Flashback: An ingenious 10-year-old, a pool hall protest and a chip shop fire

GVs of Ilford Town Centre.

GVs of Ilford Town Centre. - Credit: Archant

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

1957: Ten-year-old Katherine Smith, of Woodville Gardens, Ilford, was the talk of the town after using an ingenious method to save the life of a baby field mouse.

The clever girl used a baby doll’s mock feeding bottle and a furry glove to nurse the poor young animal back to full health after it was abandoned by its mother.

“I named it Furry after my glove,” she told the Recorder. “When I went to school mummy would feed it every half hour until I got home, then I would take over.”

Young Furry didn’t take long to settle in, and was soon playfully running up and down Katherine’s arm every day.


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The young girl said: “I’m going to try to bring it up to be a nice, good mouse.”

1977: A mother-of-two launched a petition against the opening of an American pool hall on Ilford High Road because she believed it would attract “undesirables” to the area.

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Gloria Birch argued the number of nightclubs in the area already attracted thugs to the area and made the place unsafe for children.

The Longwood Road resident said: “It is terrible living off the High Road. A pool hall would just be too much to bear.

“Yobs have already knocked at my door late and night and I feel the area is dangerous for youngsters. I am sure the pool hall would attract trouble.”

The potential owners of the new hall assured residents the venue would be closed by 10pm each night and would not open on Sundays.

1997: Firefighters saved two men from a burning house while another leaped from a window after a fire broke out in the early hours of the morning.

The blaze at the property in Tavistock Gardens, Ilford, began as the occupants slept at around 2am, shattering windows and sending thick black smoke billowing across the road.

One man, fearing for his life, jumped from a rear first floor window and suffered cuts and bruises, but two housemates had to be rescued by firefighters in breathing apparatus after becoming trapped.

Everyone escaped unharmed from the fire, which was believed to have started in the fish and chip shop beneath the flat.

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