Pot smokers in national count

A Watford man is finding out how many would use marijuana if it were legal. Mr John Guy, 38, says there is no justification for the “pot” laws. He says police are turning users into criminals. In a survey called Operation Headcount, he aims to count the country’s likely marijuana users. Mr Guy said: “The law regarding pot is ridiculous and on the evidence available today there is no justification for it.”

[November 3, 1972]

Do we want tourists?

Tourism in the Thames and Chiltern districts of England is increasing at around 10 per cent each year, according to the area’s tourist board, of which Watford Borough Council is a member. The Thames and Chiltern Tourist Board have launched a new membership drive among the 95 district councils and five county areas they cover. Mr Christopher Jennings, 33-year-old director of the board, said: “Some councils have said they won’t support us because they don’t want tourists. But this is nonsense, because tourism in this part of England is growing at about 10 per cent per annum and there is nothing that any council can do to stop it.”

[November 3, 1972]

Park plea

When consideration is given to the proposals for the future development of Cassiobury Park the need for retaining some of the quiet areas and rusticity enjoyed up to the present should be uppermost in the minds of all concerned, Councillor Arthur Naylor declared at Watford Town Council meeting on Monday. The council have agreed to the calling of a public meeting to discuss the “new look” proposals for the park put forward in a report by the parks and recreation grounds manager. These include a four and a half acre boating lake, a new paddling pool, a large model railway, with ornamental gardens and possibly an aviary. Cllr Naylor recalled with what joy the people of Watford heralded the acquisition of Cassiobury Park for the borough, and the outcry there was when the park gates were demolished. “It is abundantly clear that the park is something of great importance to the people of Watford,” he said.

[November 10, 1972]

Father Christmas comes to town

Crowds of cheering youngsters thronged Watford High Street precinct on Saturday morning to greet the arrival of a Very Important Person – not Danny Osmond, or even Guy Fawkes, but a far more traditional idol – Father Christmas. The portly white-bearded gentleman came to take up residence in his enchanted woodland cottage at Cawdells store.

[November 10, 1972]

Banners at bridge ceremony

Scores of police and demonstrators surrounded a government official as he opened the Watford flyover in darkness on Monday. Demonstrators waved banners with slogans such as “Houses before roads” and “Public transport comes first” as Mr Keith Speed stood on a floodlit dais. Marlborough Road residents gave a petition to a government under-secretary. They want their road to stay one-way. But there was no disorder as, in front of the spectators, Mr Speed cut the tape and opened the Exchange Road bridge at 5pm. Dignitaries then drove through the crowd to tour the new road system.

[November 10, 1972]

Over 1,000 trees for axe

More than 1,100 elm trees in the county will have to be felled because of Dutch elm disease. All are either dead or dying. Just over 300 have already come down. In all, 1,133 trees have been marked for felling and 224 notices have been served requiring the owners of diseased trees to fell them.

[November 17, 1972]

Club’s big moment

It was a nostalgic occasion for older members of the Oxhey Services Club, when their new £35,000 building was opened in Hallowes Crescent on Saturday. In 1950, members of the club self-built a hut near Carpenders Park Station, in which to hold their meetings. Since then they have saved hard for a new building. At the opening ceremony, Mr Gerald Ladell, who has been secretary and treasurer of the club for 20 years, said: “This is our great day, for which we have scrimped and struggled over the last 20 odd years. This is our finest hour. We are all very proud of our new building.”

[November 24, 1972]

What was happening in the world in November 1972?

• Five members of the American Indian Movement take over the office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington and hold it for seven days (November 2)

• A group of 132 sailors on board the USS Constellation began what has been described as ‘the first mass mutiny in the history of the US Navy’ (November 3)

• In the US presidential election, Richard Nixon wins re-election by a landslide over George S. McGovern (November 7)

• Southern Airways Flight 49 from Alabama to Montgomery is seized by three hijackers, who demand a $10,000,000 ransom. The plane lands two days later in Cuba, where the hijackers are jailed by Fidel Castro (November 10)

• Berry Oakley, bass guitarist for The Allman Brothers Band, is killed in a motorcycle accident in Georgia (November 11)

• Wealthy socialite Barbara Day Baekeland is stabbed to death by her son in London (November 11)

• A protest of 100 students at Southern University in Louisiana is broken up with tear gas. Two students are killed by a shotgun blast (November 16)

• After 17 years in exile, Juan Perón returns to Argentina, where he had been President from 1946 to 1955 (November 17)

• British daredevil Stephen Ladd dies in Epping when his motorcycle fails inside a 50 yard long tunnel of fire (November 21)

• In the first episode of the fourth season of Sesame Street, the character of The Count is introduced (November 27)

• Atari Games releases the arcade version of Pong (November 29)