Flashback: Polio vaccines, illegal discotheques and a poignant graduation ceremony

A feared polio vaccine shortage never became a reality in Ilford in 1957.
Photo: Wellcome Library,

A feared polio vaccine shortage never became a reality in Ilford in 1957. Photo: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images - Credit: Archant

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

1957: Ilford’s healthcare experts were delighted to announce the borough had received enough polio vaccine to protect every vulnerable child for the next 12 months.

Ilford’s public health department had prompted a slight panic in April when it had claimed that a blockage in the national production of the vaccine meant not all of the 6,000 at risk children could be protected.

But that pressure had eased and parents across the borough were told every single child would be vaccinated in the coming months.

1977: Discotheques being set up in private houses in Redbridge and operated by professionals earning thousands of pounds were causing a headache for authorities.


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There were even reports of the organisers paying neighbours to move out for the weekend in order to turn the empty homes into mini night clubs, complete with cash bars and dancefloors.

Redbridge Council’s environmental health department revealed they had found evidence that tickets for these private discos were being sold on high streets up and down the borough.

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Tom Boyd-Meaney, deputy chief environmental health officer for the council, said: “This is a phenomena recently arrived in Redbridge. It has already been known in some inner London boroughs.”

1997: The proud parents of a gifted Ilford student collected her first class degree, just six months after she tragically died of meningitis.

Julie Jameson, of Gordon Road, was in the third year of her physiology degree at King’s College, London, when in January 1997 she was struck down by the killer brain disease.

The 20-year-old had already earned the accolade of being one of the university’s most talented students, and in both her earlier years at King’s had scooped academic prizes for her work.

Julie’s mother Val, 45, collected the degree on behalf of her daughter at a ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall in London.

She said: “I’m extremely proud but also so very sad.

“After Julie’s death I printed up all the work she had saved on her computer and sent it to King’s to be marked.

“Getting her results and collecting her degree has been really emotional.”

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