Women vicars split church

Reactions ranging from delight to prophecies of the end of the national church greeted the House of Lord’s backing of the ordination of women this week. For the area’s women deacons, until now in the highest position they could hold in the Church of England, Tuesday’s decision could be the start of the journey along the road to ordination.

[November 5, 1993]

Mirror taken to court over Elton story

Rock star and life president of Watford Football Club Mr Elton John has been in the High Court this week to sue the Sunday Mirror for damages. He took the paper to court to challenge its allegations that he was hooked on a bizarre diet in which he spat out food without swallowing it. Mirror Group Newspapers has admitted the story was untrue, but has denied it was libellous.

[November 5, 1993]

Equality group raps school tests

The outcry against Watford grammar schools’ decision to introduce admissions testing has been joined by councillors. They say making potential pupils sit ability tests to enter the schools will discriminate against all kinds of children in Watford’s diverse community. Special concern has been raised for children from the ethnic minorities, who may be unable to satisfy the criteria because of cultural differences and language difficulties.

[November 5, 1993]

Invasion of wheely bins

Protesters in Chorleywood and Sarratt are gearing themselves up again to oppose what they call dreaded wheely bins coming to the villages. The threat of the bins arose after Three Rivers District Council announced it would be holding a public consultation into the future of the area’s rubbish. One of the possible options suggested to residents is using the large mobile bins, but it has been opposed immediately. In Chorleywood, parish councillors were united in their opposition, as they had been when the bins were previously proposed seven years ago.

[November 12, 1993]

Armed gang in restaurant raid

Armed robbers in balaclavas held a Pizza Hut manageress at knife-point and forced her to open the restaurant’s safe in The Parade, Watford, last week. The raiders, who got away with £1,050, seized the manageress as she went up to her office with the evening takings at 11.30pm last Thursday. They thrust a black sack over her head, took her into the office, asked her where the safe was, and made her open it. Throughout her ordeal the manageress had an eight-inch knife pointed at her.

[November 12, 1993]

Mayor joins birthday party

The Samaritans gave Watford Mayor Councillor John Horsfield a job he could really get his teeth into in Charter Place on Saturday. He joined Samaritan volunteer Daphne Pullen cutting slices of cake for shoppers, like Mrs Lucy Slowey, who stumbled across the help and advice organisation’s 40th birthday celebrations.

[November 12, 1993]

The sky’s the limit

For nearly 25 years there has been a firework display held in Cassiobury Park – this year was no exception. In fact, the organisers described this year’s festival as “the biggest and the best”. All the normal ingredients were in place – a gargantuan bonfire, stuffed guys for the competition, more than 3,000 people, and over £4,500 worth of fireworks. This year, however, there were added attractions including a hot air balloon.

[November 12, 1993]

Teachers rap league tables

Head teachers throughout south west Hertfordshire have condemned national league tables of exam results and attendance figures published this week. They say the tables are grossly unfair, misleading and do not give a true picture of their schools. Watford Grammar School for Girls showed up particularly badly in the tables, as figures “revealed” it had the worst truancy record in the county.

[November 19, 1993]

Families evacuated

Royal Navy houses are sinking into the ground in Molteno Road, Watford, and 12 families have been evacuated to safety. The road of 22 bright, modern houses occupied by naval servicemen and their dependents has been cordoned off and danger signs posted at the entrance. Subsidence began three weeks ago when gaping holes appeared in the chalk ground on which the houses are built. Houses began to crack and gardens began to sink. The danger was so acute families were told to pack up and leave their homes within two hours.

[November 26, 1993]

What was happening in the world in November 1993?

• The Maastricht Treaty takes effect, formally establishing the European Union (November 1)

• Women’s Royal Naval Service disbanded, its members being fully absorbed into the regular Royal Navy (November 1)

• Elton John is awarded $518,700 from the Sunday Mirror for a false report on his diet (November 4)

• Parliament passes the Railways Act 1993, setting out procedures for privatisation of British Rail (November 5)

• Princess Diana sues the Daily Mirror over photographs that were taken of her at a gym (November 9)

• Over 400 Sri Lankan military are killed during the Battle of Pooneryn (November 11)

• Marine dumping of radioactive waste is outlawed (November 12)

• General Sani Abacha leads a military coup in Nigeria that overthrows the government of Ernest Shonekan (November 17)

• Puerto Rico residents vote to maintain Commonwealth status (November 18)

Graham Taylor resigns as manager of the England football team after three years in charge (November 24)

• Robert Thompson and Jon Venables are convicted of the murder of James Bulger (November 24)

• The Conservative government comes under attack in the House of Commons over allegations that it has secret contacts with the Provisional IRA (November 29)