Watford gets peace – at last!

Watford residents may well have been surprised yesterday by a marked reduction in the amount of disturbance from overhead circling aircraft. This was because the Garston holding beacon for aircraft bound for Heathrow was yesterday withdrawn from service and replaced by facilities at Bovingdon. The effect of this change has been to move the “stack” of incoming aircraft six miles north-west of Leavesden airfield and away from the built-up area of North Watford.

[November 13, 1970]

Hypermarket on its way

A “hypermarket” – a mammoth supermarket selling all types of goods – may be built at Garston. An outline application has been received to develop a 14-acre site at the junction between Bucknalls Lane and the North Orbital Road. The “hypermarket” will be based upon the “Carrefours”, huge French supermarkets which are proving a success. The shop itself, said a spokesman, will cover about 145,000 square feet, with free parking for about 1,200 cars and customers’ petrol point.

[November 20, 1970]

Milton Keynes magnet

The proposed new town of Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire could relieve employment pressure in South West Herts – if firms move out of this area to the new town. This is one of the possibilities mentioned in “A strategic plan for the South-East”, which has just been published by the South-East Joint Team. The County Planning Committee thinks the report should be welcomed as a major achievement in regional planning and as an example of the highest cooperation between local authorities and central government.

[November 20, 1970]

More are seeking the sun

More and more people are taking their holiday in winter, and they are travelling further and further afield. This was the main message at a conference for travel agents at the Caledonian Hotel, Watford, on Monday. A few years ago one million people went abroad on holiday each year. Now, five million go overseas, many of them to places as far afield as South Africa, South America and New Zealand. As rain poured down outside, the agents heard that, in coming years, more people will be “sun-seeking” in winter. The Canary Islands and North Africa were the most popular resorts for people who want to get away from mid-summer crowds and mid-winter blizzards.

[November 20, 1970]

Six day shopping week?

It now seems certain that a six-day shopping week is emerging out of Watford’s closing day chaos. This week it was announced that Clements had decided to abandon Monday closing in favour of six-day trading. This means that of the four stores which introduced a five-day shopping week in 1966, only Trewins of Queens Road are now sticking to all-day Monday closing. Many smaller shops and members of the public still tend to regard Wednesday as the town’s official early closing day. In announcing the decision to switch to six days, the managing director of Clements, Mr Richard Edmonds, said: “On balance we would have preferred our regular Sunday-Monday break, but more and more shops are reverting to Monday opening and the High Street is now almost as busy on a Monday as on a Tuesday or Thursday.”

[November 27, 1970]

Met-LMS link the answer?

Renewed pressure for a 50-year-old plan to link the Met line with the old LMS main line to Watford Junction is contained in a memorandum to the Minister of Transport from the National Council of Inland Transport. The council’s secretary, Mr Roger Calvert, points out the advantages of such a scheme to travellers from Northwood and Harrow, who would have direct access to the High Street, Watford Junction and main line services to the North of England.

[November 27, 1970]

Great day at the fair

About this time of year churches and organisations throughout Britain participate in those uniquely English functions, fairs and bazaars. The first was held at the beginning of the month and they will continue throughout the rest of November and December. Fairs and bazaars attract thousands of people who come to stock up on homemade jams and preserves, to buy oddments at cut-rate prices, and perhaps to spend a little money on something they don’t really want, just because the profit goes to a good cause. Whatever the motives, the people of Watford turn out in force – witness a four-deep queue from the Town Hall steps to the roundabout half an hour before the West Herts Association of Women’s Clubs Autumn Fair was due to open on Saturday.

[November 27, 1970]

What was happening in the world in November 1970?

• Egypt, Libya and Sudan announce their intentions to form a federation (November 8)

• For the first time in five years, an entire week ends with no reports of United States combat fatalities in the Vietnam War (November 10)

• A 120mph tropical cyclone hits the Ganges Delta region of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), killing 500,000 people (November 13)

• The Soviet Union lands Lunokhod 1 on the Moon, the first roving remote-controlled robot to land on another world (November 17)

• The Miss World 1970 beauty pageant, held at the Royal Albert Hall in London, is disrupted by Women’s Liberation protesters (November 20)

• In Tokyo, militia leader Yukio Mishima and his followers take over the headquarters of the Japan Self-Defense Forces in an attempted coup d’état. After his speech fails to sway public opinion, he commits seppuku (public ritual suicide) (November 25)

• Bolivian artist Benjamin Mendoza tries to assassinate Pope Paul VI during his visit in Manila (November 27)