112. External Events – Early 1970s

Royal Events

There were a number of significant royal events during this period.

Death of Duke of Windsor

Grandad noted that the Duke of Windsor, the former Prince of Wales and Edward VIII, died on 28 May 1972 at about 2.25am at his home in France. He had been born in 1894. On the 31st, the RAF brought his body to the UK from France. On 2 and 3 June 1972, he lay in state at Windsor Castle. He was buried on 5 June.

Silver medal commemorating the life of the Duke of Windsor
People filing past the coffin at Windsor Castle from a special edition of the Evening Standard on 5 June 1972
 25-year old prince in Canada with cigarette in mouth from a special edition of the Evening Standard on 5 June 1972
Duke and Duchess of Windsor after their wedding in 1937 from a special edition of the Evening Standard on 5 June 1972

Prince William of Gloucester Killed in Air Crash

On 26 August 1972, grandad noted that Prince William of Gloucester was killed when a plane he was piloting crashed. At the time of his death, he was 39. He was the son of Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester who was the third son of King George V. When he was born, he was fourth in line to the throne. But, when he died, he was ninth.

Photo of the wreckage of the Cherokee aircraft in which Prince William of Gloucester died – image licenced for re-use from Alamy

Queen’s Silver Wedding

In November 1972, grandma and grandad watched a service from Westminster Abbey. This was celebrating the 25th wedding anniversary of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh (see Chapter 107).

Princess Anne’s Wedding

Two years later, in November 1973, grandma went to Barbara’s to watch the wedding of Princess Anne in colour (see Chapter 101).

The Queen Opened London Bridge

On 16 March 1973, the Queen opened the new London Bridge. It had been constructed between 1967 and 1972.

Bronze medal commemorating the opening of London Bridge in 1973
Queen at opening of London Bridge in 1973 – image licenced for re-use from Alamy

Attempt to Kidnap Princess Anne

In March 1974, grandad noted that someone had attacked Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips in the Mall. In fact, Ian Ball had attempted to kidnap Princess Anne. He shot four people in the attempt. They included police officers James Beaton and Michael Hill, the chauffeur, Alex Callender and a journalist, Brian McConnell. Apparently, Ball told Princess Anne to get out of the car. She replied “not bloody likely”. Ball pleaded guilty to attempted murder and kidnapping. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia and detained under the Mental Health Act. As of September 2022, he was still at Broadmoor Hospital.

Princess Anne visiting her bodyguard Inspector James Beaton at Westminster Hospital in March 1974. He was shot three times in an attempted kidnapping – image licenced for re-use from Alamy

Richard Nixon

Grandad noted a few things about US politics and Presidents, particularly that Richard Nixon was re-elected in November 1972, that he resigned and was replaced by Gerald Ford in August 1974 and he was unwell for much of the month of October 1974.

Richard Nixon was a Republican who was Vice President from 1953 to 1961. He was first elected President in 1969 (see Chapter 97) having lost out in the 1960 Presidential election to J F Kennedy. He is most well-known for the Watergate scandal which led to his resignation. However, grandad does not explicitly mention Watergate in his diaries.

Richard Nixon © Rupert Colley and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

1970 General Election

Harold Wilson had been Prime Minister from 1964 (see Chapter 86). He won elections in October 1964 and again in March 1966. However, on 18 May 1970, grandad noted that he went to the Queen to ask her to dissolve parliament ahead of an election on 18 June.

Central Norfolk Constituency: A Familiar Candidate

One of the things that was notable about this election, at least from the perspective of our family, was that dad stood as the Liberal candidate for the seat of Central Norfolk. There was a lot of information about these elections in the archive of the Eastern Daily Press that was available through Local Recall. Sadly, by the time I came to write this section, it was no longer possible to access this material. The constituency of Central Norfolk existed from 1950 to 1974.

Central Norfolk Constituency: Previous Results

The Liberals did not field a candidate for this seat in 1966. However, in 1964, their candidate, Geoffrey Maxwell Goode, had gained 6,961 votes. This was 14% of all votes cast.

