Estate life faces collapse

Sport and social life in South Oxhey is in danger of total collapse with the closure of Chilwell Gardens Community Centre. Nine football teams, a youth club, a mentally and physically handicapped youth club, table tennis, bingo and a mother and toddlers group are run from the centre by Oxhey Jets. Jets founder Mr John Elliott has said his club will close after 17 years if the centre is not reopened. Other groups are also at risk because similar facilities elsewhere will be too expensive.

[September 2, 1988]

Postie pickets

Post boxes were sealed throughout the area on Wednesday as just under 600 Watford postal workers joined a one-day national strike. Workers at the Watford sorting office in Ascot Road reported a 100 per cent turnout for the 24 hour stoppage called by the Union of Communication Workers.

[September 2, 1988]

Breaking the ground for shopping complex

Workmen started up their bulldozers this week as clearance work began to pave the way for the £100million shopping city which will change the face of Watford. The Mars 1 development took its first step forward as contractors set to work on the now closed Clifford Street car park site. More than 400 workmen will play their part over the next three and a half years in building 130 shops, stores and a food court. Work will include linking the new complex to the existing Marks and Spencer, British Home Store and Littlewoods shops. It will also connect to Charter Place, which has also been earmarked for refurbishment.

[September 2, 1988]

New moves to protect cabbies

Taxi drivers in Watford could soon be protected by toughened glass screens or fitted alarm systems to tackle the worrying upsurge in violent attacks on cabbies. The drastic measures are among the options to be discussed at a special meeting next week. Transport and General Workers Union official Mr Peter Martindale said the increase in violence in Watford is part of a growing national problem. He said: “It has got to the stage that we have got to make a fuss about what is happening.”

[September 9, 1988]

The sale of the 80s

The Elton John of yesteryear went under the gavel at Sotheby’s this week and made the rock star chairman of Watford Football Club a cool £1million in just a few hours. Zany stage costumes, the weird and the wonderful and a selection of valuable jewels were up for grabs in London as Elton fans from across the globe gathered for day one of a four day sale of the century. Buyers flew in from the States and Australia with cash to spend on unique mementoes of their Rocket Man hero. Elton put a price tag on his possessions after he decided to clear out his Windsor mansion.

[September 9, 1988]

Historic pub destroyed

Part of Bushey’s heritage was reduced to a pile of rubble this week much to the amazement and horror of conservationists and locals. The 200-year-old Kings Head pub, in Little Bushey Lane, was demolished on Tuesday. Now councillors are calling for an urgent inquiry to find out why the Grade II-listed building was razed to the ground. Hertsmere planners had given Benskins brewery developers permission to refurbish the historic pub and add a small extension. But as underpinning work got under way, a back wall collapsed and rendered the whole building unsafe. Council officers were on site to inspect the building and agreed it had to come down.

[September 9, 1988]

Sky high view of Watford

Photographer Mike Dellow is living proof that the Watford Observer is a newspaper to be looked up to. For on Monday thousands of people looked skywards to see the unmistakeable Virgin Airlines hot air balloon glide through the skies above the town, and the Observer’s leading lensman was on board to record the event.

[September 9, 1988]

Secret hotel scheme

Historic Moor Park Mansion would be immersed in a massive 14,000 square metre complex of hotel, leisure, conference and golfing facilities under plans kept secret by Three Rivers for 10 months. The £10million plan has never been shown to the public. The hotel chain has refused to reveal it. But this week the proposal was leaked to the Watford Observer, however no planning application has been lodged with the council.

[September 16, 1988]

Puma on the prowl

A wild puma has moved into Watford after weeks of stalking through the North West London area. Pet owners and parents of small children are being warned about the beast and police say the animal is not to be approached. It was seen at 10am on Sunday prowling through waste ground in Greenbank Road, Watford. Last week it was seen in Bushey and Metropolitan police revealed they had experts from London Zoo on standby.

[September 23, 1988]

Censorship calls for Christ film

A bid to ban the controversial film The Last Temptation of Christ in Watford was narrowly defeated by councillors on Monday. Conservative Councillor Mrs Irene Tunstall Dunn told the committee that not one of the people who had rung her had been in favour of the film. But Labour Councillor Terry Lester said nobody would be forced to see the film.

[September 23, 1988]

What was happening in the world in September 1988?

• Mike Tyson crashes his BMW into a tree in New York (September 4)

• INXS win at the fifth MTV Video Music Awards (September 7)

• In Estonian SSR, 300,000 protesters demonstrate for independence (September 12)

• Hurricane Gilbert devastates Jamaica (September 12)

• The Museum of the Moving Image opens in London (September 15)

• The 1988 Summer Olympics are held in Seoul, South Korea (September 17)

• General Prosper Avril takes control of the country following a coup in Haiti (September 18)

• Bon Jovi release their fourth album, New Jersey (September 19)

• Diver Greg Louganis hits his head on the springboard during the Olympics and suffers a concussion, but goes on to win two gold medals (September 20)

• The Ocean Odyssey drilling rig suffers a blowout and fire in the North Sea (September 22)

• New York City’s Rockefeller Centre is declared a national landmark (September 26)

• NASA resumes Space Shuttle flights after a two-and-a-half year grounding following the Challenger disaster (September 29)