Flashback: A power cut, a monitor lizard and an actual dogfight

A Monitor Lizard, similar to the one that was spotted numerous times in the River Roding in 1977. Ph

A Monitor Lizard, similar to the one that was spotted numerous times in the River Roding in 1977. Photo: PA - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

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

1957: Houses across Ilford, Hainault and Barkingside had to make do without electrical power for almost an entire day when a power line was brought down by strong winds.

The power coupler came down on Romford Road just before the junction with Manford Way, at 8.47am on Thursday, but engineers were not able to get out to the site for more than five hours.

Nearby businesses were forced to shut for the day and a number of residents told the Recorder they did not leave for work as they were too concerned their power was not going to be restored.

Full service was restored to the affected areas by 11.30pm.


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1977: A bizarre reptile was causing concerns for the local ecosystem after it was spotted in the River Roding near Wanstead Park.

Residents described seeing “a vast reptile-like creature” coloured green and black at a small stretch of the Roding.

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Simon Royce, a retired postal worker who lived in Woodford Green but regularly walked his dog in Wanstead Park, had a long running hobby as a zoologist and identified the strange creature as an arabic monitor lizard, which he believed may have escaped from a private owner nearby.

This led many conservationists in the local area to express concerns for the indiginous wildlife in the neighbourhood, as monitor lizards are entirely carnivorous.

Plans were drawn up to lure the lizard out of hiding to safely return it to either its owner or London Zoo.

1997: Police called to a fight at a pub in Goodmayes were shocked to discover the combatants were not people but dogs.

Residents living near the Green Lane pub phoned the police after hearing screams and the sounds of a struggle coming from the pub’s car park at 1am on Sunday.

When two police cars made it to the scene they discovered a badly injured dog that had “clearly been in a tussle with a dog of a similar size”.

The Jack Russell, which had lost an eye in the fight and had badly scarred, bloody legs raked with claw marks, was taken to an east London animal shelter where it was restored to full health.

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