Nostalgia: Havering in history on January 23, 1955, 1975 and 1995

The Recorder, January 21, 1955

The Recorder, January 21, 1955 - Credit: Archant

This week in history – 60, 40 and 20 years ago.

Romford and Hornchurch Recorder, January 24, 1975

Romford and Hornchurch Recorder, January 24, 1975 - Credit: Archant

Sixty years ago

The son of Sir Alexander Fleming announced his engagement to a colleague he met at work.

Dr Robert Fleming was set to wed radiographer Kathleen O’Sullivan, who he met at Harold Wood Hospital.

He had joined the hospital a year before after qualifying at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, where his father, who made the famous discovery of penicillin, was professor of bacteriology.

Romford Recorder, January 20, 1995

Romford Recorder, January 20, 1995 - Credit: Archant

Miss O’Sullivan had worked at Harold Wood for four years. Her grandfathers and two uncles had been doctors and she had two sisters who were nurses.


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A power cut left part of Hornchurch without lights for 45 minutes.

Some residents sat in rooms lit by oil lamps, while those outside had to make their way in the darkness.

Pupils attending night classes at Suttons School were sent home, but the Hornchurch Ratepaters’ Association continued its meeting, with the only light coming from cycle lamps.

Members of the Suttons Drama Group waited for the power to be turned back on and the electricity failed three times at Hornchurch station.

The town centre was not affected.


A 57-year-old man died after collapsing.

Jeweller’s manager Laurence Preston, of Mildmay Road, Romford, fell ill in a shop near his home while on his way to work.

He was taken to Oldchurch Hospital, where he died later that day.


Rents on council houses on an estate were set to be increased.

Romford Council agreed to push up the payments at Bellhouse Farm estate by between six pennies and one shilling six pennies a week, depending on the house size.

Cllr L. F. P. Eley, chairman of the housing management committee, said the repairs allowance for homes had to be increased by 25 per cent, as work needed to be undertaken on them.

The rents of these properties were not as high as those on other estates and, during the last 20 years, a deficiency of more than £9,000 had accumulated for repair work.


Forty years ago

Police were investigating the activities of a schoolboy gang which was believed to have been responsible for most of the car thefts in Havering over the previous months.

Officers said the boys, aged between 14 and 16, were from Collier Row, with many from the same school.

The value of the cars and missing property was thought to have exceeded £50,000.

Police expected to complete their investigations the following week and a spokesman said between 30 and 40 boys would be charged.


A nine-year-old boy who was injured in a car crash which killed his mother was given a surprise in hospital.

Ian Daniels, of Cardinal Way, Rainham, was presented with his uniform for the Romford Drum and Trumpet Corps by bandmaster Dick Bouchard.

He was travelling back with his parents from his first meeting when their car was involved in a horrific collision.

Ian and his father Christopher were both being treated at Oldchurch Hospital.

Mr Daniels said: “This is Ian’s proudest day. He wanted to be in the band for months and looks great in the uniform.

“Everyone has been marvellous to us and Ian has become quite a favourite here.”


A caretaker was left unconscious and bleeding heavily after being attacked by thugs.

William Tucker, 54, was set upon by three youths who became abusive as he cleared up after a party at the Cranham Social Centre.

A spokesman for Havering Council said: “They started beating him up badly. They left him with several cracked ribs and at first it was feared he had suffered brain damage, although we now know this is not so.

“Mr Tucker is badly bruised and cut and is being looked after in Harold Wood Hospital.

“He has a nasty black eye and is still suffering from shock.”

Mr Tucker, who had been caretaker at the centre for almost 10 years, was in a condition described as “quite satisfactory”.


Twenty years ago

Wild deer in a park were being killed by poachers for sale on the black market.

Dozens of the animals in Dagnam Park, Harold Hill, were being targeted by the groups.

Remains discovered by a woman walking her dog included two heads of young deer and a decomposed skull.

Cllr Del Smith called the killings “horrific” and “absolutely grisly”.

He added: “The poachers must pose a threat to the public whether they are using a gun or crossbow to shoot the deer.

“I urge people not to approach them as it would be extremely dangerous.”


The Queen Mother backed residents who were trying to purchase the original RAF Hornchurch Officers’ Mess.

In a letter to the RAF Hornchurch Association, she said she hoped the building, in Astra Close, Elm Park, could be saved and used as a museum and educational centre.

Her husband King George VI had paid a visit in June 1940 to present gallantry medals.

Letters had also been received from RAF officers and MPs Robin Squire, who represented Hornchurch, and Sir Michael Neubert, who represented Romford.

The building was valued at £300,000.