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1964 & 68 1971 &74 1978 & 82 1986 & 90 1994 & 98 2002 & 06 2010 & 14
INTRODUCTION TO THE POLITICAL HISTORY OF HAROLD HILL

The following pages are a brief political history of Harold Hill from 1964 until 2014. Prior to this Harold Hill was under the juristiction of the Romford Borough Council and I have been unsuccessful in locating anything of the electoral history for that period. In the main the results have been gleaned from the old Greater London Council website and more recently from the London Borough of Havering site. I collected the election literature over the years and my material was supplemented by material from Reg Whiting, Dennis Cook and Jeff Stafford and I am grateful to these three ex Labour councillors for their help. It will become obvious to anyone working their way through these pages that this is not a neutral view of affairs. It is very much biased towards the left. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that for the first forty years the Labour party won every election and though the other parties put up candidates they all deemed that for them elections were unwinnable. That was all to change in the last decade but by then I had left the area and no longer got the propaganda through my letter box. The second is I was a Labour Councillor for 12 years and naturally I knew most of the characters on the Labour side, I knew a few of the others but not well, so you will not find too much written about the losers.
Throughout you will find many references to the Independents. Most of the time these were Ratepayers or Residents Associations with a stronghold in Upminster and Cranham as well as in South Hornchurch. In recent years their cohesion which was always a little flaky has cracked and there are now five separate groups all at each other’s throats. You could be fooled into thinking they had morphed into political parties.

The facts represented here are simply that, the opinions are mine and the FODP do not necessarily agree with my interpretation of events. I am more than happy to publish contrary opinions.

The Friends of Dagnam Park was formed in 2004 and since then many of the Councillors or ex councillors mentioned here have been or are members of the Friends of Dagnam Park.

Scroll down and then click on the links to move forward or back through the election years.

Del Smith

7th May 1964
On the 7th May 1964 the London Borough of Havering elected its first council. This combined the former Romford and Hornchurch Councils for the first time. Although the election took place in May 1964 the council didn't take up its powers until the 1st April 1965. The new council consisted of 27 Labour, 16 Conservative and 12 Independents, as well as some unelected Aldermen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

GOOSHAYS.

 

 

H.F. Wright, Lab, 1,722
R.S. Kilbey, Lab, 1,700
L.F.P. Eley, Lab, 1,682
D.H. Norris, Con,  767
Mrs. B. Fogarty, Con,  765
P.J. Laycock, Con,  724
J.A. Hand Ind  328
R. Starr, Ind, 298

HEATON

W.C. Morley, Lab, 1,642
M.J. Ward, Lab, 1,615
P. Foulger, Con,  206
Mrs. M.D. Line, Con,  176
Mrs. V.D. Carpenter, Comm, 62

HILLDENE

A.C. Latham, Lab, 1,720
W.G. Russell, Lab, 1,719
A.H. Dicks, Con,  228
J.R. Holiday, Con,  228
W.N. French, Comm, 59

Michael Ward was elected to the first Havering council in 1964. He had already served on the Romford Borough Council since 1958. He went on to lead the Labour Group and the council in 1971. He was elected the MP for the marginal seat of Peterborough in October 1974, a seat he lost in 1979. At one time he defected to the SDP but then rejoined the Labour party. He died on 25th March 2009.

P.S. Michael Ward's daughter, Alison Seabeck was educated at Harold Hill Grammar School. She became an MP when she won Plymouth Devonport for Labour in 2005, she held her seat (renamed with boundary changes) in 2010 but lost to the Conservatives in 2015.

9th May 1968

 

 

In the 1968 election Labour suffered heavy losses across the borough and were left holding just the three Harold Hill seats with seven councillors. The Conservatives took control of the council with 35 seats. In Hilldene Reg Whiting won a seat on the Council for the first time. Arthur Latham was also elected as he had been in every election since 1952. Ben Cohen also made a showing for the Communist Party. Ben was a stalwart of the then powerful Harold Hill Tenants Association which he led for many years. He was a school teacher and lived in Gooshays Drive. He was active in many local campaigns from his arrival in Harold Hill in the early fifties until his death in a plane crash off the coast of Cuba in 1977. He was 67. His comrade Bill French was a bricklayer, I think from the Retford Road area. Conservatives, Kemp, Cure and Marsden were eventually elected in other years and other wards and eventually played prominent roles on Havering Council. As for Bill French, he was a nice bloke and he just carried on laying bricks.

 

 GOOSHAYS
Coffin F,J, Lab 1424
Coffin R. C. Mrs Lab 1367
Barber I. M, Mrs Lab 1251
Jefferies H. A. H. Con 795
Mawson C. A. M. G. Mrs Con 795
Rowswell T. A. Con 766
French W.N. Comm 160

 

HEATON
Ward M.J. Lab 955
Burn D. Lab 922
Kemp C.J. Con 709
Cure D.J. Con 683

 

HILLDENE
Latham A.C. Lab 1088
Whiting R J. Lab 1049
Marsden p. D. H. Con 572
Barrance J. E. Con
Cohen R. Comm 104

1971 & 74 1978 & 82 1986 & 90 1994 & 98 2002 & 06 2010 & 14 Forward