Race track warning

Greyhound racing organisers at Watford’s new Vicarage Road track have been threatened with closure if they continue to flout a council licensing condition. The Greyhound Racing Association were given permission to race at Watford Football Club’s stadium providing they match conditions laid down by the town council – including a crowd limitation of 500. But on Monday councillors heard that the first afternoon meeting, a fortnight ago, drew a crowd of 840. “They have quite openly flouted the law,” said Councillor Harry Price. Licensing Committee chairman Mrs June Green said the first meeting drew a large crowd because it was nationally advertised. The second meeting attracted 390 punters and the third 260.

[November 1, 1974]

It’s just not the time

Are we, or are we not, in a position of financial crisis? According to the Government and the financial experts we certainly are, but one would hardly have thought so from Watford councillors’ hankering on Monday for a twinning link with Russia. Despite a warning about the great distances involved and the cost of travelling, the council’s management committee still decided to ask the officers to investigate the possibility of forging new links with Eastern Europe. We hope the new council will decide that their present twinning arrangements with Nanterre and Mainz are sufficient for the moment and nip this latest idea firmly in the bud. It is a time when local authorities are being pressed to trim their financial sails, and the public, already being warned that they must be prepared to make sacrifices, are entitled to demand that their council should do so.

[November 8, 1974]

The big shoe stoppage

A strike which saw more than 30 pupils absent from Sir James Altham School, South Oxhey, on Monday is temporarily over but the issue of platform shoes that disrupted the school is far from resolved. Trouble began on Monday when classes of girls had to line up and show their shoes to teachers. Those with platform heels over 2 ½ inches high were sent home to get more suitable footwear. But the following day, about 30 of them did not return and declared themselves as being on strike. They claimed that the shoes were suitable for school wear and that other footwear was out of fashion. But the headmaster, Mr John Burrow, maintained that the shoes are injurious to health and can cause damage to the pelvis which would result later in life in difficulties during pregnancy. His disciplinary action against the girls – he is to set them to work to make up for the time they missed – has been supported by the school governors.

[November 15, 1974]

Sex film comes to Watford

The controversial film Sex Farm has been given the “all clear” for showing in Watford. The decision to permit showing in the borough was reached by a 5-3 vote of Watford Borough Council’s Public Health and Licensing Committee. The view expressed by the board and members of the viewing committee was that the film went beyond current taste, contemporary attitudes and undermined accepted moral standards. “I think that this attitude is misconceived, presumptuous and reactionary. I think the public should be protected from films that glorify the use of hard drugs, violence, racial hatred and the sexually bizarre, but not from this sort of trite sexual romp,” said Councillor Bonney.

[November 22, 1974]

Father Christmas

Father Christmas drove his horse and cart through Kings Langley on Saturday, on his way to the Community Centre, where he spent the afternoon in a grotto at the Christmas bazaar organised by Kings Langley Women’s Institute. Like the Pied Piper before him, he attracted large numbers of children (and parents), which may have been why the event raised £100 more than the last bazaar, held two years ago.

[November 29, 1874]

Estate nearly ready

Building works are approaching completion on the first block of the new five-acre development which forms part of the Otterspool Way Trading Estate in Watford. The balance of the estate is planned as six factory and warehouse units. Watford is one of the most highly sought-after industrial locations in the south-east, with rents for new premises established at £2 per sq ft.

[November 29, 1974]

A reflection of the times

It is a reflection of the times that there is a need for an organisation like the Samaritans, and in Watford their work is increasing to the point where they need help. During the first nine months of this year, 1,277 people have dialled the Samaritans for the first time. Nearly 800 of these calls were from women. “There are a lot of lonely wives,” says Samaritan Alan. “They are able to cope during the day and evening, but things come to a climax when the children are in bed, and they can’t sleep at night. Perhaps they do not know where their husband is, or they are going through a divorce and cannot face it. It is then they telephone us in a bit of a state. We like to think we can help them help themselves.”

[November 29, 1974]

What was happening in the world in November 1974?

• 78 people die when the Time Go-Go Club in Seoul, South Korea, burns down (November 2)

• Judith Ward is sentenced to life imprisonment for the M62 coach bombing which killed 12 people (November 4)

• Lord Lucan disappears after the murder of his children’s nanny (November 7)

• McDonald’s open their first UK restaurant in Woolwich (November 13)

• ABBA begin their first tour of Europe (November 16)

• In Birmingham, bombs planted by a Provisional IRA member explode, killing 21 people (November 21)

• John Lennon makes his last concert appearance, at Madison Square Garden (November 28)

• A special memorial service for Coco the Clown is held at St Paul’s Cathedral in London (November 29)