Flashback: Miracles, broken water mains and a new primary school

The Redbridge PDSA show 1996 thrilled youngsters and pets alike on this week 20 years ago.

The Redbridge PDSA show 1996 thrilled youngsters and pets alike 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.

1956: In a Newbury Park council house, a man who was told by doctors he would not live past 1950 had trained his eight children to run his house for him in the wake of a separation from his wife.

Thomas Burrus, of Mendip Road, was left in a wheelchair after doctors diagnosed him with an unknown degenerative disease. He was told he would not live more than five years.

However, with the help of his children, he had settled into a home routine that saw the doctors’ estimates fly out the window.

Middle son David, 14, even worked as a runner for a local greengrocer, and was proud to be able to bring rejected fruit and vegetables to his family’s dinner table every night.

1976: A Hainault man was left up the proverbial creek without a paddle when a broken water main went unattended for two weeks and turned his back garden into a lake.

Chris Butterly, of Tufter Road, was forced to look on, helpless, as the water in his garden continued to spread, even getting as deep as two feet in some places.

Most Read

In replace of the tidy lawn 62-year-old Chris had been maintaining, there was a small pond – a family of ducks had even moved in.

“I reported the leak over two weeks ago,” explained electrician Chris. “And absolutely nothing’s been done about it.

“I’m looking after the ducks for my daughter until she can sort out somewhere to keep them.”

The Greater London Council promised to look into the leak as a matter of urgency.

1996: Councillors finally decided upon a site for a much-needed new primary school, and spared Cricklefields Sports Ground.

At a meeting of the council’s extraordinary strategy committee, it was decided that the new school would be built on the site of the former Mayfield Sixth Form in Goodmayes Lane.

The move did not impress Labour councillor Peter Laugharne.

He said: “If we cannot have the school where it is needed because we may have to relocate some throwing events then I think that is disgusting and a tragedy.”