Flashback: Lightning strikes, a unique greenhouse and a generous nursery

Lightning strikes over the Heathrow area from Richmond Hill, west London, late last night.

Lightning strikes over the Heathrow area from Richmond Hill, west London, late last night. - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima

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

1958: Lightning struck a train stranded at Seven Kings Station during a violent three-hour storm, but fortunately no one was injured.

Houses in Ilford and Chadwell Heath were also struck during the deluge, as the 1.50pm Liverpool Street to Gidea Park service was hit by a high-coltage column of electricity.

The driver immediately reported the incident, which had burnt out one of the train’s motors and damaged a section of its roof.

None of the passengers were injured, and all were able to continue their journeys on a new undamaged train.


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The fire brigade were called to four separate houses in Ilford and Chadwell Heath during the three-hour storm, where struck buildings had caught alight.

1978: Geoff Poupard decided to do something useful with his old car when it failed its MOT.

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So he drove it into his front garden and began using it as a greenhouse – and, in August 1978, he was expecting his first crop of tomatoes.

“The car is in a sunny spot and the plants are doing very well,” the 56-year-old maintenance worker of Cowley Road, Ilford, told the Recorder.

“I had some green peppers growing in the car as well, but the flies got at them.

“I’m not particularly green fingered, but I like to make use of things.”

1998:A Gants Hill nursery presented a cheque for nearly £3,000 to the Cot Death Society to help buy respiration monitors for at-risk babies.

Children coloured in pictures and babies toddled round the garden during two months of sponsored events at Gosford Nursery in Beehive Lane.

Edna Usher, proprietor, said: “The sponsored walk was a bit hilarious really, it turned into an obstacle course for babies.”

The children, aged between two and five years old, sent out their parents to find sponsors while they carried out their hard work, which began in July.

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