Flashback: Goodbye to milk round horses, a Christmas miracle and the South Woodford cinema

The Odeon in South Woodford High Road - formerly ABC Cinema Sourth Woodford. Photo: Google Maps.

The Odeon in South Woodford High Road - formerly ABC Cinema Sourth Woodford. Photo: Google Maps. - Credit: Archant

1956: The milkmen of Hainault and Barkingside bid farewell to their horses for the final time, as the last 11 horses were retired to be replaced by electric vans.

After more than 100 years, they were the final horses from a force that once numbered more than 800 across the capital.

Despite the concerns of the 3,400 or so housewives who were served their milk each day by horse-drawn cart, none of the retired horses were slaughtered.

Alfred Hawkins, owner of the stable in Manor Park, said: “We’ve found good homes for all of them. Most are going to farms in Cambridgeshire and elsewhere, and the rest will only be doing light work.”

1976: One family were celebrating a Christmas miracle after a baby was delivered under the Christmas tree in their living room.


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Christine Nathan’s labour came upon her so suddenly she had no chance of getting to the hospital, and her husband was forced to deliver little baby Richard with the help of two paramedics who only arrived as the ordeal was coming to an end.

Christine, of Thorold Road, Ilford, already had one son, 18-month old Matthew. She said: “It’s like having our own little Christmas miracle.

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And proud father Ron was also full of festive spirit.

“It all happened so quickly, I’m still reeling.

“The baby was supposed to come last week. We had to put the Christmas tree up early because Christine wanted to decorate it!”

1996: Sainsbury’s promised nothing would be done to the beloved South Woodford cinema without residents’ views being taken into account.

More than 12,000 people had signed a petition entitled “Save Our Cinema” since its lease ran out a week earlier.

People were concerned plans to expand the superstore’s George Lane branch could see the cinema on High Road demolished.

But a spokesman for the supermarket said: “We would like to reassure people that the South Woodford ABC cinema will remain open for the forseeable future.

“The local community will be kept fully informed of any developments relating to the matter.”

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