Threat to holiday shows

South-West Herts is in danger of losing its two major Bank Holiday attractions. There will be no Watford Whitsun Carnival in Cassiobury Park in 1970 unless someone can be found to take over the duties of general secretary. And members of Bushey Horticultural Society, which runs the August bank holiday show in King George Recreation Ground were warned on Thursday that the society would cease to exist if more people could not be found to take an active part in the running of its affairs. The serious position facing Watford Borough Carnival Fund emerged at the annual meeting on Tuesday. At one stage it seemed that even the 1969 carnival, with arrangements already in an advanced stage, was in danger of collapse.

[February 7, 1969]

Virtually unscathed

Watford emerged virtually unscathed as the masses flooded from Vicarage Road on Monday night after Watford’s bold FA Cup bid ground to a halt at the hands of European champions Manchester United. Riot-strength police, effecting lessons learnt from Liverpool’s Cup tie here two years ago, quickly dispersed the record 34,099 crowd, and incidents were few and far between. The only real trouble came during the interval of the actual match when part of the fence behind the Vicarage Road goal gave way, spilling a number of people to the ground.

[February 7, 1969]

Clements pioneers

Clements, the Watford department store, makes history on February 25. On that date it will sell insurance “over the counter”, just as it now sells stockings or chocolates. The venture is being run by the Royal Insurance Company, who is also having a counter in Lewis’s of Liverpool (part of the Charles Clore’s Sears Holdings group). Mr Clore is credited with having raised the idea with the Royal after seeing the idea in America.

[February 14, 1969]

Spray paint

An aerosol tin of paint becomes an offensive weapon when taken to and used at a football match, Watford Magistrates decided on Friday. And a young Arsenal supporter who admitted using such a spray at a match at Vicarage Road on January 18 was fined £15 on a charge of being in possession of an offensive weapon. The defendant was told by the presiding magistrates: “Watford Football Club is normally regarded as a very very worthwhile club and we don’t get any interference or damage of the kind you are guilty of.”

[February 14, 1969]

Have we missed the boat?

Has Watford missed a golden opportunity to provide a “water-landscape” western entrance to the town? The plan for the new road to be constructed over Cassiobury Bridges was published in last week’s Observer. It has aroused a stimulating letter from Mr W.S. Mackay, Counter Manager of the RAC. He declared: “Planning genius has managed to contrive no more than widened bridges to take a conventional dual carriageway. What masterly lack of vision! The existing road is surrounded by “swamp land” and is interlaced by, above all things – WATER. What a wonderful opportunity has been missed to provide this road with a ‘water-landscape’ design which could so easily have provided Watford with a western entrance of which any town would have been extremely envious.”

[February 21, 1969]

Snow again!

Heavy overnight snow, followed by early morning rain and a quick thaw, turned Watford streets and roads into a quagmire yesterday. Roads that provided treacherous early-morning conditions later gave motorists a new hazard – flooding. People on their way to work here clad in an array of footwear, wellingtons proving very popular.

[February 21, 1969]

Ancient church ablaze

The 800-year-old Parish Church of St Lawrence, Abbots Langley, is likely to be out of use for many months as a result of the fire which swept through the organ loft, destroyed part of the roof and severely damaged the chancel. The fire was discovered at 3.05pm on Friday when flames were seen leaping through the roof. Six fire appliances attended and the outbreak was soon under control. It is thought that the fire started in the vicinity of the organ loft, and the organ, rebuilt and electrified in 1956, was completely destroyed.

[February 21, 1969]

What was happening in the world in February 1969?

• Two cosmonauts transfer from Soyuz 5 to Soyuz 4 via a spacewalk while the two craft are docked together, the first time such a transfer takes place (February 2)

• The population of the US reaches 200 million (February 5)

• A meteorite weighing over one ton falls in Chihuahua, Mexico (February 8)

• The Boeing 747 makes its maiden flight, at Everett, Washington (February 9)

• Front de libération du Québec terrorist bomb the Montreal Stock Exchange (February 13)

• Golda Meir is sworn in as the first female Prime Minister of Israel (February 170

• The Mariner 6 Mars probe is launched from the United States (February 24)

• The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, starring Maggie Smith, premiers in London (February 24)

• West Germany gives $5million to an Arab terrorist as ransom for the passengers and crew of a hijacked jumbo jet (February 25)