A snapshot of life in March 1991

It’s tough at the top

Mothercare knew it was on the scent of a good idea when Comic Relief asked if it would like to put a five foot building nose on the front of its Watford headquarters. Along with 1,000 other prominent companies throughout the country, Mothercare was approached by the Comic Relief 1991 team and offered a magnificent building-sized red nose. In return, the company was asked to donate £1,000 to the appeal. Mothercare, based in Cherry Tree Road, Watford, was only too happy to oblige and now an easily visible, giant red hooter is attached to the front of its offices.

[March 1, 1991]

Plan for hospice fund

A massive appeal for a Watford hospice will be launched within the next two months. The trustees of the Peace Memorial Hospital had been hoping South West Herts Health Authority would agree to the site being used for a hospice. But the final decision has still not been made and the trustees felt it was time their intention to launch a hospice appeal was made public. Mrs Gill Hollander, chairman of the trustees, said: “The Peace Memorial building is considered ideal by all the experts who have been consulted but if it is not available the appeal will have to be made for sufficient funds to include the acquisition of a suitable site.” The appeal will be named the South West Hertfordshire Hospice Appeal and will be on an even bigger scale than the Watford Scanner Appeal, which raised more than £1million.

[March 15, 1991]

Dome rivals get ready

The decision to hold a public inquiry into the development of the Woodside Leisuredome has been greeted with delight by residents who have fought against it for three years. They thought the Department of Environment’s announcement last Thursday that an inquiry would be held within the next six months was “absolutely marvellous”. Mr Ed Martin, chairman of the North Orbital Residents’ Action Group (NORAG), said they had already sought legal advice. “We do not know when the inquiry will be but we will be ready. Everyone on the estate is behind us. We must have a case because there is nowhere else in this land where there is a complex of this size, with litter, noise and car parking problems, in a residential area.”

[March 15, 1991]

County backs boys plan at Westfield

Talks with parents to turn Westfield School into a mixed school have been given the go-ahead. County councillors agreed on Wednesday that consultations should begin with parents, staff and the west Watford community over plans to start admitting boys from next year. The move follows the decision by Westfield governors in December to request a move to mixed entry as soon as possible. It was, they argued, the only way to solve the problem of falling rolls and ensure the future viability for the school.

[March 22, 1991]

Land sale to pay for rail link

London Underground has revealed details of an ambitious scheme to link the Metropolitan Line with the British Rail Croxley branch line, in a move that could bring through travel to thousands of commuters. The £15million link-up, to be achieved by construction of a new viaduct across Watford Road near Cassiobridge, Croxley Green, would allow Met line commuters from Baker Street through travel to Watford High Street and Junction stations. It would give Met line users from the Amersham direction direct access to central Watford. In a further development, London Underground indicated that obstacles to funding had been removed and that a £6million contribution from Hertfordshire County Council and Three Rivers District and Watford Borough Councils was no longer being sought. The alternative method of funding was by development of land, probably for housing, and which would be freed by the possible closure of Watford Met station. To compensate West Watford station would be rejuvenated.

[March 29, 1991]

Atlas uncovered at food court

This is the view thousands of Watford shoppers have been waiting to see. It is the statue of Atlas, currently under protective wraps, which will be unveiled when the new food court at the Harlequin shopping centre opens on Tuesday. The statue rises from the food court to the first level of the shopping centre with the world rotating on Atlas’ shoulders. It will overlook the food court, which will offer seven different types of food from kiosks.

[March 29, 1991]

What was happening in the world in March 1991?

• Massive demonstrations are held against President of Serbia Slobodan Milošević in Belgrade; two people are killed and tanks are in the streets (March 9)

• A curfew is imposed on black townships in South Africa, after fighting between rival political gangs kills 49 (March 11)

• After 16 years in prison for allegedly bombing a pub in a Provisional IRA attack, the ‘Birmingham Six’ are freed when a court determines the police fabricated evidence (March 14)

• Four LA police officers are indicted for the videotaped beating of Rodney King during an arrest (March 15)

• The US and Albania resume diplomatic relations for the first time since 1939 (March 15)

• President of Poland Lech Wałęsa becomes the first Polish president to ever visit the US (March 19)

• Georgia votes for independence from the Soviet Union (March 31)