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Post memories: Whalebone Lane widening works, Barking public service strike, Dagenham Girl Pipers keep 60-year pledge

PUBLISHED: 12:30 04 January 2020

'Six months of this!': Dagenham Post on January 6, 1960. Picture: Archant / Barking and Dagenham Archives and Local Studies Centre

'Six months of this!': Dagenham Post on January 6, 1960. Picture: Archant / Barking and Dagenham Archives and Local Studies Centre

Archant

The stories that made the news 60, 40 and 20 years ago...

'Apologise or face strike chaos': Barking Dagenham Post on January 9, 1980. Picture: Archant / Barking and Dagenham Archives and Local Studies Centre'Apologise or face strike chaos': Barking Dagenham Post on January 9, 1980. Picture: Archant / Barking and Dagenham Archives and Local Studies Centre

January 6, 1960

'Six months of this!', our headline exclaimed, as major roadworks to widen Whalebone Lane North got underway.

The accompanying photos show the excavation works and traffic being diverted, illustrating the scale of the project.

The stretch of road from Chadwell Heath High Road to the Eastern Avenue roundabout is described as "one of the worst of its kind in the country."

'Pipers keep a 60-year pledge': The Barking & Dagenham Post on January 5, 2000. Picture: Archant / Barking and Dagenham Archives and Local Studies Centre.'Pipers keep a 60-year pledge': The Barking & Dagenham Post on January 5, 2000. Picture: Archant / Barking and Dagenham Archives and Local Studies Centre.

In parts, the current road is only 18ft wide and parked vehicles cause traffic chaos.

The widening, which is expected to take six months and cost about £80,000, will provide a 30ft wide carriageway and bus bays at both ends.

Meanwhile, the 40-hour working week was introduced at the Dagenham factory of battery manufacturers Pritchett and Gold.

It is the first local industry to adopt the shortened week, which will benefit about 1,000 workers.

In other news, Ford smashed its yearly production record with 469,000 cars, commercial vehicles and tractors in 1959.

January 9, 1980

Public service workers in Barking are threatening strike action after union leaders say they were insulted by two councillors.

'Apologise or face chaos' our headline screamed, echoing the ultimatum issued by the council's manual workers, including dustmen and decorators.

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They claim councillors made rude, sarcastic and insulting comments at a meeting to discuss industrial problems.

A union spokesman said: "We had waited nearly two years for this meeting and we were just insulted.

"They were more insulting than usual."

But one of the councillors said: "One has to have been rude first to apologise.

"The meeting was no more heated than any other and nothing untoward happened."

In other news, we revealed the face of the heroic young girl who was badly burned while saving her baby cousin for a flat fire, as reported in the previous edition. Julie Ruglys, 12, is recovering in hospital but may have to have plastic surgery.

January 5, 2000

A group of Dagenham Girl Pipers followed through on a pledge they signed 60 years ago to meet again on the first day of the year 2000.

Friendships were rekindled as 20 of the original 53 Pipers reunited in an emotional ceremony.

Dagenham's own millenium baby caught her teenage parents by surprise by arriving 10 days early on January 1.

New mum Jennifer Russell had enjoyed a party at her aunt's place the night before and "didn't even have a twinge", but when she woke up around 10am she realised she was in labour.

Jennifer said: "I never dreamed I would have a millenium baby.

"First babies are usually late, and as she was due on January 10 I thought I had a good two weeks left."

In tragic news, a young mum was found strangled in her Marks Gate home around 30 hours after she was last seen in Barking.


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