A snapshot of life in June 1970

Lodge is demolished

Watford Borough Library records department is anxious to hear from anyone who has an old picture of the lodge in Oxhey Park which has just been demolished. So would the Borough Engineer’s Department of Watford Town Council. Work on the demolition started, by order of the Town Council, who were advised a few weeks ago that preserving the building would cost too much. Little is known about the history of the lodge, but the library confirmed that there was no preservation order attached to it. Several of our readers have written, or telephoned, complaining about the demolition which they say is unwarranted. It is rather surprising, however, that so little is known about this mock Tudor building, and that nobody at the Town Hall thought of photographing it before knocking it down.

[June 5, 1970]

Last chance to see cellar

Kings Langley’s huge medieval cellar in the grounds of the old palace at the New School, will be on view to the public during the whole of tomorrow (Saturday) and Sunday. It will be a last opportunity to view the cellar, discovered by archaeological diggers in April, for the Ministry of Public Works and Buildings, which organised the dig, has decided that preservation of the cellar, in its exposed state, would be too costly. Says Mr J.B. Wells, a teacher at the school: “The walls cave in each time it rains, and as the archaeologists have now got all the information they want about the cellar, the answer, we are advised, is to fill the place up again.” The cellar is thought to be the wine cellar of the old palace.

[June 12, 1970]

Concert ban lifted

Watford Town Hall has given the Herts Apprentices another chance, and they will be staging a folk-pop concert there on June 26. The Herts Apprentices were less than a fortnight ago banned from holding any further concerts at the Town Hall after pop fans had damaged furniture and furnishings there during a concert featuring the Edgar Broughton Band. But a spokesman for the Apprentices said on Wednesday the Town Hall had given them another chance and if there was no repetition of the damage caused during the last show they may be allowed to hold further concerts there after the Town Hall refurbishing is completed in September.

[June 12, 1970]

The way ahead

It’s all over, including the shouting! The non-stop flow of rival slogans, claims and criticisms, which must have wearied candidates and party workers while confusing as many electors as they convinced, now gives way to a new parliament where the big issues must now be given shape under scrutiny. We have taken no sides while the election campaign was raging, and do not intend to flog the dead horse, but feel free to make a comment or so. Slower to die, perhaps, will be the call for a referendum on whether Britain should join the Common Market. In Watford, two candidates were against entry and pointed to the higher food prices which would ensue. The third candidate favoured entry as a means of greater long-term prosperity. In industrial Watford, both factors are important, but they are still only skeletal signposts for a referendum on so vital an issue. Many more relevant facts need stating.

[June 19, 1970]

Water boatmen strike

A number of local children were taken home frantic with irritation and, in some cases, feeling dizzy and unwell, after swimming in Rickmansworth Aquadrome at the weekend. All, it seems, had been bitten by underwater beetle-type insects known colloquially as “water boatmen”. An Oxhey mother whose daughter was confined to bed through the bites was extremely angry when she spoke to a reporter. “When you pay to go to a place where swimming and boating are advertised, you don’t expect this sort of thing to happen,” said Mrs Shirley Lewis, of Oxhey. “Some sort of warning should be displayed.” And that is precisely what has now been done. Warning notices, said Deputy Clerk of Rickmansworth Council J. Doran, were being erected, and arrangements made for the weeds, on which these insects feed, to be cut down. This is the first year that the problem has arisen and it is thought to have some connection with the mysterious death of fish in the lake some two years ago.

[June 26, 1970]

Mr Watford dies

The man who laid the foundation stone of Watford Town Hall, Mr T. Rigby Taylor, of Stratford Road, Watford, has died. While in Norway with a party of Rotarians and their wives he suffered a stroke. He died in Stord hospital, without regaining consciousness. His wife and daughter were with him. Mr Rigby Taylor, Rigby to his friends, and popularly referred to as “Mr Watford” in acknowledgement of his close association over half a century with so many aspects of the town’s life, leaves a wife (formerly Elsie Christmas, who ran a dancing school at Oakley Studios), and two sons and a daughter by his first wife. Through his father, Thomas Taylor, he was a descendent of an old Hertfordshire family who farmed in the county for over 100 years.

[June 26, 1970]

What was happening in the world in June 1970?

• The first artificial gene is synthesised (June 3)

• Tonga gains independence from the United Kingdom (June 4)

• The Who become the first act to perform rock music at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York (June 7)

• Bob Dylan is given an honorary Doctorate of Music at Princeton University (June 9)

• The United States gets its first female generals, Anna Mae Hays and Elizabeth P. Hoisington (June 11)

• The Long and Winding Road becomes the Beatles’ 20th and final single to reach number on in the US (June 13)

• The Conservative Party win the UK general election and Edward Heath becomes Prime Minister (June 18)

• Following the arrest of politician Bernadette Devlin, riots erupt in Derry and Belfast leading to a prolonged gun battle between Irish republicans and loyalists (June 27)