Flashback: An inspirational young woman, the great Northampton exodus and a family tragedy

Former Redbridge mayor Richard Hoskins helped pupils at Fairlop School plant trees on this week 20 y

Former Redbridge mayor Richard Hoskins helped pupils at Fairlop School plant trees on this week 20 years ago. - Credit: Archant

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


A former Ilford grammar school pupil, who left at the age of 15, was heralded as a fantastic inspiration for girls across the country after landing a highly-paid city job.

The daughter of a Barkingside bicycle salesman, Madge Cox admitted she “felt like a square peg in a round hole” when she was a pupil at Ilford County High, and saw no future for herself if she stayed there.

So in spite of protests from her teachers that she should complete her General Certificate of Education, she left school and spent a year learning shorthand.

At the tender age of 16, she got her first job as a junior secretary to a firm of architects and surveyors, and after six months moved to a ship brokers where, two years later, she was earning a whopping £11 10s a week.


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Hundreds of families who stood little chance of buying houses in Redbridge were offered a chance to move to new estates 60 miles away.

The Northampton Development Corporation was offering the homes in the hopes of luring Londoners to the town, with more than 70 people accepting their offer.

Single parents, pensioners and the recently unemployed were the corporation’s main target groups.


A grieving family vowed to live up to the Christian ideals of their daughter after she died in a whitewater rafting accident.

Former Ursuline pupil Jennifer Coleman, 18, of Ilford, drowned when her raft overturned on the Kali Gandaki river in Nepal.

She was a committed Christian and had dedicated much of her short life to helping those in need.

She had volunteered for Redbridge Activities and Care Together, running summer schemes for youngsters with disabilities, had helped a teenager with cerebral palsy study for their GCSEs and had also worked for the Redbridge Volunteer Bureau.

Father Paul said: “She had such generosity of spirit and zest for life.

“She contributed so much to the community.”