Heading for a boom

Watford could be heading for a mini-boom in business and industry, according to the latest survey carried out by Manpower, the international contract-work agency. Overall, the survey came up with good news for the construction, hotels and catering, transport and retail trades. The survey shows that more work is on the way in these sectors, and it could lead to a shortening of the dole queue, with more jobs available in the town.

[April 7, 1978]

Lack of cash

Lack of funds could put back the reorganisation of accommodation at Watford College for years. The college governors have been asked to re-examine their plans in detail following comments on the situation by the Department of Education and Science. Watford College was esetablished as a result of the amalgamation of the former College of Technology and George Stephenson College. The idea was to make use of available space at the college in Hempstead Road and dispose of annexes used by George Stephenson College. The Department of Education, while sympathetic to the need for the college reorganisation to go ahead, have told County Hall the full scheme is unlikely to find a place in an early major building programme.

[April 14, 1978]

Head of queue

New hospital building at Watford has been given a far higher priority – and more money – by the North West Thames Regional Health Authority than the controversial new hospital for the Hemel Hempstead and St Albans area. Phase Three of the Shrodells Wing at Watford is to start this year, it is confirmed in the health capital programme issued by the region. The sum of £11.4m is being allocated to the project.

[April 14, 1978]

A place to find help

Whether you want a bus pass, a bedpan, a hot bath, a good dinner, entertainment or simply to pay your rates, the Red Cross Centre at Barton Way, Croxley Green, is the right place. But the Red Cross need more money to cope with the rising cost of running their busy centre. Said Mrs “Bill” Fenning, South West Herts District Coordinator: “We are all voluntary workers here, and contrary to what many people think, the Red Cross get absolutely no contribution at all from the Government.”

[April 14, 1978]

Last minute deal

Sun Printers have been saved from heavy redundancies and rundown by an eleventh hour union agreement on Friday evening. Productivity agreements have now been resolved with all the chapels (unions) at the Whippendell Road plant, so the growth strategy essential for the company’s future can swing into operation, managing director Mr Bob Phillis announced on Tuesday. If productivity agreements had not been reached by Friday a programme of at least 500 redundancies over the next 15 months would have started immediately, coupled with Sun’s decline as a printing plant.

[April 21, 1978]

Get with it!

We want more to do! That is the unanimous opinion of these pupils from Queens School, Bushey, who have just completed a six month project analysing facilities for 11 to 16 year olds in Watford. Their conclusion – there aren’t enough. The results of a survey the group carried out in Watford High Street recently show that 75 per cent of the 11 to 16 year olds they questioned are dissatisfied with present facilities catering for their age group. It also shows that the facilities there are – Guides, Scouts, Sea Scout groups and others – are out of date in the opinion of today’s youth. They want more discos, coffee bars, skateboarding areas and places where they can meet for a chat.

[April 21, 1978]

Watford lottery

It was anybody’s bet who would win the vote to give Watford a lottery – until the issue split the Labour side of the council and the new money-raising scheme was voted in with a healthy majority. The council agreed on Monday to start a lottery selling 25p tickets with on-the-spot prizes to be fun for them by Competition Management Services Ltd. Labour members were allowed a free vote on the issue, according to conscience, and enough sided with the Tories, who were all in favour, to swing the vote. Cllr Cecilia Midgley strongly opposed the lottery and asked the council to drop the idea. She said: “I am not going to moralise about this subject but no doubt those who have moral objections to gambling will vote according to their consciences.”

[April 28, 1978]

Museum go-ahead

The go-ahead has been given to set up a museum in the Queen Anne building on the old Benskins Brewery site in Watford. Watford Council have approved the idea, despite Tory protests that the site should be used for housing the elderly. Converting the building to a museum means that the council will have to pay only £50,000 for it. If it had been bought for office use – the Tories’ alternative proposal – the cost would have been £165,000. Labour Cllr Stella Meldum said the building offered the town the best chance it had for gaining a museum and art gallery. Displays for the museum will be drawn from the large stock of relics being held at Watford Library.

[April 28, 1978]

What was happening in the world in April 1978?

• US President Jimmy Carter decides to postpone production of the neutron bomb – a weapon which kills people with radiation but leaves buildings relatively intact (April 7)

• Regular radio broadcasts of British Parliament proceedings start (April 8)

• Somali military officers stage an unsuccessful coup against the government of Siad Barre (April 9)

• Thousands of Georgians demonstrate against an attempt by Soviet authorities to change the constitutional status of the Georgian language (April 14)

• The US Senate votes to turn the Panama Canal over to Panamanian control on December 31, 1999 (April 18)

• The One Love Peace Concert is held at National Heroes Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica. Bob Marley unites two opposing political leaders at this concert (April 22)

• Afghanistan’s president Daoud Khan is killed and his family murdered during a Marxist military coup d’état. Nur Muhammad Taraki succeeds him, beginning the Afghan Civil War (April 27)