Shoplifter shock

Children caught shoplifting in Watford stores will be reported to police on the spot. No exceptions will be made. The warning was issued by Watford Stores Anti-Theft Group this week. Clements manager Tony Quinn said: “Children should keep their hands in their pockets, or they may find handcuffs around them.”

[July 6, 1979]

Firing display fail

World War 3 did not arrive in Watford on Saturday, but the Fourth Cadet Regiment Royal Artillery Watford Attachment did. Their Tolpits Lane headquarters was the venue for a display which included a demonstration of cartridge loading and firing. But the day didn’t go off with quite such a bang. There was a turn-out of only 40 people.

[July 6, 1979]

Fun day

At Chipperfield, Village Day is another name for fun day. The emphasis is on informality and villagers getting together to enjoy themselves on the village green. One of the big attractions at Saturday’s biennial Village Day was a ski slope provided by Watford Ski School, and erected on scaffolding put up by local builder John Phillips.

[July 6, 1979]

Townsies have ousted country folk

A reminder in the Sarratt Spotlight (parish magazine) urging horse riders to keep off public footpaths and stick to bridleways has evoked an angry response from one rider. Mrs Monica Flack, in the current issue of the magazine, suggests that Sarratt is losing its country image. “As farms are sold town people move in with no interest in keeping the county as natural countryside. All they want are neat footpaths which can be walked in their town shoes. Sarratt is no longer a sleepy country village.”

[July 6, 1979]

Record losses

Watford FC made a record loss of £124,467 last year as they pushed towards Division 2 soccer. And the club have total financial liabilities of more than £600,000. The figures are revealed in the club’s annual report and accounts. For the second successive year a note of reality is struck in the auditors’ report. It says simply that without Elton John’s support the club could not be regarded as “a going concern”.

[July 13, 1979]

Jobs crisis

Watford is suffering its gravest employment crisis, despite having Europe’s shortest dole queue. Bosses say there are no skilled workers left to fill an ever-growing list of jobs. As it worsens week by week they fear plump order books will be hit and expansion plans slowed up.

[July 20, 1979]

Year of the bongo

The late 1970s could go down in Watford’s history as the years of the great revival in street entertainment. Music, dancing and plays in the street were packing them in centuries ago. Now, with traffic banished from the upper part of the High Street, the entertainers are coming back into their own. The council are playing a major role in promoting the revival. This year they have arranged a 16 week programme of Saturday concerts, and on Saturday morning they unveiled the latest prop for the entertainers. The multi-purpose mobile entertainment unit costs £11,000 and Watford believe they are the first English authority to possess one. Built like a caravan trailer, the unit can be towed to the spot where it is to be used and can provide a stage arena of 30 feet.

[July 20, 1979]

Cuts may hit hospital chances

Hemel Hempstead is unlikely to get its badly needed new hospital in the foreseeable future following Government spending cuts. Hospital campaigners were mildly jubilant on Monday after the regional health authority had agreed to rescind its decision to build one large acute hospital at St Albans with only a supporting hospital at Hemel Hempstead. But Mr Nick Lyell said that he could not see the extra money being made available with the current financial situation.

[July 27, 1979]

What was happening in the world in July 1979?

• Sweden outlaws corporal punishment in the home (July 1)

• The Sony Walkman goes on sale for the first time in Japan (July 1)

• An IRA bomb explodes in the British consulate in Antwerp (July 6)

• Los Angeles passes its gay and lesbian civil rights bill (July 8)

• Musician Chuck Berry is sentenced to four months imprisonment for $200,000 in tax evasion (July 10)

• NASA’s first orbiting space station Skylab begins its return to Earth, after being in orbit for more than six years (July 11)

• The Gilbert Islands become fully independent of the UK as Kiribati (July 12)

• The worst hotel fire in Europe for decades leaves 72 people dead in Spain (July 12)

• Jesuit priest Bernard Darke is stabbed to death by members of the religious cult House of Israel (July 14)

• President Jimmy Carter gives a televised speech talking about the “crisis of confidence” in America; it would go on to be known as his “national malaise” speech (July 15)

• The Sandinista National Liberation Front concludes a successful revolutionary campaign against a dictatorship and assumes power in Nicaragua (July 21)

• Iraqi president Saddam Hussein arranges the arrest and later execution of nearly 70 members of his ruling Ba’ath Party (July 22)