It was a day that Watford held its breath

Although Watford held its collective breath and largely stayed indoors throughout “invasion day” on Saturday, the explosion which had been dreaded by so many never materialised. A small number of hardy Liverpool supporters reached Watford by car on Friday night, and slept by the roadside in the borough. More arrived early on Saturday and by mid-morning the High Street was echoing continually to northern chants and war-cries. But the “invaders” were good-humoured and well-behaved, and there were no “trouble spots”.

[February 3, 1967]

Support abortion bill, says MP

“Misleading and emotional opposition” to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Bill, now in its Committee stage in the House of Commons, “appals” Mrs Renee Short, MP, the Herts County Councillor. She told a meeting in Watford organised by the Women’s Co-Operative Guild: “For any doctor to say the Bill means ‘abortion on demand’ is demonstrably foolish.” The law is at present unclear and restrictive. It is broken at leas 2,000 times a week. Unenforceable law is bad law and must be changed. The repair and rescue work to clear up the havoc caused by illegal abortionists costs the National Health Service about £175,000 a month and makes great demand on medical skill. Properly carried out, only a few days in hospital are needed. There will soon be another private Members Bill in the Commons to extend contraception in Britain and to make it freely available on the National Health Service. Thus the Government is tackling the whole problem sensibly.

[February 3, 1967]

Asbestos is no danger

The recent BBC television programme “24 hours”, with its emphasis on health hazards from the dust of blue asbestos, caused concern in Rickmansworth because of the Universal Asbestos Manufacturing Company’s works in Tolpits Lane. Now, following inquiries from the Watford Observer, the firm has pointed out that this type of asbestos is not used at any of its factories. The company also stresses the fact that it makes every effort to minimise dust in its factories.

[February 3, 1967]

Daring raid

Masked gunmen got away with £8,000 in an audacious raid on the Sun Printers’ wages office at 7pm last night. Leaving the wages clerk tied up, and driving straight at two security guards who tried to stop their getaway car, the thieves made off down Ascot Road in a Jaguar. The police are appealing for witnesses.

[January 10, 1967]

What a welcome!

Russian Premier Alexei Kosygin caused pandemonium when he visited Elliott-Automation, the Boreham Wood-based computer firm, this week, by suddenly breaking through his iron ring of heavily armed bodyguards and calmly mingling with the crowds. Panic-stricken Special Branch men and Russian security agents rushed forward to try and surround him. But the head of the Soviet Union insisted on meeting and shaking hands with the surging crowd of 2,000 factory workers and spectators who lined the pavements.

[February 10, 1967]

Angry firemen

Police and fire brigade are calling for a “special public effort” to combat arson cases and malicious false fire alarms in the Watford area. This follows a wave of arson cases in the last two months with schools as the number one targets. The crimes are as yet unsolved, and the police think one person may be responsible for more than one of the fires.

[February 17, 1967]

Sex education

Women’s organisations in the district should press for a high standard of sex education – both biological, emotional and moral in local schools. They should particularly ask teachers to consider training in this subject, and encourage the acceptance of Marriage Guidance and Family Planning workers as speakers. This was just one of the recommendations put forward by the working party set up by the Watford and District Standing Conference of Women’s Organisations. The working party recommended that the standing conference should consider undertaking a detailed study of sex education in schools in South-West Herts, and press for a high standard of sex education.

[February 17, 1967]

Learning in the electronic age

Every day the schooling of our children becomes a more complicated task, and to keep up with this electronic age we have to move very fast indeed. At Oxhey Wood Junior School they are doing just this, taking part in a unique experiment in the use of visual and audio visual aids. The experiment results from ideas that Headmaster J.H. Embling has for the application of these aids within the school’s normal curricula. Now the children use cine projectors, slide and filmstrip projectors, tape recorders and specially documented teaching films – courtesy of Audio Visual Ltd. The experiment is to last for a minimum of two years.

[February 24, 1967]

What was happening in the world in February 1967?

• Pink Floyd signed their first professional recording contract (February 1)

• Ronald Ryan became the last man executed in Australia (February 3)

• Record producer Joe Meek murdered his landlady before committing suicide at his recording studio in north London (February 3)

• NASA launched the unmanned satellite Lunar Orbiter 3 on a mission to photograph the exact sites where manned space missions would be able to land (February 4)

• Serious bushfires in southern Tasmania claimed 62 lives and destroyed more than 1,200 homes (February 7)

• Soviet Prime Minister Alexei Kosygin met Queen Elizabeth II in London, marking the first time that a British monarch had received a Soviet leader (February 9)

• Police raided the Chichester home of the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards. Richards and Mick Jagger would subsequently be convicted of possession of drugs, but the London Appeal Court would overturn both convictions (February 12)

• The First Infantry Division of the US Army dropped 25,000lbs of tear gas on Viet Cong (February 12)

• Nazi war criminal Franz Stangl was arrested in Brazil. He would later be convicted of the murder of 900,000 Jews and sentenced to life imprisonment (February 18)

• Albert DeSalvo, who had confessed to the 13 murders of women carried out by the Boston Strangler, escaped from Bridgewater State Hospital. He was captured the next day (February 24)

• Martin Luther King Jr began speaking out at length against American involvement in the Vietnam War (February 25)