New threat to Green Belt

Property developers have posed a new threat to Hertfordshire’s Green Belt by warning of a growing shortage of housing land coupled with rocketing demand for new homes. The claim comes in the wake of proposals for 20,000 new homes in the county by 1996 – including extra building in the Langleys, Oxhey and Bushey.

[September 6, 1985]

Daredevil leap

Fearless stunt ace Captain Havoc came desperately close to smashing the world car jump record amid astonishing crowd scenes at Bovingdon Airfield on Sunday. The daredevil driver was only 12 feet short of the mark when his specially adapted Jaguar XJ12 ploughed into the last two cars in a line of 40 vehicles. But later the Captain – whose real name is Tony Lawrence, of Breakspear Way, Abbots Langley – claimed that he would have made the jump had he not been hampered by scores of surging spectators who almost forced the leap to be cancelled.

[September 6, 1985]

Drinking ban lifted

Soccer chiefs have been given permission to sell alcohol in four bars at Watford FC’s Vicarage Road ground. They have been given an exemption to sell alcohol after a blanket ban on the sale of drink was imposed at the start of the season under the new Sporting Events Control of Alcohol Act. “The club prides itself on its community spirit and the family atmosphere it provides,” said solicitor Alan Piper. “The granting of the facility to sell alcohol will enhance that atmosphere with no risk whatsoever of abuse.”

[September 13, 1985]

Revenge trip

A bloody battle looked likely when up to 30 Harefield youths armed themselves for a revenge mission against a rival Watford gang. The gang gathered on the village green with a frightening arsenal of weapons – including thick wooden poles, hammers, a large metal stake, a car jack and a carving knife. They boarded a fleet of cars to set off for a confrontation with the Watford youths who had invaded Harefield armed with baseball bats the previous day. But the Harefield lads turned tail when they reached Watford town centre and were met by a man swinging an axe, magistrates were told.

[September 13, 1985]

Witches and crystal balls

Friday 13 is the appropriate date for the start of a Psychics’ Festival in Watford’s Caledonian Hotel. Clairvoyants, astrologers and even witches will be reading their Tarot cards and gazing into their crystal balls for the public today, tomorrow and Sunday. One of the organisers, Steve Lawrence, said that many people are now becoming attracted to “alternative” medical treatments, such as acupuncture and aromatherapy, which are also to be included in the festival.

[September 13, 1985]

Visitor from Albert Square

Fans of Gretchen Franklyn, the actress who plays Ethel Skinner, a 65-year-old widow, in the BBC television programme EastEnders, were thrilled to meet her in person on Saturday. Gretchen is a great favourite with residents at Woodlands, a home for the elderly in Oxhey Drive, South Oxhey, so she received a warm welcome when she opened a fair at the home.

[September 13, 1985]

Doctor’s success

Bushey doctor Brian Bintcliffe must feel as if he really can walk on water after winning a major national water ski championship. Being crowned British National Senior Water Ski Champion may have been just what the doctor ordered, but the result left Brian stunned.

[September 20, 1985]

Lab pioneers

Blood samples could soon be checked for AIDs antibodies using a computer program developed by a Watford laboratory. Bio-Rad Laboratories of Greenhill Crescent claim that the system will enable researchers and doctors to check hundreds of blood samples in a matter of minutes. It should help blood transfusion centres and research centres which need to check blood from large numbers of donors.

[September 20, 1985]

Arthur’s court lives on

An Arthurian pageant staged at Patchetts Green Equestrian Centre on Sunday attracted a crowd of about 4,000 – and raised £5,000 for the Save the Children Fund through takings on the gate alone. The pageant featured a dramatic retelling of the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. In the evening, the centre’s indoor riding school was transformed into a banqueting hall where the revellers were entertained by fire-eaters, tumblers and minstrels.

[September 27, 1985]

What was happening in the world in September 1985?

• The wreck of the RMS Titanic in the North Atlantic is located by a joint American-French expedition, 73 years after it sank (September 1)

• Hurricane Elena makes landfall on the US Gulf Coast (September 2)

• The 20th space shuttle mission returns to Earth (September 3)

• Rioting, mostly motivated by racial tension, breaks out in Birmingham (September 9)

• Scotland national football team manager Jock Stein collapses and dies from a heart attack at the end of his team’s draw with Wales (September 10)

• Super Mario Bros. is released for the Nintendo Entertainment System (September 13)

• Margaret Thatcher’s hopes of winning a third term in office at the next general election are thrown into doubt by the results of an opinion poll (September 17)

• An earthquake in Mexico city kills an estimated 10,000 people (September 19)

• Walt Disney World’s 200-millionth guest (September 20)

• The Brixton riots are sparked with the shooting of Dorothy ‘Cherry’ Groce by the Metropolitan Police (September 28)