My Dad as a Candidate

Dad was standing against sitting MP, Conservative, Ian Gilmour (see Chapter 97) and Charles R Coyne for Labour. I have strong memories of this election campaign because dad had loudspeakers attached to the car and he used to sing as part of his campaigning.


Grandad noted a bit about the campaigning activities for the election. On 3 June 1970, grandma folded election leaflets for dad and put them into envelopes. A few days later, on the 8th, grandad fitted loudspeakers to his car as he was “out on the warpath canvassing”. On the 16th, grandma babysat while mum and dad went out canvassing.

Grandma and Grandad Vote

On the day, grandma and grandad went to Drayton village hall to vote. They voted for dad.

National Results

On the 19th, grandad noted the election result. Nationally, the Conservatives won with 330 seats, Labour on 287 and the Liberals on six. According to Wikipedia, Labour had 288 seats including the Speaker, Horace King. Conservative figures included eight Ulster Unionists and Labour figures included seven from the Northern Ireland Labour Party.

Grandad noted that the parties were led by Edward Heath, Harold Wilson and Jeremy Thorpe respectively. As leader of the largest party, Edward Heath became Prime Minister.

Edward Heath was leader of the Conservatives and became Prime Minister following the election in June 1970
 Jeremy Thorpe was leader of the Liberals in 1970 when my father stood as Liberal candidate for Central Norfolk. Jeremy Thorpe was MP for North Devon from 1959 to 1979 and led the Liberals from 1967 to 1976.

Local Results

Locally, grandad noted that I H Gilmour got 32,921 votes with C R Coyne getting 19,030. Dad got 6,172 votes, which was 11% of all votes cast,. But, he lost his deposit although grandad noted that the Liberal party paid for that.

February 1974 General Election

There was another general election on 28 February 1974.

Grandad’s Experience of the Election.

On the 27th, grandad noted that he was pleased the Polling Day was the next day. He felt there had been too much broadcasting with candidates “telling their stories”. On Polling Day, grandma and grandad went with Barbara Carpenter, who also took Mrs Davis, to vote at Drayton Village Hall.

National Results

On 1 March, grandad noted that Labour had won 301 seats with 11,627,294 votes, 11,645,616 according to Wikipedia. Although the Conservatives got more votes, 11,893,374 according to grandad, 11,872,180 according to Wikipedia, they only won 296 seats, 297 according to Wikipedia, including the Speaker, Selwyn Lloyd.

The Liberals got more than half the number of votes of each of the Conservatives and Labour, 6,018,621, but they only won 14 seats. Others got 1,643,581 votes and won 21 seats.

On the 4th, Edward Heath resigned, after having failed to reach a deal with the Liberals to keep the Conservatives in government. As a result, Harold Wilson took over, forming a Labour government, although Labour lacked an overall majority.

Photo of 10 Downing Street taken in February 1974 © Philp Halling and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Local Results

Surprisingly, grandad did not comment on the local result for this election. At this point, Central Norfolk had been abolished and I believe my grandparents were in the constituency of North Norfolk. They certainly were for the second general election later in 1974. Ralph Howell, the sitting Conservative MP, won the seat with an increased majority of 14, 290 compared to only 4,684 in 1970. However, in 1970, there were only two candidates. The other candidate was former Labour MP Bert Hazell. In 1966, he beat Ralph Howell by only 737 votes. In 1974, Bert Hazell stood and received 21,394 votes but the Liberals also put up a candidate, Richard Moore, who won 17, 853 votes.  

Ralph Howell

He was MP for North Norfolk for 27 years from 1970. He was born on 25 May 1923 and died on 14 February 2008.

October 1974 General Election

Because Labour did not have an overall majority, a new election was called for October 1974. Grandad noted that Parliament was again dissolved on 18 September with a polling date set for 10 October.

Grandad’s Experience of Voting

Barbara again took grandma, grandad and Mrs Davis to vote.

