Croxley Revels and Silver Jubilee celebrations: Watford in July 1977

A dark day

Although the closure of the Royal Masonic Boys School at Bushey had become a fait accompli, no stone was left unturned by the shortest-serving headmaster, Mr H. Stuart-Moss, and his staff, to ensure that for the remaining boys the last year would be as normal as possible. And so it was with the school’s final speech day on Saturday. Nevertheless, there was an underlying atmosphere of sadness, and the speeches had the air of epilogues.

[July 1, 1977]

Toads saved

Operation 1977 Hampermill Toad Lift this year saved the lives of 520 toads. Mrs Janet Potter, of Oxhey, who organised the dangerous operation to take toads on their way to breeding grounds across the busy stretch of Hampermill Lane, says although the number was low, it was greater than she expected following last year’s drought.

[July 1, 1977]

Jobs shock

The number of unemployed young people in Hertfordshire shot up dramatically during June to 1,762, compared with 567 the previous month. Many of these are school-leavers, and a substantial proportion have been without a job since leaving school earlier this year. The most dramatic increase is in the number of young girls who cannot find jobs – 786 this month, compared with 680 a year ago.

[July 1, 1977]

A milestone for the Y

Within the next week or so Watford YMCA will move into its luxurious new Charter House home. This will mark a massive milestone in the history of the Watford Y. But for some of the existing residents the transfer into what is aptly described as a “five star hostel” spells financial hardship. For with a memo from the manager telling them that the move is imminent, the residents have received formal notice of increases in hostel fees.

[July 1, 1977]

Saving hard labour

Seven consultants’ rooms at the Peace Memorial Wing of Watford General Hospital are to be equipped with hydraulic examination couches – thanks to the Hospital League of Friends. The League’s annual summer fete resulted in a net profit of more than £600 towards the couches, which will cost about £1,700. But they have already told the hospital authorities to go ahead and order the new equipment and they will meet the bill. These new couches, which can be raised and lowered by foot control, will make it easier for patients and save the nurses a lot of lifting.

[July 1, 1977]

End of line for Met?

Unless the county council pay a subsidy of £850,000 to meet losses on the Metropolitan line in this part of Hertfordshire, the line could face closure. Losses on the Watford branch line are now running at £550,000 a year. A joint meeting of the County Highways and Planning Committees agreed to ask for a Government grant of £300,000 to meet the losses on the main line.

[July 8, 1977]

Jubilee revels

A colourful motorised procession with over 30 extravagantly decorated floats heralded what must surely have been the biggest and best ever Croxley Green Revels. Combined with Silver Jubilee celebrations and blessed with glorious summer weather, the event attracted record crowds all bent on enjoying themselves. The entire area took on a festive air, with glittering silver streamers and bunches of balloons decorating all the lamp posts and a huge wooden guardsman at the entrance to the arena.

[July 8, 1977]

Angry commuters

Rickmansworth commuters are taking on the big guns of London Transport and British Rail. The six angry men – all working in London – are up in arms over bad services and London Transport’s latest round of near 25 per cent fare rises which will hit commuters’ pockets on Monday. And the men are hoping to enlist an army of disgruntled train travellers from Rickmansworth to help fight what they are calling the ‘Met line excesses’.

[July 15, 1977]

Vandals on the rampage

Contractors struggling to complete Watford’s first adventure playground in Harwoods Ward took another severe hammering from vandals this weekend. On Sunday it was found that concrete fencing had been dismantled, more tiles were torn from a roof and the half-finished brickwork of steps leading to the adventure hut had been kicked to pieces. It was the second time these had been knocked down. It’s now estimated that the total cost of vandalism on this site since work started amounts to something between £500-£600.

[July 29, 1977]

What was happening in the world in July 1977?

• Manchester United manager Tommy Docherty is dismissed by the club’s directors due to his affair with the wife of the club’s physiotherapist (July 4)

• Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq deposes the first elected Prime Minister of Pakistan in a military coup and declares martial law (July 5)

• The Spy Who Loved Me, the 10th James Bond film, premieres in London (July 7)

• The US Medal of Freedom is awarded posthumously to Martin Luther King (July 11)

• New York City experiences a 25-hour blackout, resulting in looting and other disorder (July 13)

• Somalia declares war on Ethiopia, starting the Ethio-Somali War (July 13)

• A flash flood hits Johnstown, Pennsylvania, killing 80 and causing billions of dollars of damage (July 20)

• The CIA releases documents under the Freedom of Information Act revealing it had engaged in mind control experiments (July 20)

• The Libyan-Egyptian War, sparked by a Libyan raid on Sallum, begins (July 21)

• Süleyman Demirel forms the new government of Turkey (July 21)

• Led Zeppelin presents its last American concert in Oakland, California. A brawl erupts between the crew and staff, resulting in criminal assault charges for several members of the band (July 24)

• The USSR performs an underground nuclear test (July 26)

• Left-wing German terrorists assassinate Jürgen Ponto, chairman of the Dresdner Bank, in Germany (July 30)

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