Carry on, Barbara!

Actress Barbara Windsor will “carry on” coming to Watford if her luck keeps in. For within the space of a couple of minutes on Tuesday morning she spent and won back a pound in the new Borough of Watford “instant” lottery which she officially started. Miss Windsor was welcomed to Faircross Newsagents near Watford Pond by the owner, Mr George Flemming. He then took her into the shop, where she brought the first ticket from Watford’s Mayor, Councillor Sam Deakin.

[July 7, 1978]

New row over airport

Concerned at the alleged increase in night flying at Leavesden Airport and the risk to residents of an aircraft crash, Watford councillors are to look into ways to stop flights during “unsocial hours”. “Sooner or later, there is going to be a major air disaster unless something is done,” Councillor Louise Tibbles warned fellow members of Watford Borough Council. There is also the problem of noise, and Councillor John Watts has received more complaints from residents in the last month than ever before.

[July 7, 1978]

Ban on clock

The striking of the Watford Town Hall clock is not to be silenced. Watford Estates Sub-Committee recommended to the town’s Management Committee they should approve the silencing of the clock. The Management Committee did not go along with this idea, however, and decided instead to fit a device to the clock to stop it striking between 11pm and 7am each day.

[July 7, 1978]

Cardinal’s visit

Christian living and what is expected of Christians was the theme of a sermon given by Cardinal Basil Hume at a thanksgiving mass at St Saviour’s Church, Abbots Langley, on Sunday, at which he was chief concelebrant. His visit marked the golden jubilee of Breakspear College, headquarters of the Salvatorian Fathers.

[July 7, 1978]

Watford hospital shock

People could be disappointed when Watford’s new £111m hospital is opened. There is to be no expansion in the service, and waiting lists for admission could be as long as they are at the moment. Modern facilities and buildings, and a new operating theatre suite, could make it possible to handle more patients, but not unless sufficient money is made available for more medical, nursing and other back-up staff.

[July 14, 1978]

Uncovering the past

Watford’s Lower High Street, it seems, has rich pickings underground. But only if your bent is the patient and delicate science of archaeology. This tumbledown area of Watford, soon to be flattened and facelifted by the planners, is adding much to the historical map of the town, thanks to the South-West Herts Archaeological Society. They are tidying up one of their digs right now, and have uncovered evidence of medieval housing, an old well and pottery.

[July 14, 1978]

Lover shot in grass

Farmhand - -, out shooting rabbits on a June afternoon, saw the long grass move and fired both barrels of his 12-bore shotgun. Then up from the grass stood a tall curly-haired man with a brown beard – and no trousers. The man had gone into the field to make love to his girlfriend, the High Court was told on Tuesday. The force of the shots blasted his head out of his girlfriend’s lap. He is claiming damages for his injuries, being now permanently blind in one eye and scarred on the face. The farmhand denies negligence and claimed it was a “pure accident”.

[July 21, 1978]

Wheels ‘78

From giant puppet wrestling to helicopter rides, Watford Round Table’s “Wheels ‘78” spectacular at Langleybury over the weekend really took off! A total of over 15,000 people visited the two-day event at Fir Tree Hill. Despite the dangerous nature of many of the events – witness the death-defying leap over a dozen parked cars by a local stuntman – there were no injuries to competitors or spectators over the entire weekend.

[July 21, 1978]

School hits target

Not so much ‘up, up and away’ as ‘up, over and out’ when high winds put paid to the planned balloon rides at the Watford Boys Grammar School summer fete on Saturday. The force five winds bowled over the balloon before it had the chance to become airborne, and all the hot air escaped. The fete, however, was not a financial flop. The target of £2,000 was reached without any difficulty.

[July 28, 1978]

TV to blame

Certain types of television films and shows were accused on Tuesday of playing a big part in the escalation of vandalism among young people. County Councillor Walter Hill urged people to write letters of complaint to television companies whenever they saw productions which could have a bad effect. Vandalism is causing concern and creating considerable strain on police manpower. The overall picture is rather disheartening.

[July 28, 1978]

What was happening in the world in July 1978?

• Former US President Richard Nixon makes his first public speech since resigning in 1974 (July 1)

• The Northern Territory of Australia becomes self-governing (July 2)

• The Taunton sleeping car fire kills 12 people in Somerset (July 6)

• The Solomon Islands become independent from the United Kingdom (July 7)

• Pioneer Venus 2 is launched to explore Venus as part of NASA’s Pioneer program (July 8)

• Nearly 100,000 demonstrators march on Washington DC for Equal Rights Amendment (July 9)

• The American Nazi Party holds a rally at Marquette Park, Chicago (July 9)

• A bloodless military coup in Mauritania, west Africa, causes President Moktar to flee (July 10)

• The BBC ban the Sex Pistols song ‘No One is Innocent’ (July 13)

• General Juan Pereda leads a military coup in Bolivia (July 21)

• Louise Brown becomes the world’s first human born from IVF, in Oldham, Greater Manchester (July 25)

• Penny Dean swims the English Channel in a record seven hours and 40 minutes (July 29)

• A gunman shoots his way into Iraqi Embassy in Paris (July 31)