HERTFORDSHIRE MERCURY 1979

Janet Sheail

JANUARY

5th: NEW YEAR SLIPS IN.  Workers give up holiday to keep roads open. East Herts slid into the New Year on a sheet of snow and ice – the worst freezing conditions in the area for 15 years. Yet, inspite of the difficulties, Hertford Cattle Market went ahead on New Year’s Day, with 100 cattle from as far afield as Chelmsford and Aylesbury.

12th: ESTATE TAKE-OVER ON OCTOBER 1  – East Herts is to take over the GLC Pinehurst Estate at Hertford, on October 1, and after five years 50 percent of the new tenants could be from East Herts.

1965 – Hertford North station.

CHEAP DAY IS CHEAPER STILL – It is still cheaper to get a cheap day return from Hertford to Moorgate, despite a report last week that the ordinary fare and cheap day were the same, £1-33, for the ordinary fare quoted last week was for a single ticket and the cheap day fare for a return.

WHICH? CONSUMERS’ ASSOCIATION (Advert) 1 Caxton Hill. Programmer/analyst, Hertford from £5,000. Consumers’ Association, the publishers of Which? Magazine, has recently installed two microcomputer systems at its Hertford offices.

BENGEO (Advert) – Realistically priced 2-bedroom semi. Gas central heating. Good residential area.. First mortgage offer secures. £16,250.

OIL SHORTAGE HITS SCHOOLS’ BUSES – Eight Hertfordshire schools were unable to open when the new term started on Monday because of industrial action by some oil tanker drivers.

HERTS SOCIAL SERVICES, CROUCHFIELD, CHAPMORE END near WARE (Advert) – A pig herdsman is required at Crouchfield, a community home for 88 boys aged 15 – 17 years …..There is direct involvement in the supervision of boys working on the farm, with special responsibility in the supervision of boys working on the farm, with special responsibility for boys training in the work of pigmanship.

26th: CONCERN OVER OLD CROSS TRAFFIC – New traffic arrangements, with a mini-roundabout at Old Cross, Hertford, are causing concern to Hertford Labour Party ….the difficulty seemed to be when pedestrians wished to cross from Barber’s seed shop to the branch library ….while walking to the island in the middle of the road (they) were confronted with traffic coming from St. Andrew Street, and travelling in the direction of Cowbridge.

A view down to the “Osprey” lake

PANSHANGER GRAVEL WILL BE IN GREAT DEMAND,  …Redland is applying for planning permission to extract sand and gravel from Panshanger Estate, Hertingfordbury, restore it, and create a country park. The inquiry …moved on to the Shire Hall, Hertford …Herts County Council is supporting the Redland application, but Hertford Civic Society and Hertingfordbury Preservation Society are opposing it.

FEBRUARY

9th: BATTLE OF THE WASH 100 youths in street fight.  The Wash, Hertford, became a battleground on Friday night as about 100 youths pitched into each other after a disco at Castle Hall…..general opinion was that it was one more renewal of the Ware versus Hertford battles which have been ranging since the 12th century …..’there were about 25 police cars there. It was just like the Sweeney.’

SURPRISE BONUS FOR 100th COUNCIL HOUSE BUYERS – The buyers of the 100th council house sold by East Herts Council got an unexpected bonus along with home ownership. On Monday they received an electric deep fryer and a teasmade at a reception organised by the council to maker the 100th sale.

16th: MR. MAUDUNG’S FUNERAL – …Mr. (Reginald) Maudling (former Conservative Cabinet Minister), who would have been 62 in three weeks’ time, lived at Bedwell Lodge, Essendon, where, several years ago, he narrowly escaped serious injury when he opened an IRA parcel bomb.

TOWN FRIENDS OF EVRON GROUP IS FORMED  An organisation to be known as the Friends of Evron was formed at Hertford on Monday with the object of fostering cultural, sporting and social links with the French town.

ADVERTS for cars: Renault 18 – £3,314; Mazda Hatchback – £3,299; Lada 1600 – £2,666; Fiat 127 – £2,272

TWO WARE-BUILT LOCOMOTIVES STILL PLY FOR ARGENTINA after almost half a century. Long Service Record? Tried and trusted, two diesel shunting locomotives supplied by a Ware firm to the Argentine, are reported to be going strong, after 48 years. D. Wickham & Co. Ltd. founded in 1886, specialise in designing and constructing railway motor vehicles.