National Results

On 11 October 1974, grandad noted the results. Labour had won 319 seats with 20 gains and 1 loss. The Conservatives won 276 seats with 2 gains and 22 losses, 277 according to Wikipedia, including the Speaker, Selwyn Lloyd.. The Liberals won 13 with one gain and three losses. This number does not quite tally with the number of 14 seats won in February 1974. According to Wikipedia, the Liberals suffered a net loss of one. In terms of votes, Labour got 11,468,646 (11,457,079 according to Wikipedia), Conservatives got 10,429,026 (10,462,565 according to Wikipedia), the Liberals 5,345,271 (5,346,704 according to Wikipedia) and others 1,944,700. Overall, Labour had a majority of three.

Electoral map of Britain following elections in February 1974 (left) and October 1974 (right) © Mirrorme22 and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Local Results

In grandma and grandad’s constituency of North Norfolk, the sitting MP Ralph Howell got 33,312 for the Conservatives, D M Mason 22,191 for Labour and Richard Moore 13,776 for the Liberals. This meant that Ralph Howell was re-elected but with a slightly reduced majority of 11,121.

Local Elections

In addition to these general elections, there were also local elections during this period.

1972 Local Government Act

In 1972, the government of Edward Heath introduced a Local Government Act which, in most places, introduced a two-tier system of local government, with county and district councils, which still exists in much of England.

County Council Elections April 1973

Elections for county councils were held on 12 April 1973 with the elected councils coming into operation on 1 April 1974. I found an article about the elections in the Lynn advertiser which noted that voting had been slow.

Grandma and Grandad Vote

On Polling Day, grandma and grandad went with Barbara Carpenter to Drayton to vote.

Dad Stood but was not Elected

Grandad noted helping dad to fit loudspeakers to his car. He noted that dad was a candidate but that he did not get elected. Unfortunately, since the Local Recall service was discontinued, I am no longer able to access articles from the EDP that would have covered this election.

District Council Elections June1973

As part of the same legislation, district council elections were held on 7 June 1973. Grandad referred to it as voting for the new Rural District Council which was called Broadland instead of Aylsham and St Faiths.

Grandma and Grandad Vote

Grandma voted when she went to her ladies’ meeting. Grandad went later, about 5.50pm, with Ron Douglas.

County Elections May 1974

Grandma also noted that there were County elections on 30 May 1974 and that Ron Douglas took her and grandad to vote. She commented that “Bell got in”.

Other Local Elections December 1974

Grandad also noted further local elections on 12 December 1974. Again, Ron took them to vote. Grandad noted the result of the election, Mr Jones independent 400, Mr Robinson Liberal 340 and Mr John Abbott Labour 115. Grandad noted that they voted for Mr Robinson.

I have not been able to find details of these elections and this is frustrating as I am sure these details would have been available through the previous Local Recall website. Grandma noted explicitly that the May elections were at County level. Given the numbers in the December election, I wonder if these were parish elections.


Grandad also noted when Budgets were made during this period and he sometimes noted some of the measures in them.

Anthony Barber Mini-Budget 1970

Following the surprise Conservative victory in 1970, Edward Heath and Chancellor Anthony Barber, brought in a mini-budget in October. Grandad noted this and referred to it as a “small budget”. He did not note any of its measures. It appears that it consisted of a range of spending cuts and promises of tax cuts.

Budget March 1971

In March 1971, grandad noted that there was a further budget and, in particular, that the old age pension was to rise in September to £6 for the husband and £3.70 for the wife.

Budget March 1972

There was another budget in March 1972 and grandad noted that Purchase Tax was reduced and the old age pension was set to increase in October to £10.90 for a couple and £6.75 for a single person. Grandad noted that a retired couple would not pay any tax if their income was not above £929.

Budget March 1973

In March 1973, there was a further budget. It was in this budget that grandad noted there were plans to scrap Purchase Tax from the end of March and to introduce VAT instead. Grandad noted that while VAT would apply to most products, there would be some exemptions including on children’s clothes and footwear and some food. On the day after the budget, grandad noted that the Daily Mail explained that the old age pension would go up, from October, to £12.59 per week for a couple. Grandad noted that the maximum allowance for tax was £1,000.

