A snapshot of life in February 1972

National Front moves in

On Saturday the National Front motorcade through Watford passed off quietly, according to a police spokesman. “It was very quiet, they almost slipped through unseen,” commented the spokesman. About 10 cars with National Front stickers formed the motorcade, followed by a police van. After the motorcade members of the South Herts branch of the National Front distributed anti-immigration leaflets in the High Street. “There was only one incident, a bit of a row with some hippies,” said Mr Peter Applin, National Front branch organiser.

[February 4, 1972]

Moving to a decision

While supporters chafe at the delay, another week goes by without a real sign that the situation at Vicarage Road is resolving itself. Mr Leslie Wise’s takeover bid for Watford Football Club still stands; Mr Jim Bonser, the man at the head of the club’s affairs, says that the offer is far from satisfactory – without, however, turning it down. Meanwhile, petitions in support of Mr Wise’s bid circulate, and there is talk – surely foolish in the light of the club’s position – of boycotting Saturday’s game with Middlesbrough. Fanned by Mr Wise’s offer, the feeling caused by the slump in Watford’s playing fortunes is now so intense that it seems only some infusion of new blood in the boardroom will restore public confidence.

[February 11, 1972]

Power crisis

Vital water, gas and sewage disposal services in Watford and South West Herts are safe for the time being from the effects of the power crisis. There has, however, been considerable disruption of local industry, with many factories on short time. Meetings and social functions have been re-arranged or cancelled and entertainments curtailed. Shops and offices, as well as householders, have been hit. Some supermarkets have closed during power cuts. Schools reported back after the half-term break on Wednesday, but several face heating problems.

[February 18, 1972]

Big run on wax

Power cuts bring troubles for some – but not for others. Business is booming at the All-craft shop in Market Street, Watford, who on Saturday and Monday alone estimated they had sold six hundredweights of candlewax for make-your-own candle enthusiasts.

[February 18, 1972]

Meet Black Beauty

A good film star must know how to take a bit of publicity, even if it does take somebody to hold your head in the right direction for the cameras. And that is something that seven-year-old Black Jet will have to learn, for he has just earned the part of Black Beauty in a series being filmed by London Weekend Television. On Tuesday, amid the glare of publicity, a film crew took test picture at Fieldways Farm, Rickmansworth, where Black Jet is kept by his owner, Mr Reg Dent. Lord Willis has written the pilot script for the series of half-hour programmes. Filming will be entirely on location around Rickmansworth, mainly at the adjacent Stockers Farm.

[February 25, 1972]

School milk to cost £8,000

If milk is supplied to junior schoolchildren in Watford rural district, ratepayers will face a bill of £8,000. That is the estimated cost of the scheme each year. Council representatives and heads of 15 junior schools will meet today to find practical arrangements. All being well, the scheme will start in April.

[February 25, 1972]

Changing names

Uniformity and neutrality in all things and in all costs seems to be the motto of the powers that be these days. Watford Rural Council’s latest bid to remove Bedmond’s offending “Porridge Hill” from the face of the map in favour of the more respectable-sounding “Church Hill” is just one further example of the porridge-coloured thinking at the top! Many people have watched with dismay and some irritation the uprooting of healthy, wooden signposts of charm and character to make way for anonymous metal affairs. But a rose by any other name smells as sweet, so what possible justification can there be for attacking our typically English and highly individual place names, with all their historic associations?

[February 25, 1972]

What was happening in the world in February 1972?

• Following the funerals in Derry of 13 of the people killed by British paratroopers in Northern Ireland on Bloody Sunday, a 25,000-strong mob pours into Dublin’s Merrion Square and burns down the British embassy (February 2)

• A state of emergency is declared throughout the UK by Prime Minister Edward Heath as the coal miners’ strike continues (February 8)

• David Bowie opens his concert tour with his new alter ego, Ziggy Stardust (February 10)

• A patent is granted to inventor Willem J. Kolff for the first artificial heart (February 15)

• The Volkswagen Beetle breaks the record for the most popular automobile in history, as the 15,007,034th Beetle is produced (February 17)

• Richard Nixon becomes the first President of the United States to visit the People’s Republic of China (February 21)

• Seven people are killed by an IRA bomb outside the headquarters of the 16th Parachute Brigade in Aldershot, England (February 22)

• The Addis Ababa Agreement brings an end to the First Sudanese Civil War after more than 17 years and more than 500,000 deaths (February 27)