Ware Station – street entrance

23rd: NEW STATION – BUT NO LOOS – The station with no loos. This could be Ware if a British Rail plan is accepted by East Herts District Council. An application to build a new railway station at Ware has been submitted to the council by British Rail regional architects.

FILM-MAKERS FROM CHINA AT WARE – A group of four delegates from China’s major film studios spent Friday morning visiting the premises of Rank Cintel, Watton Road….they were …shown the telecine equipment which transfers films straight on to the television screen.

MARCH

2nd: NEW TOWN CENTRE FOR HERTFORD BY 1980s.  Council-Costain Scheme Unveiled. After many false starts, going back over 17 years, a new town centre for Hertford, after being described as an extension of the existing centre, could be built by early in the 1980s. The area involved (mainly owned by the council) is in the bus station and car park area off Green Street and Bircherley Street.

16th: NEW TYPHOID ALARM: Sick man spent three days in County. A close watch is being kept on Hertford County Hospital staff following a confirmed case of typhoid there.

APRIL

6th: BENGEO GARDEN CENTRE & FARM SHOP (Advert).  Sacombe Road, Bengeo. Share our first birthday celebrations: 20% off all roses, shrubs, conifers, alpines.

PORT HILL HOMES PLAN IS CRUSHED  A plan to build 19 houses in the grounds of historic Port Hill House, Bengeo, was crushed at a meeting of East Herts Planning Committee on Tuesday ….Fewer and larger houses, architecturally designed to suit the site, might be more acceptable.

BATTLE FOR VILLAGE BYPASS.  Despite the need to free the road through Stanstead Abbotts of its ever-increasing load of heavy traffic it is clear the plan to bypass the village is fraught with controversy …the bypass could not be open before the spring of 1985.

END OF A 40 YEAR ERA AS PRINCIPAL RETIRES – A 40 year association with the Dr. Barnardo School of Printing in Mead Lane, Hertford, came to an end on Friday when principal, Mr. Ron Stackwood, retired. He became an instructor when it was the William Baker Technical School, at Goldings Hertford.

13th: CINEMA: MUSIC DANCING CENTRE? – The Astoria Cinema, Ware, one of the last owned privately in the country has been sold for an undisclosed amount…North Weald property company is seeking permission to turn the cinema into a centre for music and dancing ….the Astoria was well-known for….stage shows, which included the first public performance of Cliff Richard.

CHAMPAGNE FOR THE FIRST ON ISLAND…….the first home owner of Sele Island, on the banks of the Millstream. There has been a rush of first time buyers and the elderly, willing to pay £17,000 for one-bedroom home at ground or first-floor level, and up to £22,500 for a village-style two bedroom home.

LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY FORMED (Hertford & Ware) A new society for those interested in local history has been formed – the Hertford & Ware’ Local History Society. The aims were put forward at a meeting at Hertford last Thursday when Dr. Doris Jones-Baker talked about interviewing local people about local legends and history. Members of the society plan to research and discuss local history, arrange for speakers on the topic, liaise with other-societies, and to publish any results. Mr. Alan Greening, of Wellington Street, Hertford, is behind the scheme. He moved to Hertford three years ago, and was surprised to find no local history society. The opportunity to sound out interest came when the Workers’ Educational Association ran a local history class last year. Said Mr. Greening: “People seemed to be interested, and so far about 40 people have shown a firm interest in the society.” It is hoped to hold a general meeting in May, a couple of local visits during summer and in the autumn start a monthly programme of meetings.”

MAY

4th: RACE TO VOTE – EARLY MORNING QUEUE AT WARE TO BE FIRST INSIDE COLLEGE POLLING STATION

11th: BLUE BON SURPRISE. General Election defeat of Mrs. Shirley Williams (Labour) by Mr. Bowen Wells (Conservative)in the Hertford, Stevenage & Ware constituency.

25th: MARKETS: ALL CHANGE. Hertford’s open-air market is to move to new sites in Salisbury Square and Market Place from September to make way for town centre re-development. Covered Market traders have been offered open air sites in Bull Plain….the covered market is due to close in September for redevelopment of the Corn Exchange and market.

Corn Exchange

CORN EXCHANGE PLAN AGREED. Dimsdale Developments’ scheme for the conversion of Hertford Corn Exchange was approved by East Herts Planning Committee on Tuesday. The scheme is to provide shops at ground level with a public hall above.