Anthony Barber – Budget 1973 – image licenced for re-use from Alamy

Purchase Tax Ends and VAT Introduced

In March 1973, grandad noted that Purchase Tax and Selective Employment Tax ended and, from 1 April 1973, they were being replaced by VAT.

Britain Joins “the Common Market”

Grandad noted that Parliament voted for Britain to join the Common Market  on 28 October 1971. Apparently, there was a debate lasting six days. But, MPs then voted in principle to join by 356 to 244.

An Initial Application Had Been Rejected

An initial application to join was rejected in the early 1960s but a new application was made in 1967 with negotiations beginning in 1970.

Three Communities and the Implications of Joining

In fact, Britain was applying to join three communities – the European Economic Community, the European Atomic Energy Community and the European Coal and Steel Community. This included the provision of incorporating community law into British law and the judgements of the European Court of Justice and the Community Customs Union, the Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy.

Signing the Treaty

Edward Heath then signed the treaty, which grandad referred to as “the papers“, on 22 January 1972.

Parliamentary Votes

There was a vote in Parliament on 17 February 1972 with a majority of eight in favour of joining. This was the bill’s second reading and the vote was 309-301. However, grandad noted that it was not yet decided. A further vote was held on 13 July 1972 after the bill’s third reading. This vote was 301-284. The bill received Royal Assent on 17 October 1972 and took effect on 1 January 1973.

On 1 January 1973, grandad noted that the UK became a member of “the Eastern European Community” known as the Common Market. As far as I know, it was never called this and I wonder if grandad meant to write European Economic Community.

Grandad’s diary entry for 1 January 1973 which noted that Britain had joined the European Common Market. I am assuming that the reference to an Eastern European Community is a mistake and he meant to say European Economic Community
First Day Covers commemorating the UK joining the European Communities in 1973 belonging to my father (above) and me (below)
Information leaflet about the European Communities that was with dad’s First Day Cover

Unemployment Tops 1 Million

Grandad noted, on 20 January 1972, that 1,023,583 people were out of work in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. I think he did this because this was the first time that more than one million people had been unemployed since the 1930s.

Graph of rates of unemployment and inflation from 1881 to 2017. Although number of unemployed topped 1 million in 1972, the biggest rises in that rate came in the 1980s. Public domain image from Ewan McGaughey

1971 Census

On 25 April 1971, grandad noted completing the census form and that there were more questions than usual. On the 26th, a man called to collect the form.

According to Wikipedia, there were no new questions in the 1971 census. But, I compared the 1961 and 1971 forms and found that while there were 12 questions in 1961 (A-M with no question I), there were 24 in 1971. Items that seem to have been included in 1971 but not 1961 include date of birth as compared to age, usual address, employment status (9 questions), a question about students, country of birth of father and mother, usual address one year ago, usual address five years ago, education level (2 questions), names and year of birth of children* and details of marriage*. Questions marked with an asterisk were only asked of women under 60 who were married, widowed or divorced. ,


One of the major things that happened during this period was that the UK decimalised its currency on 15 February 1971.

Banks Closed in Preparation

Grandad noted that banks were closed from the 11th in preparation.

D Day

He noted the change on the day it happened and that a new penny was worth 2.4 old pennies.

New Money on the Buses

He noted that the bus company started using decimal money on Sunday 21 February 1971 (see Chapter 111).

My Recollections

I recall this change as I was ten at the time. I remember going to the local shop on so-called “D Day” either with new money or getting new coins in my change. However, I think, being young, I found the transition easy as the new system was simpler and much more logical. But, I know it was seen as difficult by many older people who were used to the old system.

