Police deficiencies

Home Secretary Mr James Callaghan is to be asked by Watford Rural Parish Council to intervene because of alleged police deficiencies in South Oxhey. The Council unanimously passed a motion on Wednesday, proposed by Cllr George Hall, following adverse press and radio publicity about conditions existing in the area. “We have been writing to the Chief Constable for years about insufficient policing of the parish and have got nowhere,” said Cllr Hall. “Our police station closes at midnight, we have no fire or ambulance station to serve a population of 27,000, with a rateable value of £1million – and we have had enough!” he added.

[February 6, 1970]

Market threat to Watford?

There is a factory in the Watford area which is waiting for Britain to enter the Common Market so it can close down and transfer its business operations to an Ostend, Belgium, factory, ex-chairman of Watford Trades Council, Mr George Emery, declared at Wednesday night’s meeting. Mr Emery did not name any firm, but said there were many others which were also waiting for Britain’s decision. “When Britain goes into the Common Market everyday articles will be made in Europe and shipped back to Britain cheaper than they can be made here,” Mr Emery told delegates.

[February 6, 1970]

Lighting scheme

At the request of Sarratt Parish Council, a suggested scheme for street lighting in the village was sent to the parish council on Tuesday from the county surveyor. Mr N. Zuman, of the Street Lighting Department, says this would mean lights along Dimmocks Lane, and along one side of the Green through the length of the village. Sarratt, which has never had any lights, now has two lamps on the new housing estate, and will eventually have five there but the rest of the village is completely unlit.

[February 6, 1970]


Unidentified objects in the sky “like three bright stars in a row”, reported to have been seen over Watford on Tuesday morning, were described to the Observer by a Bricket Wood motorist. He noticed the “phenomenon” from the top of the Berrygrove intersection while driving to work at Odhams at about 6.45am. But he made a special request that his name should not be publicised – “because people tend to poke fun and regard you as a bit of a crank if you report having seen these things”.

[February 13, 1970]

Friday 13

Today is Friday the 13th – Black Friday. An evil day in the calendar of superstition. Friday has been regarded as an unlucky day since the crucifixion of Christ. What will happen in Watford today? Nothing unusual, say the people in Watford’s High Street. Every person interviewed by the “Topic” reporter maintained he or she was not in the slightest superstitious. But every one of them was afraid to walk under a ladder.

[February 13, 1970]

Masonic will close

Bushey Royal Masonic Junior School for Boys will definitely close this summer – there is to be no reprieve despite desperate efforts to save it. Mr Alan Joel, Secretary to the Royal Masonic Institution for Boys, in London confirmed the closure on Wednesday, but declined to comment on the future of the building. Speculation arose this week following reports that the property may be purchased by Herts County Council for use as a college of further education or an extension to the Wall Hall Teachers’ Training College.

[February 20, 1970]

Market look ahead

Watford market traders are looking ahead to the days when the market is moved to a new site in Beechen Grove. It is proposed that the new market will be at ground-floor level with multi-storey parking above. Stall holders are anxious that the new market should retain a market atmosphere and still be an open market. So that traders will be able to put forward ideas, it was agreed at the annual meeting of the Market Traders’ Association on Monday to run three coach trips this year to visit new multi-storey markets in various parts of the country. “We still want a market in Watford, not another big store,” said Mr Sam Deakin, Chairman of the Association.

[February 27, 1970]

Gang battles on increase

Gang warfare and football violence are on the increase in Hertfordshire. During 1969 there was an increase in public disorders involving a considerable number of people. In some cases these were pre-arranged battles between rival gangs of young men, and in other cases there appeared to be no apparent reason for the clashes. Incidents dealt with by police include one in September when police learned that a large number of “skinheads” were due to visit the town bent on causing trouble. Extra police patrols were on duty for four hours, and a crowd of young men from North London were met at Watford Junction by police. After being searched they were sent back by train without being allowed to leave the station. To cope with hooliganism at football matches at Vicarage Road police have concentrated on keeping rival factions apart.

[February 27, 1970]

What was happening in the world in February 1970?

• An avalanche moving at 120mph smashes into a youth hostel in Val d’Isere, France, killing 40 young people (February 10)

• Japan becomes the fourth notion to put a satellite in orbit (February 11)

• A demonstration at the Garden House Hotel by Cambridge University students against the Greek military junta leads to police intervention (February 13)

• Black Sabbath release their debut album in the UK (February 13)

• US army office Jeffrey MacDonald murders his pregnant wife and two small daughters (February 17)

• The Jackson 5 make their television debut (February 21)

• The Holy Eucharist is given by women for the first time in Roman Catholic services (February 23)