A snapshot of life in October 1987

Plan to merge with London

Watford, most of Three Rivers, much of Hertsmere and a section of St Albans would combine to become the London Borough of Colne, taking the M25 as its northern boundary under secret plans drawn up by the Labour Party. Watford and Hertsmere Constituency parties are to meet to consider the plans. Labour has been shaken by the disclosure of the proposals privately circulated by the Hertsmere party among the secretaries of the four districts involved. The proposed area on reorganisation would take in Watford, Rickmansworth, Bushey, Abbots Langley, Borehamwood, Croxley Green, Radlett, Bricket Wood, South Oxhey, Eastbury, Maple Cross and Shenley. Talk of a megaborough has been widespread among council officers and party officers for some time.

[October 2, 1987]

Motors buy-out bid support

Watford’s MP Tristan Garel-Jones has stepped into the fight to save the doomed Scammell Motors plant by urging the Government to look favourably on a management buy-out plan. The Tory MP, who angered Scammell’s workers and union chiefs by defending the closure of the 65-year-old factory earlier this year, has written to Trade and Industry Secretary Lord Young in support of the proposal. His intervention follows confirmation last week that a management consortium has made a formal bid for the Tolpits Lane factory, recently renamed Special Trucks Ltd. The buy-out plan has the full backing of unions who see it as the only way of guaranteeing a future for the factory following the announcement in February that it would be axed by summer 1988.

[October 9, 1987]

Care complex for old hospital site

A new concept in healthcare is planned for Watford on the Peace Memorial Hospital site. Work will start on the £9million, 8,000 sq metre development next summer if plans revealed this week get Department of Health and Watford Borough approval. The one, two and three storey configuration grouped around courtyards and a pond, will take two years to build. A casualty of the development could be the familiar frontage of the Peace Memorial Hospital. Mr David Kelmsley, South West health district strategy director, said no promises could be made that it will be saved.

[October 16, 1987]

In from the cold

Trevor and Linda Horwood have every right to be proud of their little bundle of life… for tiny Thomas William, who weighed in at 6lbs 13ozs on Saturday morning, is no ordinary baby. His entry into the world is thanks to the miracles of modern science after starting life as a frozen embryo. The technique of freezing embryos was introduced to Trevor and Linda by a private London clinic but is still very uncommon and Linda was warned that it had a low success rate. She is overjoyed that their efforts have paid off.

[October 16, 1987]

It’s that sand again!

Motorists in the Watford area woke up on Wednesday morning to find their cars coated with a thick layer of Saharan sand. The grimy particles were carried from North Africa by a southerly wind and deposited in Britain on Tuesday night in the form of rain. This was the fourth time sand had fallen this year.

[October 30, 1987]

Showbiz opening of new superstore

The biggest superstore inside the M25 opened showbiz-style on Monday to the sound of Dixieland jazz. Don Hoffmann, the Mayor of Watford’s US namesake, a tiny town in North Dakota, was flown in for the occasion. He and his wife Betty rolled up in a 20-foot-long Cadilalc Limousine for the grand opening ceremony of the Asda superstore. Watford has never seen a shop on quite this scale. Stretching in a vista down the length of the huge hall are 47 computerised checkouts, while the car park resembles a mini city with zebra crossings, road signs and all.

[October 30, 1987]

Hospital rescue campaign

Aldenham Parish Council has joined the battle to save the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore. The council unanimously backed a proposal pledging its support for the hospital which will be sent to the North West Thames Regional Health Authority and the Government. The health authority wants to transfer the hospital from its present Stanmore site to Chase Farm in Enfield, but the council’s primary concern is the closure of the accident unit.

[October 30, 1987]

What was happening in the world in October 1987?

• Swedish home product retailer IKEA opens its first British store in Cheshire (October 1)

George Michael releases his new single, Faith (October 6)

• Sikh nationalists declare the independence of Khalistan from India (October 7)

• 200,000 people march for gay and lesbian civil rights in Washington DC (October 11)

• £1,000,000 Operation Deepscan in Loch Ness fails to locate the Loch Ness Monster (October 11)

• Hurricane-force winds hit much of southern England, killing 23 people and causing extensive damage (October 15-16)

• On Black Monday, stock market levels fall sharply on Wall Street and around the world (October 19)

• Two commuter trains collide head-on on the outskirts of Jakarta, Indonesia, killing 102 people (October 19)

• Champion English jockey Lester Piggott is jailed for three years after being convicted of tax evasion (October 23)