Saved by sandals

Three-year-old Valerie Skinner cheated death twice on Tuesday. Her new plastic sandals saved her from instant death when she touched a live electric rail behind her home in Cardiff Road, Watford, and then mechanic Bob Grossman snatched her from the busy line only seconds before several trains thundered past.

[April 3, 1964]

Have planners been ruthless?

First reactions to Watford’s central area redevelopment plans are meagre and conflict from ‘too good’, ‘ruthless’, and ‘efficient’ to ‘unexciting’. “Technically efficient, but not exciting,” says Peter Clark, President of Watford Chamber of Commerce. First reaction from Mr O.V. Metcalfe, Watford Manufacturers Chairman: “Car parking facilities will still be inadequate.”

[April 3, 1964]

Actual bodily harm

A husband, living apart from his wife, who, it was stated, returned home at midnight and found his wife in the bedroom with the man-next-door, was bound over on Wednesday for occasioning actual bodily harm to the man he found there.

[April 3, 1964]

Vicar’s wife

Following a number of thefts from Watford Parish Church, the church will now be kept locked when it is unattended. Boxes had been broken into, books had been stolen, and recently the vicar’s wife had met a young man in the church, wearing gloves and ready to break into one of the boxes. She had personally driven him out of the church, said the Vicar.

[April 10, 1964]

Children bullied

Aldenham Parish Council was worried on Tuesday by reports of small children being ‘bullied and victimised’ by older boys on the Phillimore Recreation Ground in Radlett. Members were told that many of the children were now refusing to use the ground, following incidents such as one in which a boy had his football slashed nearly in half. It was agreed that perhaps the police might pay more regular visits to the scene.

[April 10, 1964]

University for Hertfordshire?

Hertfordshire may have a new university. Discussions have been taking place, and representatives of Herts County Council are to meet the Minister of Education shortly to discuss the matter fully.

[April 17, 1964]

Athletes tune up for Olympics

Local athletes are now getting down to their marks for their bids to compete in the Olympic Games in Tokyo at the end of the year. Regarded as one of Watford Harriers’ brightest hopes is javelin man John Greasley, joint holder of the UK record with a best of 260 feet.

[April 17, 1964]


One of the most popular forms of modern religious teaching is by song and music, and a group of young men well trained for work of this kind visited Watford at the weekend. The Venturers are all theological students training at South Norwood College, near Croydon, and in the summer most of them will be ordained as Baptist ministers. On Saturday they played to over 100 teenagers at Beechen Grove Baptist Church hall.

[April 24, 1964]

What was happening in the world in April 1964?

• Brazil's President João Goulart fled Rio de Janeiro as rebel units of the Brazilian Army Corps approached the city to carry out a coup d'état (April 1)

• Malcolm X gave his speech, ‘The Ballot or the Bullet’, in Ohio, calling on African Americans to reconsider the policy of nonviolent resistance in pursuit of equal rights (April 3)

• The Beatles held the top five positons in the Billboard Top 40 singles in America, an unprecedented achievement (April 4)

• The first Prime Minister of Bhutan, Jigme Palden Dorji, was shot and fatally wounded by an assassin (April 5)

• Vatican City became associated with the United Nations, allowing it to participate in the UN General Assembly (April 6)

• The United States launched its first Project Gemini spacecraft (April 8)

• A tornado in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) destroyed numerous villages and killed over 500 people (April 11)

• In Newfoundland, a Ford dealership made the first sale of a Ford Mustang (April 14)

• Sentences totalling 307 years were passed on the 12 men who carried out the Great Train Robbery (April 16)

• The Rolling Stones released their first album (April 16)

• Jerrie Mock arrived in Ohio, becoming the first woman to make a solo round-the-world flight (April 17)

• Nelson Mandela made his ‘I Am Prepared to Die’ speech (April 20)

• BBC Two, the third television network of the UK, launched programming at 11am with the first episode of Play School, an educational programme aimed at preschool children (April 21)

• The 1964 New York World’s Fair opened to celebrate the 300th anniversary of New Amsterdam being taken over in 1664 by British forces and being renamed New York (April 22)

• Convicted Nazi war criminal Walter Zech-Nenntwich escaped from a West German maximum security prison. He would surrender three months later (April 22)

• Thieves stole the head of the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen (April 24)

• The United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar officially came into existence after the two East African republics voted to merge (April 26)

• The first animatronics replication of a human being – a figure of Abraham Lincoln – was unveiled to visitors to the New York World’s Fair (April 29)