First Decimal Coins

Among mum’s papers were six sets of these first decimal coins. I am not sure why she had so many sets but she also had multiples of the same coins for other events, such as the Coronation, Charles and Diana’s wedding, Churchill’s death etc. Perhaps she intended to distribute them to others but never did.
The inside of the presentation set showing information about the coins and five of the decimal coins – ½p, 1p, 2p, 5p and 10p
The other side of the coins showing the Queen’s head
The other side of the information card with information about “D Day

Calculation Aids

There were a wide range of tools to help people convert between old and new money. There was a small plastic card inserted in one of the presentation packs. This appears to offer a simple currency converter (above) and it originated from the East Anglian Trustees Savings Bank indicated on the reverse (below)
The Collins National Decimal Reckoner had conversion tables on the front inside cover
There were also more complex gadgets including a Decimeter (above middle row) with cover [above top]) and a Witozan (above). Both devices required calculating amounts for shillings and pence separately and then adding them. Both devices in the picture are set to show the amount for 17/7.

A Guide

The Decimal Currency Board produced a practical guide to decimal money and that is reproduced here in full because I found it interesting and intriguing

Decimal Dollies

Many shops and businesses had additional people available to help customers who were struggling with the new money. When I was researching decimalisation on the buses (see Chapter 110), I came across an article in the EDP archive, Local Recall, which is now sadly no longer available. This referred to young women working in this role being referred to as “decimal dollies” and/or Dolly Decimal. Apparently, this term was fairly widely-used reflecting a very different time! I found reference to this terms being used in Aberdeen (where the headline described two of the women as “smart with their figures”!), Ashford, Dover, Herne Bay, Lincoln, London (where the Daily Mirror featured a young woman wearing a bikini made out of decimal coins!), Ramsgate, Runcorn and  Tonbridge.

Photograph from the Trustee Savings Bank featuring “decimal dolly” Mary Fallbrow. It is captioned “a customer gets some helpful advice from blonde Mary Fallbrow”. It is not clear why she is sitting on the counter! Image licenced for re-use from Alamy

Decimal Currency Tea Towels

Various goods, such as tea towels (above and below), were available related to decimalisation, some of which included conversion charts.

Sum It

The game Sum It, which required players to collect cards which totaled a particular amount, also switched from £ s d (left) to £ p (right)

First Day Covers

Dad’s First Day Cover for the high value decimal stamps that were brought out in the year prior to decimalisation with information card that came with the cover (below).
My First Day Covers for decimal definitives. The high-value ones (above) came out in the year prior to decimalization. They are the same ones that dad had except he got the 50p one and I did not! The low-value stamps (below) were issued on D-day itself. It is interesting to note that the cover has been stamped to say it was delayed by the postal strike.

Strikes and Industrial Action

This period was characterised by strikes and industrial action. Various groups went on strike during this period.

Newspaper Workers

In June 1970, grandad noted that there was a strike affecting the national papers in Fleet Street in London. He noted that this meant that the Daily Mail was not delivered although the strike did not affect local papers.


In July 1970, grandad noted that there was a national dockers’ strike.

News cutting from the docks strike of 1970 showing the Minister of Agriculture, James Prior, visiting Smithfield Market to see how the strike was affecting prices.
News cutting from the docks strike of 1970 showing luggage being handled by crew members and office staff in Southampton.

He noted a further docks strike in July 1972.

There was another dock strike in July 1972. There were some clashes between pickets and police. This image is said to be of a man who enraged dockers by striking out with a brick. Image licenced for re-use from Alamy


During both December 1970 and November 1973, go-slows by electricians led to widespread power cuts.

Postal Workers

Grandad noted that there was a postal strike from 20 January 1971 until 7 March 1971 when 196,140 voted to return to work with 14,270 against. Apparently, it was the longest national stoppage for 45 years.

Telephonists marching to Speakers Corner in Hyde Park in March 1971. Image licenced for re-use from Alamy


In March 1971, grandad noted a strike of two million engineers etc. in protest at the proposed Industrial Relations Bill in parliament. He clarified that 1.2m would be on strike with a further 1.3m idle as a result. He also noted that it was a one day strike.


In 1972, there was a miners’ strike from 9 January. On 18 February, the miners met the Prime Minister and, following that, there was a ballot of miners on Wednesday 23 February. Miners’ leaders recommended returning to work and the miners voted strongly in favour of resuming work (210,039 in favour and 7,581 against). Miners were also involved in industrial action at the end of 1973/beginning of 1974. In March 1974, grandad noted that the miners agreed to new wages which meant they would be returning to work.

