Shock report

Scores of unemployed people are facing homelessness in Watford, a shock report has revealed this week. The report has come from the town’s Housing Aid Centre which has helped more than 4,000 people with housing difficulties from January to June. The report reveals that there are 115 acute problems, and that 16 of those interviewed have been sleeping outside.

[August 5, 1983]

Bonus spending spree

Redundant Odhams workers are going on a spend, spend, spend bonanza. Armed with generous redundancy payments, some print workers are booking exotic holidays in the sun while others are buying A-registration cars. Some print workers are reaping the benefits of redundancy payments of up to £40,000.

[August 5, 1983]

Freedom for the Regiment

Drums beating, colours flying and bayonets fixed – the third Battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment marched through Watford’s town centre on Thursday as they were given the freedom of the borough. To the applause of flag-waving children and spectators they took the salute from Watford’s Mayor Councillor Geoffrey Greenstreet as they passed Charter Place. Led by a 50-strong band the 400 men of the Colchester-based regiment then made their way to Cassiobury Park for a presentation of arms.

[August 5, 1983]

Holiday madness

Only days after the Watford Observer warned children of the dangers of swimming in the Grand Union Canal, these boys could be seen risking injury, and even death, by jumping off Cassiobury Lock bridge. Canals, says the British Waterways Board, are usually just four feet deep – far too shallow to jump into. “Swimming in the canal is extremely foolhardy. It is to be totally discouraged,” a spokesman said.

[August 12, 1983]

Controversial printing plan

Plans to resite parts of the major Sun printing plant in Whippendell Road, Watford, are to be considered by Watford Council planners. The plans come at a time when new machinery is being installed at the plant which is destined to become one of the most competitive in the world. Sun, owned by print tycoon Mr Robert Maxwell, wants to relocate the loading areas, canteen and offices.

[August 12, 1983]

Fight looms over Green Belt

Three Rivers planners are alarmed about Government proposals to open up fringes of precious Metropolitan Green Belt land for housing. They fear the greatest pressure will be along the route of the M25 motorway, which cuts through the district. But while conservationists are preparing to resist the draft circular issued by the new Environment Secretary, Mr Patrick Jenkin, developers, who claim the demand for new homes is not being met, welcome the idea.

[August 12, 1983]

Jobs shock for workers

More print workers are set to lose their jobs because a £7m Odhams printing contract has been lost. Work on the Sun Express magazine was expected to be transferred to the Sun printing plant in Whippendell Road with the rundown of Odhams at the end of next month. But the Sun Express proprietors pulled out and will move the prestigious contract to another printing company in Liverpool.

[August 19, 1983]

Track record

Work has begun on a new permanent BMX cycle track for children on open land at South Oxhey. Three Rivers Council was determined that the site should be provided in time for the long summer holiday, and at the council’s last meeting the officers were congratulated on the speed with which they got the project off the ground.

[August 19, 1983]

Future of town centre

Work on a major Watford redevelopment which involves the demolition of the town’s Odeon cinema is due to begin in a few weeks. Developers are planning to build a new Sainsbury store on the Monmouth Arms site, with shops and a snooker hall on the Odeon land. This week Mr Matthew Cartisser, of the Cartisser construction company, said that the Odeon could be demolished as early as October.

[August 26, 1983]

What was happening in the world in August 1983?

• A coup d’état makes Thomas Sankara President of Burkina Faso, West Africa (August 4)

• NY Yankee Dave Winfield accidentally kills a seagull while warming up before a baseball match (August 4)

• 22 provisional IRA members receive sentences totally over 4,000 years from a Belfast Court (August 5)

• A bomb planted by Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the African National Congress, explodes at a synagogue in Johannesburg, South Africa (August 6)

• The first World Championships in Athletics open in Helsinki, Finland (August 7)

• Following a military coup in Guatemala, President Rios Montt flees (August 8)

• Hurricane Alicia hits the Texas coast, killing 22 (August 18)

• 12-year-old Samantha Druce becomes the youngest woman to swim the English Channel (August 18)

• The South African anti-apartheid organisation United Democratic Front is launched in Cape Town (August 20)

• Benigno Aquino Jr, Philippines opposition leadaer, is assassinated in Manila (August 21)

• Heavy rain triggers flooding in Spain (August 26)

• Guion Bluford becomes the first African-American in space aboard Space Shuttle Challenger (August 30)

• Elizabeth Zakarian, 17, is crowned the first Miss Teen USA (August 30)