‘Squeeze up a bit’

To provide for increasing population over the next 10 years, yet avoid encroaching on the Green Belt, higher density and “squeezing up a bit” is the answer for South-West Herts. This was explained at a press conference by Herts County Council Development Plan officer, Mr G.W. Cowley, prior to the informal exhibition, which opens next Monday, showing how Watford is affected under the first five-yearly review of the County Development Plan. The “squeeze up” aspect of the new plan is based on a range of 12 to 20 houses to the acre. The review provides for an increase of about 8,000 to 84,300 between 1961 and 1973.

[September 6, 1963]

Carlton gets a facelift

The £25,000 transformation of Watford’s Carlton Cinema is nearly complete, and on September 23 the Mayor and Mayoress of Watford will attend the opening of what will be the town’s smallest and most luxurious cinema. After the 11-week closure the first film to be shown will be the Albert Finney hit “Tom Jones”. Designed and equipped as a luxury theatre, the 42-year-old cinema now accommodates fewer than 800 people in its widely-spaced velvet-covered seats. With the newly-designed stage and interior will be a new warm air central heating unit – with cooling for the summer.

[September 13, 1963]

“My fault”, says wife

A wife told Herts Quarter Sessions on Tuesday that it was her fault her husband was before the court, because she had been “moaning at him”. Her husband, a labourer, appeared for sentence. He had been found guilty of attempting to steal two Anderson shelters, the property of Rickmansworth Urban Council. He admitted 13 previous convictions. He was put on probation for two years.

[September 13, 1963]

Watford’s new cafeteria

Not the least important aspect of British Homes Stores’ new branch in Watford is the provision of a spacious, magnificently equipped and furnished cafeteria to provide Watford shoppers and business people with additional eating facilities. An “Observer” representative was privileged to make a tour of the new store before it opened yesterday and his preview included visits to the retail food section, the huge cafeteria which will seat 200 and to the staff dining and rest centre.

[September 13, 1963]

Trewins doubling its space

Work has begun on a £1/2million rebuilding scheme at Trewin Bros. in Queen’s Road, one of Watford’s oldest stores. When it is completed in 1965, Trewins will have doubled its selling area and the number of its staff. The scheme means an end to the individual shops used by the firm, which became part of the John Lewis Partnership in 1940. Trewins has been the smallest department store in the John Lewis Partnership, and the rebuilding has been planned to keep pace with the expansion of Watford.

[September 20, 1963]

Boys make history

Three youths, Howard Mabbett (16), Anthony Wilson (17), and Christopher Gurney (16), are creating history at Leavesden Hospital – and probably at any hospital of the same type. For these three have just joined the staff to become the first male nursing cadets the hospital has ever had. Not only are they making history at the hospital, but also at the West Herts College of Further Education, where they will be the first boys to take the preparatory nursing course – a course which has previously been exclusively female.

[September 20, 1963]

Plea for civic theatre

The answer to the Palace Theatre’s troubles was for Watford to have a civic theatre, said former actor – now Watford’s Liberal agent – Mr Martin Cookson, at Watford Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday. There was tremendous scope in Watford for a live theatre and if people knew it was being paid for out of the rates they would go to see where their money was being spent. At the same time there was the prestige of a local civic theatre. “I would like to see civic theatres in all towns, particularly in Watford,” he added. And, he continued, “wrestling and bingo were not the ways in which Watford’s theatre should have to carry on.”

[September 27, 1963]

Millions shared our thanksgiving

Watford Congregational Church had its largest-ever congregation for its family harvest thanksgiving service on Sunday morning. The service, in which young and old took part, was seen on Independent Television. The church was beautifully decorated and the service was conducted by the Minister, the Rev. Raymond H. Norman. The service started with a traditional harvest hymn: “Come yet thankful people, come.” Then the children were seen handing their harvest gifts to the wives of the Church deacons.

[September 27, 1963]

What was happening in the world in September 1963?

• An unidentified visitor to Lenin’s Mausoleum in Moscow enters the shrine with a bomb and detonates the explosive, killing himself and causing damage and injuries (September 1)

• 100,000 people in two Japanese cities demonstrated against the presence of American nuclear submarines (September 1)

• For the first time ever, black students register at white schools in the segregated state of Alabama (September 4)

• British prostitute Christine Keeler is arrested for perjury, after witnesses establish she had lied under oath in the criminal trial of Aloysius Gordon in the course of the Profumo Affair (September 5)

• The Ankara Agreement was signed in the capital of Turkey, providing for the gradual entrance of Turkey into the European Economic Community (September 12)

• Russian dramatist and KGB agent Yuri Krotkov defected to the west while in London (September 13)

• The Beatles and The Rolling Stones performed in the same show for the first and only time, appearing at a concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London (September 15)

• Rioters burned down the British Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, in protest at the formation of Malaysia (September 18)

• The first successful prenatal blood transfusion in history was performed in New Zealand (September 20)

• At the United Nations, US President John F. Kennedy proposed a joint moon mission between the US and the Soviet Union (September 20)

• South Korea began its commitment to the Vietnam War, sending the first of over 300,000 soldiers (September 22)

• Dominican Republic President Juan Bosch was overthrown in a military coup, only seven months after he had become the nation’s first democratically elected leader (September 25)

• After only one day on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, bank robber Carl Close was arrested in South Carolina (September 26)