A snapshot of life in November 1989

Mill’s ghostly secrets

Ghostbusters from London spent all night on Halloween set on monitoring spooky spectres in a haunted Rickmansworth mill. Six members of the Enfield Parapsychic Investigation Group spent the night at the 18th century Scotsbridge Mill, which has been recently renovated into a Beefeater Steak House, to prove one way or the other whether the building was haunted. Reports of ghostly sightings stretch back hundreds of years and to such an extent that, in 1973, Catholic priest Father Lemmon carried out an exorcism in the building. However, no ghostly sights appeared to the group.

[November 3, 1989]

New hope for burn victims

Surgeons at the pioneering Mount Vernon Hospital in Northwood say complete face transplants could become a reality. “On the horizon are developments such as whole face grafts from donors for people with serious facial burns,” said senior plastic surgeon Roy Sanders. A two-year-old girl who suffered 45 per cent burns when her clothes caught fire was recently saved by a new plastic surgery technique developed at Mount Vernon. She is the youngest of only seven patients in the world to benefit from the new skin grafting technique.

[November 3, 1989]

Dawn devastation

A quiet street in Bushey became a disaster scene on Saturday when a massive gas blast reduced two homes to rubble and damaged 69 others. Miraculously there were no deaths and the owners of the two devastated houses in Wayside Avenue were rescued by firemen soon after neighbours raised the alarm. Five teams, ambulance crews and police arrived in minutes. A bitter taste has been left in the residents’ mouths in the knowledge that the day before gas board technicians found nothing after being called to the road to check out a reported leak.

[November 10, 1989]

Made in Bushey

Millionaire Richard Branson will be relying on technology developed in Bushey if his trans-Pacific balloon crossing meets a premature watery end. His balloon capsule will be fitted with an automatic beacon developed by Graseby Dynamics, of Park Avenue, Bushey, which will send out a distress signal automatically if he has to ditch. The Virgin Atlantic chairman and balloonist Per Lindstrand are expected to start the first ever attempt at the 6,200 mile crossing of the Pacific from Japan to America in the next few days.

[November 17, 1989]

Princess ‘celebrates’ new scanner

Princess Michael of Kent visited Watford General Hospital for the second time in three years on Monday, to unveil a plaque celebrating the inauguration of the new CT scanner. Almost 200 guests were present for the official launch and representatives from all organisations that helped with the scanner appeal were invited. The Princess was at the hospital in 1986 to open a wing named after her, and became president of the appeal then. The scanner is now in the Princess Michael of Kent wing.

[November 17, 1989]

Carols by floodlight

A chorus of voices will raise the roof and the spirit at Vicarage Road stadium in December – but there won’t be a football in sight. The occasion will be Watford Football Club’s first ever Christmas carol concert, which will be attended by television soccer commentator John Motson. Organised in conjunction with local churches, the Carols by Floodlight evening will kick off at 6.30pm on December 22. Music on the night will be provided by the Harrow Salvation Army Band and song sheets will be given to everyone who attends.

[November 24, 1989]

Jerry for Palace

The Broadway hit show Bus Stop starring the model turned star Jerry Hall opens the 1990 season at Watford Palace Theatre. Last minute negotiations were taking place this week but Artistic Director Lou Stein was able to confirm yesterday that the show will open here prior to a West End run. The wife of rock star Mick Jagger is due to start rehearsals in Watford on January 2.

[November 24, 1989]

What was happening in the world in November 1989?

  • The border between East Germany and Czechoslovakia is reopened (November 1)
  • Half a million people protest against communist rule in East Germany (November 4)
  • Douglas Wilder becomes the first elected African-American Governor in the United States (November 7)
  • East Germany opens checkpoints in the Berlin Wall, allowing its citizens to travel freely to West Germany for the first time in decades (November 9)
  • Brazil holds its first free presidential election since 1960 (November 12)
  • A peaceful student demonstration in Prague is severely beaten back by riot police. This sparks a revolution aimed at overthrowing the communist government (November 17)
  • In West Beirut, Lebanese President Rene Moawad is killed when a bomb explodes near his motorcade (November 22)
  • The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia announces they will give up their monopoly on political power (November 28)