Flashback: A miracle baby, foul play at a football stadium and Barnado’s bulldozed

Ilford FC played at Lynn Road until 1977.

Ilford FC played at Lynn Road until 1977. - Credit: Archant

A look back at the biggest local stories from this week 20, 40 and 60 years ago.

1957: A mother was celebrating the birth of a miracle baby doctors had told her she would never have.

Doctors at six different hospitals all told Dorothy Spalding, of Knights Way. Barkingside, she would never have a baby, so she was delighted to learn that, after 17 years of marriage, she was finally with child.

Mrs Spalding and her husband Harry had been told in 1941, a year after they were married, that she was infertile.

“Sorry, but you will never be a mother,” she said the doctors told her.

But finally, 16 years later, a miracle occured on November 17 at Ilford Maternity Hospital when Dorothy gave birth to a 10-week premature baby boy weighing just 2lb 15oz.

Happily, though baby Neill was kept at hospital for two months, he made his way to a healthy 8lb 15oz and was allowed to go home with his parents.

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1977: A Tory politician attacked the Greater London Council for using what she called “foul tactics” to purchase Ilford Football Club’s home ground to build housing.

Private developers insisted they had already signed an agreement to purchase the Lynn Road site to build flats.

But County Hall men were attempting to hijack the deal by implementing a compulsory purchase order (CPO).

Marion Roe, a GLC candidate for Ilford North, said: “By waiting for a developer and then moving in they save themselves the trouble of seeking out vacant land.”

Ilford FC were hoping to a ground at Fairlop at the end of the season.

1997: Families facing eviction from their homes on Barnardo’s land in Barkingisde joined local historians in condemning the latest move to turn the borough into “a mass of concrete”.

Just a year after half the charity’s land at the Tanner’s Lane site was sold off by Redbridge Council to make way for a Tesco superstore, plans were now being drawn up to bulldoze a further 6.2 acres.

“This site is one of the first experiments in house-mother care for orphaned boys and should act as a memorial for Dr Barnardo’s work,” said Peter Wright of the Ilford Historical Society.