A snapshot of life in June 2004

Music centre wins approval

A new music venue to rival that of The Colosseum is to be built in Watford. On Tuesday, Watford Council agreed planning permission for the £5million new music centre, which will be built at Watford Grammar School for Boys in Rickmansworth Road. The four storey glass structure is a partnership between the grammar school, Watford School of Music and Hertfordshire Music Service. The modern glass building is designed to be in distinct contrast to the school, a Grade II listed building built between 1910 and 1912. However, residents and councillors expressed concerns that the centre, which will be positioned in front of the school, would detract from it. They fear the glass structure could resemble the much criticised green pyramid, The Peace Children’s Centre, in Rickmansworth Road.

[June 4, 2004]

Traders vow to pull together

Traders in St Albans Road have vowed to pull together, bring back shoppers and make the area a more welcoming place to be, it was announced this week. Action plans are being drawn up following news Carey Stationers, which has been trading for almost 50 years, is to close because of fierce competition from shops in Watford town centre and the lack of adequate parking for shoppers. Many other businesses feel they will have to do the same unless they can encourage residents to use the local amenities and pull in more customers from people driving up and down the busy road.

[June 4, 2004]

Hospital blaze biggest for years

A massive fire broke out at Watford General Hospital on Saturday night. The blaze, described as the biggest in Watford for a decade, could be seen for miles across the town. The fire took hold in the 100-year-old Bradford wing, a brick building with a timber-framed slate roof. The one-time ward, which is not a listed building, is now used for storage. Ten crews containing more than 40 officers from across west Hertfordshire attended the scene at 9.40pm. Within minutes of officers arriving, the fire had spread to the roof. According to sub officer Muncer, the fire was under control within two hours. However, officers remained on site until 5am on Sunday extinguishing the flames. The fire is still being investigated by the police and the fire service but a representative for the West Hertfordshire Hospitals Trust, in charge of Watford General, said it looked suspicious. There was nobody in the building at the time of the fire.

[June 11, 2004]

Cyclists celebrate path improvements

People are being urged to get on their bikes next week to celebrate the completion of improvements to the Ebury Way cycle path. Hundreds are expected to jump in the saddle at 5pm on Wednesday to follow the old railway link between Rickmansworth and west Watford. The path forms part of the National Cycle Network. One group of cyclists will leave from Rickmansworth, while the other will leave from Watford. The two groups will meet up at 5.30pm at the site of the new ramp on Ebury Way, for a glass of champagne to mark the official opening of the ramp.

[June 11, 2004]

Cash injection aids Watersmeet

Rickmansworth’s theatre has received a five figure cash injection towards the £150,000 it needs to continue operating. This week Watersmeet Trust launched its first corporate partnership with a £25,000 donation from Barclays. Staff at the bank also did their bit for the theatre by giving up time to give four of the theatre’s dressing rooms a makeover. The £25,000 donation will be used to fund projects aimed at the older sector of the community. The theatre is in the first stages of management by an independent trust, following a handover in April this year,

[June 25, 2004]

What was happening in the world in June 2004?

• Norway becomes the world’s second nation after Ireland to ban smoking in all bars and restaurants (June 1)

• North Korea bans citizens from using mobile phones (June 4)

• Former US President Ronald Reagan dies at the age of 93 from complications of Alzheimer’s disease (June 5)

• The first same-sex marriage takes place in France (June 5)

• Gunmen attack a BBC news team in Riyadh, South Africa, killing cameraman Simon Cumbers and seriously injuring correspondent Frank Gardner (June 7)

• Musician Ray Charles dies due to liver failure at his home in California (June 10)

• Apple Computer launches its iTunes Music Store digital music service in the UK, France and Germany (June 15)

• SpaceShipOne, the first privately and commercially funded aircraft, successfully embarks upon its maiden flight into outer space (June 21)

• The gun which Gavrilo Princip used to assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand is found in a house in Austria and will be put on display in the Vienna museum of military history (June 24)