danger, so power was restored five hours after the blackout across the borough.


Gents’ barber John Wyndham, of Collier Row Lane, Collier Row, had come top in a national competition – for styling women’s hair.

John, 27, bagged the award at the National Hairdressers’ Federation Competition in Swindon. It followed a string of awards throughout the year for unisex hairdressing.


Twenty years ago – 1993

Romford Market was under threat – from the Queen.

The government’s wide-ranging Deregulation Bill, newly announced in the Queen’s speech, was aimed at removing “unnecessary bureaucracy”.

A consequence was that the market’s Royal Charter, imposed 750 years earlier, might finally be swept away, according to Romford MP Michael Neubert.

The 1247 charter, signed off by Henry III, gave Romford Market a right of veto over other markets being set up within six miles of the town centre.

Mr Neubert predicted the bill would have the effect of cutting out market franchises – something he said would be “very serious”.


Olympic gold medallist and then world record holder Sally Gunnell said it was “great to be back in Romford” as she switched on the town’s Christmas lights.

Sally also met five youngsters who had won a Recorder competition to see the star in person over afternoon tea in Debenham’s.

The athlete, who is from Chigwell, told the crowds that “the people of Romford have a lot to be proud of”.

Behind the scenes, senior Tory councillors had blasted the Labour administration for failing to get leaflets issued in time to be distributed for to a park-and-ride scheme on the day of the event.


An Elm Park shop assistant thwarted a vicious knife attacker by throwing a shopping basket at him as he pushed her to the floor of the Co-op store in Elm Park Avenue.

The 50-year-old woman had helped prevent the man and his accomplice from stealing any stock – although they did make off with keys.

A police officer paid tribute to her bravery but advised readers not to confront people with knives.

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