Girl’s dream come true

When 16-year-old Watford Grammar School girl Sheila Liberty wrote to the Observer seeking a meeting with Cliff Richard she hardly dared hope that her wish would become reality. But on Friday the Observer, by special arrangement with Cliff’s manager, took Sheila, of Addiscombe Road, Watford, along to the Gaumont to meet Cliff before his show there. Afterwards Sheila said: ‘He was wonderful although he was not as tall as I thought he would be.’

[April 5, 1963]

‘Sluttish Langley’

Clean up Abbots Langley… That was the tenor of a report given by the Chairman of Abbots Langley Parish Council, A. Short, at the annual parish meeting on Friday. “We want to have the parish cleaner and less sluttish,” said the chairman. “We have got to get this sluttishness out of the system and get pride in its place. We have got many beauties in our parish, but our parish is not very beautiful.”

[April 5, 1963]

Will it be banned?

‘Tropic of Cancer’ by Henry Miller, the most controversial book to be published in England since ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’, will not be available at the Central Library… yet! Asked when it would be available for those who wanted to read it, librarian Mr R.C. Sayell said he would rather not comment until he had read it himself.

[April 12, 1963]

Shopping spree

Housewife and mother of three - - (21) of Wood Lane, Hemel Hempstead, admitted at Herts Quarter Sessions last week that she had accompanied a man she had been living with on a shopping spree around local shops, using fake cheques as they went. Together with - - (33), a plumber, of Runham Road, Hemel Hempstead, she pleaded guilty to obtaining a ring from a St Albans jeweller by false pretences. They asked for 10 other offences of a similar nature to be considered.

[April 12, 1963]

Haul of £4,000 in raid

Thieves stole 500,000 cigarettes, worth over £4,000, in an audacious Easter weekend raid on a Watford firm of wholesale tobacconists. The raiders broke into the St Albans Road premises of ophthalmic optician Mr John R. Gunton and smashed through a thick wall into the adjoining premises of Tucker & Co Ltd, wholesale tobacconists and confectioners.

[April 19, 1963]

Shorthand is secret of success

Shorthand typists ought to be redundant, for Dictaphones are now cheaper, smaller and more efficient. Yet, in fact, any fairly bright lady who has learned shorthand and typing can start work at about £7 a week and, after a few years, earn as much as £15 as a secretary. One result of this is that classes at the local further education colleges are full on the first enrolment day.

[April 19, 1963]

Locomotive hit crane

Hundreds of passengers on a crowded Holyhead to Euston express escaped, without a scratch, on Sunday evening, when the diesel locomotive and four leading coaches were derailed at Kings Langley after hitting a mobile crane at work on the next track. The crane driver, Eric Garlick, of Bletchley, leaped from his cab and was taken to Watford Peace Memorial Hospital suffering from shock. Later he was taken home. The driver of the train, Stanley Johnson, of Cheshire, was unhurt and unshaken.

[April 26, 1963]

What was happening in the world in April 1963?

• The Beatles began their spring 1963 UK tour in Sheffield (April 2)

• The Navy of Argentina began a revolt against the government of President Jose Maria Guido (April 2)

• Southern Christian Leadership Conference volunteers kicked off the Birmingham campaign in Alabama against racial segregation in the US (April 3)

• Henry Miller's novel Tropic of Cancer went on sale legally in the UK for the first time, after having been banned for 30 years because it had been deemed obscene (April 4)

• The Soviet Union accepted an American proposal to establish a Moscow-Washington hotline so the leaders of the two nations could communicate directly with each other in order to avoid war (April 5)

• At more than 700 pages the first full Sunday edition of the New York Times since the end of the printer’s strike set a record for the size of a newspaper (April 7)

• Lawrence of Arabia won the Best Picture Oscar at the Academy Awards (April 8)

• Sir Winston Churchill became the first person to be made an honorary citizen of the United States (April 9)

• Lee Harvey Oswald narrowly missed killing former US Army General Edwin A. Walker. Oswald would later use the same rifle to assassinate US President John F. Kennedy (April 10)

• Martin Luther King Jr and others were arrested in Alabama for ‘parading without a permit’ (April 12)

• 70,000 marchers arrived in London to demonstrate against nuclear weapons (April 15)

• Representatives of Egypt, Syria and Iraq signed a declaration in Cairo to merge their three nations into a new United Arab Republic (April 17)

• In Montreal, the terrorist campaign of the Front de liberation du Quebec claimed its first fatality: watchman William O’Neill who died in the explosion of a bomb at a Canadian Army recruitment centre (April 20)

• The US Marine Corps lost its first aircraft to enemy action in Vietnam (April 27)