JUNE

1st: TORY RULE SHAKEN. Labour captured four seats on Hertford Town Council last Thursday, breaking a three-year Conservative monopoly of the 14 seat council. At Ware, …..the constitution of the council is the same,10 Conservatives and two Labour

STORM ECHOES ANGER OVER AIRPORT PLAN.  A packed parish meeting at Langley, on Wednesday night, voted unanimously to fight the proposal to put the third London airport at Langley, Stansted ….or at any other inland site. The anger and resentment of the 150 present at the choice of the North-East Herts site as a “possible” echoed in the thunder and lightning which flashed and rocketed all around.

Sales particulars from 1980

8th: HOSPITAL FOR SALE – about £250,000 sought for Ware Park. The hospital was used for chest patients until November, 1973, when nearly all its activities were transferred to the East Herts Hospital, Gallows Hill, Hertford.

£1. 25 A GALLON?  Local petrol prices could soar to £1. 25 a gallon within the next two weeks, warns a garage manager. At the moment, local garages are keeping their prices under the magic £1 figure.

VC TO BE DISPLAYED IN TOWN. The Victoria Cross won by Hertford man Mr. Alexander Burt in World War I is to be given to Hertford Museum

END OF AN ERA FOR RON AND THE MERCURY. Mr. Ron Tomlin, Linotype overseer, retired after 50 years on Friday, and the last Linotype machine ceased work.

JUST USE FABLON AND A LITTLE IMAGINATION (Advert) – Fablon transforms a “tired” surface quickly, economically, hygenically (sic) and beautifully.

29th 60 YEARS AND STILL SUCCESSFUL, Hertford Dramatic & Operatic Society is going from strength to strength.

JULY

6th: HALF PRICE COUNCIL HOUSES. New terms for the sale of council houses, to be recommended to East Herts Council.. ….in some cases at 50 per cent below market price.

£62,000 LIBRARY EXTENSION OPENS – at Ware Library last week.

AT YOUR CINEMA (Advert) Saturday Night Fever: County, Hertford; Battlestar Galactica: Stevenage; Blazing Saddles: Waltham Cross.

20th: MUSEUM CURATOR LEADS WALK. Curator of Hertford’s Museum, Mr. Gordon Davies, led 23 members of the local history society on a walk around land once owned by the former Hertford Priory on Sunday. The walk led along Bull Plain, Railway Street, along the Folly and around Priory Street, and on the way Mr. Davies pointed out buildings of interest and showed where the Priory House, church and tithe barn were situated. He also explained evidence which suggested that part of the Lee Navigation which runs past the Folly was originally the mill stream for Dicker Mill. And, he said, he was assured by locals that the wide part of the river by the new flood alleviation scheme was created because pike so large that they needed a turning circle! The society’s next events a town walk in Ware during September, a Sunday visit to the Old Museum in Hatfield in September, and a talk by the county archivist, Peter Walne, on September 13. All meetings will be held on the Thursday in each month.

Ware Priory – from the river

27th: POSER FOR COUNCIL AS THEY WIN THE PRIORY.  Ware Town Council has won its fight to take over Ware Priory & its grounds after a nearly three-year legal battle with East Herts Council. Now the town council could well be faced with meeting most if not all the running costs.

AUGUST

10th: GLAXO DEVELOPMENTS ANNOY RESIDENTS ? “When we came here (Park Road) Allenbury’s development was very small the land opposite being used to grow blackcurrant bushes for the firm’s blackcurrant pastilles ….who would have known when I moved here in 1939 that Allenbury’s was going to be taken over by Glaxo’s and we would have all this development?”

17th: CIVIC SOCIETY WORK GOES ON SHOW – an account of the role of the Hertford Civic Society opened at Hertford Library on Monday. It describes how the society was formed following widespread concern in 1969 over the proposed town centre development in Hertford

ACTION MAN SWEEPS SAFELY INTO TOWN. Action Man soared to the top of the toy town charts in Hertford on Friday. Sweeping into the town in a conspicuously marked car, Action Man ….and his accompanying “commander”, were greeted by more than 100 children outside the Hertford Toy Centre, Bull Plain.

31st: NEW 300FT LANDMARK GOES UP and is now dominating the highest point in South Herts, between Little Berkhamsted and Newgate Street Village. The aerial, believed to be the tallest privately owned structure in the country, it is capable of use by 200 organisations.

SEPTEMBER

8th: SURPRISES IN STORE FOR GARDEN CITY SHOPPERS – celebrations to mark the 40th birthday of Welwyn Department Store, Welwyn Garden City …. will culminate in an “official opening” tomorrow.

