Bones are human, say police

The bones, dug up two weeks ago outside the Watford Observer office by men laying drains, are human remains. Police, who took the bones for investigation, have confirmed this, but it is all quite in order. A police spokesman explained: “St Mary’s Churchyard extended right across to Loates Lane many years ago and this was probably an ordinary grave.” The bones have now been buried in consecrated ground. No explanation is offered, however, for an antler found buried with the bones.

[October 3, 1969]

Horror campaign

A “horror campaign” to warn children of the dangers of drug-taking was suggested by a Watford member of Hertfordshire County Council on Wednesday. The suggestion was made by Labour councillor Mr D. Maurice. But divisional medical officer, Dr A. Shaw, said he was opposed to horror tactics as a means of health education. Dr Shaw said there was no more “mass drug addiction” in South West Herts than in any other part of the country or county. There were a number of heroin addicts but all these were under treatment. One objection was that highlighting the problem would only stimulate young people’s curiosity. But the subject had been much in the forefront by the attitude of pop stars and it had also received widespread publicity in the press.

[October 10, 1969]

Plea for firm fails

The Watford MP’s request for an emergency debate in the Commons on the closure of the Handley Page factory was refused by the speaker on Tuesday. Mr Raphael Tuck claimed that it was an urgent and important issue, because 500 men had just received notice and a further 4,200 were about to receive theirs. He said it was important from a defence point of view, because our whole fleet of Victory bombers had been built by Handley Page. The RAF now required these bombers to be converted into tanker aircraft. This work was lodged with Handley Page, and if they were closed down and the work went elsewhere, it would mean an extra cost of about £10million.

[October 17, 1969]

Search for Pied Piper

The manager of a Watford car firm is looking for a “pied piper” to rid the River Colne of some of its rats. Mr Richard Pearse, manager of Glenne Motors Ltd, which is situated on the river bank, fears possible health dangers. Recently, rats stole a mechanic’s lunch, said Mr Pearse. And on other occasions he has seen them running along the High Street. With other factories, industrial premises and houses nearby, the rodents could become a menace, he declares.

[October 17, 1969]

Speedway coming to Watford?

A motor cycle speedway may be coming to Vicarage Road. Watford are currently in negotiation with two or three promoters who consider the Vicarage Road arena ideal for motor cycle speedway and could become the major centre of the south.

[October 17, 1969]

Up she goes!

Eight Norwegian maple trees, each costing in the region of £50, arrived in Watford on Tuesday for beautification of the town centre. Seven of them were planted in the first High Street precinct – between Market Street and Clarendon Road – to form a main feature of the borough’s £6,000 landscaping scheme at present being carried out in that area.

[October 24, 1969]

School empty after 100 years

Last Friday saw the transfer of 70 Sarratt children from their old JMI school in Church Lane to the new one on The Green. It was the last of a series of evacuations, and now, for the first time since it opened in 1862, the old school stands empty and unused.

[October 31, 1969]

What was happening in the world in October 1969?

• The Concorde 001 test flight breaks the sound barrier (October 1)

• Monty Python’s Flying Circus first airs on BBC One (October 5)

• The opening rally of the Days of Rage occurs, organised by the Weather Underground in Chicago (October 8)

• Blues artist Muddy Waters is involved in a car crash that kills three (October 11)

• Three people are shot dead during street violence in the Shankill area of Belfast (October 11)

• An unofficial strike amongst British mineworkers begins over the working hours of surface workers (October 13)

• The UK introduces the 50p coin, replacing the ten shilling note (October 14)

• Hundreds of thousands of people take part in Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam demonstrations across the US (October 15)

• General Siad Barre comes to power in Somalia in a coup, six days after the assassination of President Abdirashid Ali Shermarke (October 21)