Bandstand plea

A plea for the disused and rapidly deteriorating bandstand in Cassiobury Park to be repaired and preserved has been sent to Watford Town Hall – by a Bushey housewife. An artist, one of whose paintings incorporating the bandstand has been sold and sent to America, Mrs Erica Adams, of The Avenue, Bushey, has described the bandstand as “one of the most beautiful structures in Watford”. Mrs Adams said this week: “When much of Watford is going and such things as motor cycle racing, fairs and army displays are allowed in the park, it would be nice to preserve our elegant bandstand so that we could occasionally enjoy some good old-fashioned brass band concerts.” But the regrettable fact is that bands do not seem to want to use the old bandstand, and the outlook for the existing structure is not too hopeful.

[November 5, 1971]

Closed for the last time

One of Watford’s oldest firms closed at the end of last week. It was Alfred Walker’s, the coach-builders, established in 1837. At one time the firm employed about 25 staff, but there were only four left to get their cards last week. All have found new jobs, says Mr G. Coles, a former director. He called the news of the closure of the firm, which was well-known in the district, very sad.

[November 5, 1971]

‘Too much violence and sex’

Watford’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr A. Shaw, hits out in his annual report at the emphasis in the entertainment industry on violence, sex and dishonesty. He calls attention to its effect on mental health and says the only thing to do to put a stop to it is “to protest, to protest loudly and on every necessary occasion”. Says Dr Shaw: “It is said that a visitor from another planet, judging us on our entertainment media, would see a pretty ghastly, awful picture concerned mainly with violence, sex and dishonesty. We have reached the stage where people who have the courage to declare publicly their opposition to this current madness are made to look like figures of ridicule by the same media.”

[November 12, 1971]

A new Observer service

One of the primary duties of a local newspaper is to reflect the changing scene of the district it serves. Since 1863 the Watford Observer has faithfully reported events affecting all sections of the community, and hopes to continue that role for many years to come. Already the town has embarked upon the biggest upheaval in its history, with massive road works transforming its appearance. Soon the municipality itself is to merge after 50 years as a borough. The Watford Observer has changed much in those years, too. Production techniques and the format of the paper itself have moved with the times. Now a third dimension is to be added to its already widely-read news and feature service. A publicity and promotions department has been launched which will provide professional facilities for industry, commerce and leisure and pleasure organisations.

[November 19, 1971]

‘A41 is madness’

“Sheer madness” – that’s how Watford MP Raphael Tuck describes the proposed official lines of the A41 motorway at Hunton Bridge, in a letter to the Rt. Hon. John Peyton, Minister for Transport Industries. And his reason, he says, is that the route proposed would cut Langleybury School from its catchment area and destroy its environment and hinder its growth. The Watford MP was commenting on and forwarding a letter from the headmaster of Langleybury School, Mr John Bates. Mr Bates points out that of the school’s 600 pupils, 597 would have to cross the new motorway by the proposed bridge in Langleybury Lane.

[November 19, 1971]

‘Scrap service?’

The Mayor’s Chaplain, the Rev. Leonard West, hit back at people who say Remembrance Day should be scrapped in his address at the annual civic service in Watford Town Hall on Sunday. “The modern young man and woman must be excused for his or her attitude. They did not know, they did not see the victims of war,” he told the congregation of about 600 people. He admitted that many of the young generation today would suggest the service should be discontinued. It was very difficult for them to realise the full meaning and significance of Remembrance Day services. Some people would rather donate gifts to Christian Aid or Shelter than to Earl Haig’s Poppy Fund.

[November 19, 1971]

Market sparks row

The start of the Sunday market at Watford football ground and the resulting use of nearby streets for parking sparked off a petition from the residents concerned drawing attention to the situation. Cllr Roy Deane told the Watford Observer that he was approached by one or two residents after the Sunday market, who told him parking on Sunday in addition to parking all the week was “the last straw”.

[November 26, 1971]

What was happening in the world in November 1971?

• Led Zeppelin release their officially untitled fourth studio album, which goes on to become the biggest selling album of the year (November 8)

• Mariner 9 becomes the first spacecraft to successfully enter Mars’ orbit (November 13)

• The Compton inquiry is published, acknowledging that there was ill-treatment of internees in Northern Ireland, but rejecting claims of torture (November 16)

• A British soldier is shot dead by the IRA in Belfast (November 18)

• Women from all over the US show support for abortion rights with marches on Washington DC and San Francisco (November 20)

• Fighting breaks out in the Boyra peninsula, signalling the start of the Indo-Pakistani War (November 21)

• During a severe thunderstorm, D.B. Cooper parachutes from the plane he hijacked, with $200,000 in ransom money, and is never seen again (November 24)

• Soviet Mars 2 becomes the first spacecraft to crash land on Mars (November 27)