A snapshot of life in December 1995

Budget boost for crime fight

Retailers in Watford worried about rising crime are a step nearer getting closed circuit television after Tuesday’s budget. Their hopes of tightening security in the town centre were boosted after Kenneth Clarke announced his plan to install 10,000 cameras nationwide. Shopkeepers in The Parade and the High Street have met with police and Watford Council over the last few months to discuss the possibility of introducing CCTV. But previous bids for Government cash all failed and they were left to address problems of vandalism and shoplifting alone. Now they hope their bid for cash will be answered.

[December 1, 1995]

Residents spurn company’s goodwill gesture

Invitations to sneak film previews at Woodside Leisure Park are being turned down by residents who campaigned against the development. Cinema group Warner Bros, which has built the £8million complex at Kingsway, Garston, has offered the previews to people living nearby to make up for aggravation suffered while the complex was being built. But members of North Orbital Residents Action Group (NORAG) will be turning down its invitations, despite Warner Bros’ claim that it discussed the idea with the group’s committee. More than 500 residents have been invited to the preview screenings. They have been offered the choice of three movies, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, Father of the Bride Part II and Jurassic Park.

[December 8, 1995]

Heroes in town

It was a small affair but the fans loved it. Punk band The Stranglers gave a rare treat to Watford music lovers on Tuesday when they performed three numbers inside Past and Present Records in St Albans Road. Warming up for their gig at the Colosseum that night, they had the fans in the packed shop tapping toes and nodding heads to tracks off their new album, About Time. Original band member JJ Burnel said he liked such small venues because it allowed him to get close to his long-term supporters.

[December 8, 1995]

Warner boss predicts end for Cannon

The boss of Warner Bros, which opens a multiplex cinema in Watford next year, says the days are numbered for the humble Cannon Cinema in the town. Mr Peter Dobson, Managing Director of Warner Bros (UK) Ltd, told the Watford Observer he could not see the tiny cinema in Merton Road lasting the distance when his monster eight-screen multiplex is up and running “Unless money is invested into the Cannon it will not survive,” he said. But Cannon’s assistant manager Miss Janice McCormack said: “We have no plans to close. We will not give up without a fight.” The multiplex, built on the site of a former golf driving range, will have its official opening with film celebrity Julie Walters on January 17. But the Cannon, which is now in its 85th year, says its prices will keep the old faithfuls coming to the auditoria.

[December 15, 1995]

Town centre takes Victorian turn

The merry spirit of Victorian Christmas past comes to High Street, Rickmansworth, tonight as traders, shoppers and revellers step back in time for some festive fun. Traffic will be diverted from the High Street from 5pm this evening to make way for the annual Rickmansworth Victorian Evening. As well as late night shopping until 9pm there will be a host of attractions, including children’s rides, Punch and Judy, side shows, charity stalls, old-fashioned pipe organ music and a performance by the Phoenix Morris dancers. The evening will be rounded off by a grand firework display and promises to be as successful as the past two years.

[December 15, 1995]

Carnival knocked for 1996

Carnival organisers have delivered an unseasonable double blow with news that two of Watford’s oldest family events, the horse show and the carnival, are to be scrapped next year. The decision to cancel the horse show after more than 60 years was taken reluctantly by the Watford and District Carnival Association at an extraordinary meeting. The association says the event will no longer by financially viable because of limitations on showground space imposed as a result of the resurrection of a cricket square and outfield in Cassiobury Park. The council has deemed the area out of bounds for show vehicles and horses. The committee decided the carnival should also fall by the wayside because without the horse show there would be insufficient funds to organise it. The carnival’s fate in future years hangs in the balance.

[December 22, 1995]

What was happening in the world in December 1995?

• NASA’s Galileo Probe enters Jupiter’s atmosphere (December 7)

• American rock band The Grateful Dead break up (December 7)

• Playboy goes back on sale after a 36 year ban in Ireland (December 15)

• Queen Elizabeth II advises “an early divorce” to Lady Diana Spencer and Charles Prince of Wales (December 20)

• The city of Bethlehem passes from Israeli to Palestinian control (December 21)

• The lowest ever UK temperature of -27.2 °C (−17.0 °F) is recorded at Altnaharra in the Scottish Highlands (December 30)

• The final original Calvin and Hobbes comic strip is published (December 31)