A snapshot of life in October 1984

Mary Berry in town

What many of us seek, cooking-wise, are recipes suitable for entertaining which are delicious but easy to prepare and made with first-rate ingredients readily available. Right? If this interests you, an enjoyable morning lies ahead. Mary Berry, perhaps best known for her cookery in the Thames “A-Plus” programme, will be demonstrating on the theme, Entertaining at Home, at the Watersmeet Centre. The show is being presented at various places around the country by Marks and Spencer during this their centenary year. It has been a sell-out at all the venues so far.

[October 5, 1984]

Return of monument

A piece of Watford’s heritage has been restored to its former glory. The 16ft obelisk – which once marked London’s boundary for coal trains coming into the capital – has been repaired and re-erected in the Water Fields Recreation Ground, Ebury Road. The imposing stone slab is a monument to the country’s industrial heritage. It was put up in the late 19th century to mark the point beyond which a special shilling duty was levied on every ton of coal coming into London.

[October 12, 1984]

Boost for High Street

There was a warm welcome this week for plans by Tesco to develop a giant superstore for Watford’s Lower High Street. It is hoped that the £11million redevelopment would revitalise that area and in addition provide jobs for 400 people. The superstore will be on a mainly derelict 15-acre site between Lower High Street and George Stephenson College in Water Lane. Instead of the “huge box” look common to some supermarkets, the superstore is going to have pitched roofs, good quality brickwork and red roof tiles. Tesco will be contributing towards the implementation of parts of Watford’s central highways network. This will not only improve access to the site but will generally assist in solving some of Watford’s long-standing traffic problems.

[October 12, 1984]

Open all hours

Phase 3 of Watford General Hospital is ready. Seven wards and the x-ray department will open when patients are moved into the block on November 20. Services there will include 300 medical and surgical beds, four operating theatres, an x-ray department, a 38-bed children’s unit, an intensive therapy unit, an outpatient department and an accident and emergency department.

[October 19, 1984]

Courage in adversity

Twice in the space of a few hours, major incidents affecting the lives of local people have focused our attention on the emergency services. Millions watched on the television news as rescue and recovery work was carried out at the scene of Thursday evening’s commuter train crash involving a number of local people. Millions watched on television the next morning as firemen comforted and then freed Government Minister Norman Tebbitt and others from the shattered wreckage of Brighton’s Grand Hotel. Of course, it was not only the firemen – there were the men and women of the ambulance services, the doctors and nurses, and police officers too. All of them are taken for granted most of the time, and yet they always respond instantly to our needs. It is a comment on our society that their efforts are only recognised and praised at terrifying times like these.

[October 19, 1984]

Watch scheme

Jokes about nosy neighbours are a thing of the past in many areas of South West Hertfordshire thanks to the innovation of Neighbourhood Watch, which celebrated its first birthday this month. An import from the West Coast of the United States, Watch is the scheme whereby people co-ordinate into groups and undertake to keep a caring eye on the community and to raise the alarm for police if the need arises. Watch was introduced to Moor Park 12 months ago. Since then crime has been reduced by almost a third.

[October 26, 1984]

What was happening in the world in October 1984?

• Aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger, astronaut Kathryn D. Sullivan becomes the first American woman to perform a space walk (October 11)

• The Provisional Irish Republican Army attempts to assassinate Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and the British Cabinet in the Brighton hotel bombing (October 12)

• The world learns from BBC News television reports presented by Michael Buerk of the famine in Ethiopia (October 23)

• The Terminator, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, is released (October 26)

• Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi is assassinated by her two Sikh security guards in New Delhi. 10,000 to 20,000 Sikhs are killed in ensuing riots (October 31)