14th: BISHOP LEAVES FOR CANTERBURY. Rt. Revd. Robert Runcie, Bishop of St. Albans for nine years, and now Archbishop of Canterbury, left diocese.

The Old Coffee House Inn on the corner of Honey Lane

28th: PARTS OF TWO SKELETONS ARE UNEARTHED. Old graves found under cellar wall…in the Honey Lane, Hertford, redevelopment site….Mr. Clive Partridge (director of the East Herts Archaeological Group) said the bones probably dated from ….between 900 and 11OOAD.

LICE ON THE RAMPAGE – special shampoo needed to beat new strain. The number of children infected with head lice in Hertford has now reached epidemic proportions …the new strain is resistant to old treatments.

GREEN BELT DEFEAT – Herts’ plan to extend its Green Belt to cover the whole of the county’s rural areas has been rejected …..Secretary of State for the Environment, Mr. Michael Heseltine, said this week he was satisfied that the county’s Green Belt aims could be effectively achieved by other policies.

OCTOBER

5th: WATTON STATION REOPENING COULD COST £80,000.  If there is sufficient support, British Rail could reopen Watton-at-Stone station. But the reopening will depend upon how much cash Hertfordshire County Council is prepared to give.

CUTS BEGIN TO BITE. …to school – in woollies. Only a few weeks into the 1979/80 school year, the education cuts agreed by the county council are having an effect in Herts classrooms. Parents are being warned to provide their children with warm clothing due to the reduced oil supply.

12th: WAITROSE COMING TO TOWN CENTRE.  Waitrose, the John Lewis Partnership supermarket group, is taking over the main store in Hertford Town Centre redevelopment. The second, smaller, store will go to Boots the Chemists, which already has a shop in Maidenhead Street.

26th: UNMARRIEDS NOT TO GO ON HOUSING LIST.  East Herts Council has thrown out, by 28 votes to 14, its housing committee’s controversial plan to put couples on the council housing list if they were unmarried and living togetlier.

NOVEMBER

2nd: BIG DRUGS SHOCK – County has thriving black market in LSD, opium and cannabis, says report by the Standing Conference on Drug Abuse ….Herts has twice as many drug addicts as the national average.

NEW DIRECT COACH SERVICE TO AIRPORT – ….the 734 will give Hertford & Ware residents a new direct link to Heathrow Airport and many areas of North & West London ….

NOW THE COUNCIL IS PAYING LATE – the electricity was almost cut off at Hertford’s Castle Hall yesterday, because East Herts Council had not paid its electricity bill. Electricity officials called in the morning but did not have a spanner big enough to do the job (the bill for £1,010 was paid that afternoon) ….and the cut not made.

KEVIN STARTS PRlNT MACHINE – European Footballer of the Year, Kevin Keegan, paid a brief visit to Hertford on Tuesday (to open) the sheet-feed offset lithopress at Quadrant Offset Printing, Dicker Mill.

DECEMBER

7th: ENFIELD HIGHWAY CO-OP (Advert) – Maxwell House 100gm, 94p; Rothman’s King Size 20s, 61p; Branston Pickle, 26p, 4 cans Courage Light Ale, 99p; NZ butter 35½p; Black Magic 1lb £1.69; Booths Gin, £4.59.

WEEKEND TV, SATURDAY (sample)

BBC1: 9.30 am Multi-Coloured Swap Shop, 12.15 Grandstand, 5.30 pm The Basil Brush Show, 6 pm Dr. Who, 6.25 pm Larry Grayson’s Generation Game, 9 pm Dallas, 10 pm Match of the Day, 11 pm Parkinson.

LWT: 8.40 am Sesame Street, 10.30 am Tiswas, 12,30 World of Sport, 5.15 Happy Days, 7.15 pm the Incredible Hulk, 9 pm The Professionals.

14th: SHELL GO BACK, NOW ESSO IS PROBLEM – shortages of petrol caused by tanker drivers’ actions, which have meant queues at some garages, and some running dry, could continue for some time. For, though the ending of the shell dispute will mean a gradual return to normal for Shell garages, no end is in sight for Esso.

21st MPs IN AIRPORT REVOLT. Govt’s Stansted decision is ‘worst choice of all’. A revolt of all Hertfordshire MPs (all Tories) is expected against the government’s decision to make Stansted London’s third airport. Mr. Bowen Wells, MP for Hertford, Stevenage & Ware, told the Mercury on Tuesday “All the Herts MPs will join with all the amenity groups and the county council in protesting against these proposals.”

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