A snapshot of life in June 2002

£14million boost for schools

Schools throughout Watford will undergo a major facelift in the coming months following a £14million boost from central government. Funds allocated to schools across Hertfordshire for the modernisation of classrooms, science laboratories and technology suites were announced at a meeting of the County Council on Monday night. The money, made available via the DfES as part of an ongoing modernisation scheme and the Seed Challenge, is set to bring a number of schools in the Watford area into the 21st century. Queens School in Aldenham Road, Bushey, is just one of many locally to have benefitted from the modernisation programme, having been awarded a total of £550,000 for the development of a new sixth form block. Rickmansworth School in Scots Hill, Rickmansworth, and Westfield Community School in Tolpits Lane, Watford, have also been allocated an accumulative £700,000 for the building of four new classrooms and the enlargement/refurbishment of a food technology suite.

[June 7, 2002]

Preserving memories of Ovaltine

Ovaltine shut down its production line last week to move to Switzerland but a history group is doing its best to make sure its memory is left behind. The factory in Station Road, Kings Langley, which brought the world the Ovaltinees and a bedtime drink, employed thousands locally during its 95 years in the village. A failed attempt by Three Rivers District Council to preserve the main factory building by getting it listed and the subsequent purchase of the 15-acre site by developers Fairview New Housing, has left people concerned about the future of the site. Although it could do nothing to guarantee the building would remain, Mr Frank Davies, chairman of the Kings Langley Local History and Museum Society, hopes to be allowed to keep the huge Ovaltine sign – a landmark in the village, especially to commuters returning by train from London.

[June 7, 2002]

Residents go a long way in celebrating

Tables loaded with sandwiches and jelly were lined up in a bid to make Watford’s longest street party were part of the Tudor Residents Association’s Jubilee celebrations. In the region of 3,000 people gathered at Knutsford Playing Fields on Bank Holiday Monday for the event, which featured bouncy castles, entertainers and a live band. An army of more than 30 volunteers ensured the day ran smoothly and helped set up a huge table in the middle of the field, which organisers claimed was the town’s longest street party.

[June 7, 2002]

Cup fever brings town to a standstill

Like the rest of the country Watford got off to a slow start on Wednesday morning while England played Nigeria in the World Cup. For once the ring road was not heavy with traffic during the rush hour as most people were at home or already at work watching the game on television. The Moathouse Hotel in St Albans Road laid on Eggs ‘n’ Beckham breakfast for more than 70 people who watched the game in the hotel’s conference room before many went into business meetings. Pupils at Ashfield School in Bushey could not wait to get to school on Wednesday – with about 50 pupils who came in at 7.30am to watch the match at a specially formed breakfast club. Pupils paid 50p admission which was donated to the British Heart Foundation.

[June 14, 2002]

Shopping centre celebrates 10th birthday

Eight fashion shows and an impromptu football sing-song to celebrate England’s World Cup victory over Denmark marked the 10th anniversary of The Harlequin shopping centre in Watford on Saturday. The shows featured more than 50 of the centre’s 150 stores, modelled on a purpose-built stage outside Marks & Spencer. Despite the mass migration of football fans to town centre pubs to watch the England game, the centre remained busy throughout the afternoon with the PA system updating customers of England’s progress. Crowds erupted into chanting, cheering and Mexican waves as it was announced England had won, and giant St George flags were unfurled on the stage.

[June 21, 2002]

What was happening in the world in June 2002?

• Singer Avril Lavigne releases her debut album (June 4)

• Sweden passes a law that allows homosexual couples to apply for the adoption of children (June 5)

• Singer R. Kelly is arrested and charged with having sex with an underage girl (June 6)

• The Bourne Identity, starring Matt Demon, premieres in LA (June 6)

• Serena Williams beats her sister Venus to win the French Open (June 8)

• The first direct electronic communication experiment between the nervous systems of two humans is carried out by Kevin Warwick in the UK (June 10)

• An asteroid the size of a football pitch barely misses hitting the Earth (June 14)

• Europe is declared polio-free by the World Health Organisation (June 22)

• Brazil defeat Germany to win the 2002 FIFA World Cup (June 30)