Town comes last in wealth table

Central Watford is the most deprived area in Hertfordshire. Research by the Hertfordshire Community Trust identified Watford’s central ward as the most deprived area in the county along with parts of Holywell ward and Northwick and Hayling wards in South Oxhey. Data showed that central Watford was the highest in a list of wards that are more deprived than the national average. Criteria for deprivation is based on a number of factors including car ownership, lone parents, lack of central heating, long-term illness, unemployment and poverty.

[November 1, 1996]

Carnival faces do-or-die decision

Watford’s carnival looks likely to be scrapped completely after the organisers of the historic event meet to decide its future. The event, which has been held in the town for the past 60 years, now comprises the Watford All-Wheels Show and the August Bank Holiday Carnival. The Watford All-Wheels Show replaced the horse and dog show when Watford Council decided to restore the cricket pitch in Cassiobury Park last year. Committee members say the demise of the horse show has led to the meeting at Watford Town Hall to discuss its future.

[November 1, 1996]

Store revamp to attract shoppers

New-look Clements is aiming to attract customers to the top end of the town with its quality merchandise and new store improvements. Watford’s department store in The Parade has strengthened its position as a destination shop with the recent completion of alterations which have received glowing praise from customers.

[November 1, 1996]

A first for church

A church in Watford is preparing to welcome its first female minister next Sunday, Mrs Sally Nelson, 35, of Hempstead Road, Watford, will be inducted at Beechen Grove Baptist Church, Clarendon Road, tomorrow and will take her first service on Sunday. A former scientific journalist, Mrs Nelson comes to the church after four years of training at the London Bible College and a Master of Theology degree.

[November 8, 1996]

Scheme to ease parking misery

A massive car parking scheme that could result in residents paying £20 a year to park outside their homes was unveiled this week. The scheme has been drawn to ease the parking “nightmare” in central Watford. Chairman of Watford Council’s planning and highways committee, Cllr Andy Head, said: “With The Harlequin, Sunday and evening trading it has been increasingly difficult for residents to park outside their homes.” Cllr Head hoped residents would back the scheme despite the £20 per car annual charge. Households with two vehicles would face double the bill.

[November 15, 1996]

Communities remember fallen heroes

Love over hate, truth over falsehood, and hope over despair were the themes at the Remembrance Day parade at Watford’s war memorial on Sunday. In an introduction, Mayor Paul Harrison said: “Let us remember all those who gave their lives in two world wars and other conflicts, who bring us the benefits of peace.”

[November 15, 1996]

Crime continues to rise

Hertfordshire saw a rise in crime last year of two per cent, although it still remains one of the safest counties in England. Home Office figures for 1995 show that in Hertfordshire 55,891 offences were recorded last year, compared with 54,887 offences in 1994. The 1995 figures also show that Hertfordshire is one of only 16 counties in England and Wales with less than 8,000 offences per 100,000 people.

[November 22, 1996]

Why are girls behaving badly?

Not only are girls having babies earlier and earlier, they seem to be behaving with ferocious aggression much earlier too. A girl of 13 hit the headlines recently when, not only singled out as a school troublemaker and suspended, she also gave birth to a baby daughter. Perhaps motherhood will calm her down, who knows? Far more worrying is the case of the 13-year-olds who killed another 13-year-old by kicking her head in when she went to help a friend who was being attacked. The Japanese apparently hold the belief that if women should ever become hirsute or begin displaying aggressive male tendencies, the end of the world is near. It seems to me that we in the west could be fast approaching such an apocalypse.

[November 22, 1996]

Firms get set to surf the net

Access to information will be freely available next week when the first community website in the country,, goes online. Cinema times, news and community events will be just some of the data accessible at the touch of the button from Friday, December 6. All residents will need to use the is a computer and modem. Web Master Mr Steve Jones, of the Church Road-based Freenet Ltd, said the beauty of the community website would be its immediacy. “If you dial into, the information you access will be the most up-to-date available. This is because the Internet is a dynamic medium,” he said. Free software downloads, surveys and questionnaires, online quizzes and chats will also feature on the Use of is potentially huge, according to company spokesman Mr Julian Winkley. He said recent surveys suggest more than 25,000 houses in the Watford area have a computer. Of this number, 75 per cent have a modem to connect to the outside world.

[November 29, 1996]

What was happening in the world in November 1996?

• The Spice Girls release their debut album, which goes on to sell 23 million copies (November 4)

• Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s government is dismissed by President Farooq Leghari after widespread allegations of corruption (November 5)

• Incumbent President Bill Clinton defeats his Republican challenger, Bob Dole (November 5)

• A devastating cyclone strikes India, killing over 2,000 people (November 7)

• World-renowned bird expert Tony Silva is sentenced to seven years in prison without parole for leading an illegal parrot smuggling ring (November 18)

• The 1996 Garley Building fire in Hong Kong kills 41 (November 20)

• OJ Simpson takes the stand as a hostile witness in the wrongful death lawsuit filed against him (November 22)