12,000 homes blacked out

Roads turned into rivers, 12,000 homes lost their electricity supply and firemen had to bail out flooded shops when a double storm hit the area with 1.47 inches of rain at the weekend. More than 12,000 homes and shops in Rickmansworth, Chorleywood, Croxley Green, Loudwater, Mill End and West Hyde lost their electricity supplies when lightning struck an overhead grid at 10am on Saturday. Supplies were restored in less than half an hour after the electricity board had tested that there was no sustained damage to the circuit.

[August 1, 1980]

Firm faces shut down

A ballet and ballroom shoe company with a £300,000 order book could be closed down in Watford throwing 40 skilled workers on the dole. But they will not know their jobs at Balletique, in Whippendell Road, are in jeopardy until they return from holiday next week. Balletique, even with an overdraft of more than £70,000, is still one of the country’s leading dancing shoe manufacturers with orders pouring in from all over the world. On Monday they will be told the shock news that the firm’s bankers have asked a receiver to decide whether or not it should carry on its business.

[August 1, 1980]

Happy birthday Queen Mother!

The Queen Mother celebrates her 80th birthday on Monday. She is no stranger to the Watford area and some of Her Majesty’s visits to her native Hertfordshire include a visit in July 1963 to the Royal Caledonian School in Bushey. Those who had the privilege to participate hold memories of a much-loved and respected Royal lady whose graciousness and radiance were matched only by the warmth of the reception she received on each occasion.

[August 1, 1980]

Nuclear fallout

I feel compelled to reply to the letter from Mr Stafford (July 25) demanding the building of nuclear fallout shelters. He makes several assumptions, the most unrealistic of which is that, given fallout shelters, there can be for large sections of the population some sort of meaningful existence after a nuclear holocaust. Even accepting that shelters would provide some sort of defence, what sort of world would the survivors emerge into? It would be one in which most life forms were either dead or dying over vast areas and where the fabric of human society would have irreparably broken down. In short it would be a new Stone Age. Is this prospect worth the millions necessary for their construction?

[August 8, 1980]

Stabbed by fork

A policeman was stabbed with a fork when he tried to prevent - - from seeing his ex-wife. -, of Garston, had ignored a court order banning him from visiting his ex-wife. When police arrived to remove him, he climbed onto a garage roof and hurled bricks and pieces of asbestos at them. Police Constable Neville Shelley followed him onto the roof using a ladder. But – grabbed hold of it and used the fork like a javelin and stabbed the office. – pleaded guilty to wounding PC Shelley and was jailed for two years.

[August 15, 1980]

Robins galore

There were outlaws all over the place at Croxley Green Library last week, but no one was arrested! This year Robin Hood was the theme at the library’s annual children’s activities day, attended by 40 youngsters aged between five and 12 years. The day began with librarian Ralph Lynn reading the story of Robin Hood, and this was followed by craft exercises, during which the children made Robin Hood outfits to wear.

[August 15, 1980]

Multi-Racial Festival

Let’s do it again next year. That’s the verdict on Watford’s first Multi-Racial Festival in the precinct on Saturday. The trouble predicted by the National Front Constitution Movement, who issued leaflets warning of a major disturbance, did not materialise. The police were there in case of trouble but even helped contribute to the carnival atmosphere.

[August 22, 1980]

Division 2 has arrived

Division 2 football came to Vicarage Road on Saturday afternoon with a match of Watford v Swansea. Although this was the start of the Hornets’ first season in Division 2, Saturday’s performance said simply “we’ve arrived”. Watford have played with colour and passion in the past but on Saturday they harnessed these attributes to that exemplary professionalism which highlighted their displays against Millwall the previous week.

[August 22, 1980]

Rolling up for the shows

Crowds have enjoyed the wide variety of entertainments taking place in the town centre this Watford Show Week. The carnival atmosphere reaches a grand finale tomorrow (Saturday) with dancers, musicians, singers and more than 100 stalls centred around The Pond. With an extravagance of fun and entertainment in the High Street every day, it has been Bank Holiday Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for the people of Watford.

[August 29, 1980]

What was happening in the world in August 1980?

• In Ireland the Buttevant Rail Disaster kills 18 train passengers (August 1)

• A terrorist bombing at a railway station in Bologna, Italy, kills 85 people and wounds more than 200 (August 2)

• The 22nd Olympic Games close in Moscow. 65 countries boycotted the games because of the Soviet war in Afghanistan (August 3)

• Hurricane Allen hits the Caribbean, Mexico and Texas (August 10)

• 17,000 workers go on strike at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk, Poland, marking the beginning of the Solidarity movement (August 14)

• US President Jimmy Carter defeats Senator Edward Kennedy to win renomination at the Democratic National Convention (August 14)

• Playboy Playmate Dorothy Stratten is murdered by her estranged husband Paul Leslie Snider (August 14)

• Azaria Chamberlain disappears in Uluru, Australia. She was later discovered to have been taken by a dingo, but her mother spent more than three years in prison for her murder (August 17)

• Willy Russell’s play, Educating Rita, premieres in London (August 19)

• Three men plant a booby-trapped bomb at Harvey’s Resort Hotel in Nevada (August 26)

• The Gdansk Agreement is signed (August 31)

• The five most popular movies of the year were The Shining, Stars Wars: Empire Strikes Back, Airplane!, Caddyshack, and The Blues Brothers

• Call Me by Blondie was the #1 song of the year