Scammell show the way

New Year – and a story of a Watford firm’s success to give it a good send-off. It comes from Scammell Lorries, who announced this week that in the last three months of 1964 they secured export orders valued at “well over £1,000,000”. This, they say, represents more than double the orders for the same period last year. They point out, too, that they have been obtained in the face of heavy and increasing competition from the USA and Western Europe. Scammell have found the main markets for their lorries and semi-trailers in South Africa, India, Australia and the Middle and Far East. But they have also extended their influence by what they call a “substantial breakthrough” in the East European countries of Poland, Hungary, Yugoslavia and East Germany.

[January 1, 1965]

“Clean up our air”

The need to promote welfare of the old and poor, to ensure clean air, and to combat noise and accidents are stressed in a new report by Dr W. Norman-Taylor, medical officer of Watford rural. Looking ahead, Dr Norman-Taylor foresees the next advances on public health concentrated on the social front, with the welfare of older people one of the most pressing problems. “Strikingly in need of urgent solution” is atmospheric pollution, asserts the doctor. “Now is the time to start cleaning up the air we breathe, and reducing, perhaps eventually eliminating, such killers as lung cancer and pulmonary heart disease. Most diseases are preventable if only we knew how.” People have been blissfully smoking cigarettes for 50 years without realising the risk, but “our enormous consumption of sugar may yet come under suspicion too”.

[January 1, 1965]

Traffic wardens

Traffic wardens will be introduced in Watford on October 1 if the Shrubbery multi-storey car park is ready by then, or on January 1 next year if its completion is delayed. The police proposal was approved by Watford Town Council on Monday. But before the vote was taken, Cllr J.S. Charman suggested that many people were apprehensive of traffic wardens because, he alleged, nine out of 10 of them “tend to become officious and indiscriminately give out those horrible little tickets”. Cllr Charman asked for an assurance that the main duty of the wardens would be the prevention of offences rather than the punishment of offenders.

[January 8, 1965]

Wealthy Watford under scrutiny

Watford has frequently been described as the third, or even second, most prosperous area in the country, but the claim has never been backed by facts and figures. Now comes a detailed survey which pinpoints the town’s affluence. It has been prepared by Comart Research Ltd for the marketing magazine “Tack”, and its findings are striking. Figures for incomes, home ownership and telephone subscribers are shown as soaring high above the national average. And car ownership – “the most important prosperity indicator of all” – exceeds the average figure for the UK by 23%. Comments Tack: “Watford is one of the prototype areas, where marketeers can experience at this very moment what will be normal in the whole UK by the mid-1970s.”

[January 22, 1965]

Crowds see Gade House opened

Standing on what was once the site of the old borough council offices, the Mayor of Watford, Alderman Arthur Reynolds, cut a ribbon yesterday morning and officially opened Gade House. Immediately waiting crowds surged through the swing doors and within a matter of minutes Watford’s latest and most luxurious department store was in business. The opening of Watford and Harrow Co-Operative Society’s magnificent all-purpose premises was, as its President Mr E. Stafford said: “A red letter day for the society.” He also felt it was a red letter day for the people of the borough and he hoped citizens would be as proud of it as were the members and officials of the society.

[January 29, 1965]

What was happening in the world in January 1965?

• The UK airlifted 1,200 British paratroopers, infantrymen and sailors to Singapore in order to help guard Malaysia from a threatened attack by Indonesia (January 2)

• The long-running British TV sports series World of Sport was launched (January 2)

• Dempsey Britton, a NASA engineer at a flight facility in Virginia, filed a report of an unidentified flying object which led to an investigation by the US Air Force (January 5)

• Identical twin brothers Ronnie and Reggie Kray were arrested on suspicion of running a protection racket in London (January 7)

• The Star of India, a 563-carat sapphire, missing from the American Museum of Natural History in New York since October 1964, was found in a bus station in Miami (January 8)

• The serial killer who had been dubbed ‘Jack the Stripper’ killed his sixth and final known victim in London (January 11)

• The heads of government of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland met for the first time since Ireland had become a separate nation (January 14)

• The unmanned Gemini 2 was launched in preparation for the first American mission to send two astronauts into space (January 19)

• Indonesia confirmed its decision to become the first member to withdraw from the United Nations (January 20)

• Prime Minister of Iran Hassan Ali Mansur was shot and fatally wounded outside the parliament building in Tehran (January 21)

• The first weather satellite that could provide pictures of the entire Earth was launched into orbit (January 22)

• Rioters in the city of Hu? burned down the US Information Agency after South Vietnam’s Prime Minister issued a decree to increase the number of young men who would be drafted into the army (January 23)

• Sir Winston Churchill died at the age of 90 (January 24)

• Hindi replaced English as the official language of India on Republic Day (January 26)