Gas Workers

In February 1973, gas workers went on strike or go-slow.

Bakers/Bread Workers

In December 1974, grandad noted that there was a bread strike across the country. This lasted from the 1st to the 11th.

Effects of These Strikes

Grandad noted various effects of these strikes.

Not Having Papers Delivered

This was the case when national newspaper workers went on strike in June 1970.

Power Cuts

December 1970

In December 1970, grandad noted that there were power cuts caused by the electricians’ go-slow. On the 9th, grandad lent us his Paul Warma paraffin stove for when there was a power cut. He considered that the strike was causing chaos all over the country because of blackouts.

In the early 1970s, power cuts were common as a results of industrial action, exacerbated in 1973 by war in the Middle East. In this photo customers in a pub in Newcastle are drinking by candlelight in December 1970.

January and February 1972

n January and February 1972, there were more power cuts as a result of the miners’ strike. These meant that, on 10 February, grandma held her ladies’ meeting at their house rather than at church. Mum again borrowed grandad’s Paul Warma paraffin stove and he borrowed further paraffin stoves from Ron Douglas. Grandad noted that the power cuts continued for a few days after the miners returned to work.

In addition to domestic power cuts, grandad noted that the street lights were not on on the High Road. Although domestic power cuts ended on 1 March 1972, the street lights on the High Road were only turned back on on the 7th.

November 1973 to March 1974

From November 1973, a go-slow by electrical engineers led to restrictions on electricity use and restrictions of this nature persisted until March 1974.

On 15 and 22 November, the Drayton Ladies met at grandma and grandad’s house rather than at church. On the 18th, Drayton Methodist Church had no heating so they borrowed the Paul Warma from grandma and grandad and also other paraffin heaters from church members.

Again, during this period, the street lights on the High Road were not switched on to save electricity.

In January 1974, grandad noted that, because of the coal crisis, shops can only use electricity three days per week. This also applied to several companies. Hospitals and a few others were exempt but not churches or chapels..

At the end of 1973, grandad noted that power cuts were not only caused by industrial action but Arab nations were restricting flow of oil to the UK in protest at UK’s support to Israel in the war in the Middle East. Grandad referred to this as “the Arabs are keeping back petrol because of the war with Israel until we cease helping the Jews”.

I recall in the 1970s that the local paper published rotas for when power cuts might be expected. This is such a rota for the London area from 17 December 1973.

Postal Delays

One concrete effect of the postal strike was that a cheque that grandad was supposed to receive for interest on his Luton investment, which was due on 1 February, only arrived on 15 March.

Bread Shortages

There were shortages of bread during the bread strike of December 1974. Grandad noted that, during this time, mum made her own bread and sometimes gave them some. He also noted having a loaf delivered when the strike ended on the 11th.

Queuing for bread in Birmingham during the bread strike of 1974. Image licenced for re-use from Alamy

Three-Day Week

At the end of 1973, there was a reduction in the working week.

What Caused the Strikes?

While the main reason for the strikes was to seek higher pay in the face of very high inflation, there were also concerns about government employment legislation including the 1971 Industrial Relations Act.

Multiple Sectors on Strike

Some strikes involved multiple sectors, e.g. the miners’ strike of 1972, the gas workers’ strike in February 1973 and strikes and go-slows by various sectors in November and December 1973. 

Country in a Mess

In December 1973, grandad noted “the country is in a mess, trouble with miners, railway men & electricians, other trades also not satisfied with wages” and, in January 1974, “the country is in a mess. I do not know what will happen”.

Rolls Royce Nationalised

In February 1971, grandad noted that Rolls Royce were to be taken over by the government. It appears that this was as a result of a financial crisis within the company. Apparently, it operated as a nationalised entity until it was sold off in 1987.

 Labour MP, Walter Johnson, addressing Rolls Royce workers at the Friends Meeting House in London in February 1971. Financial mismanagement related to the engine RB211 led to the crisis but the engine went on to be extremely successful. Mountsorrel was the location of a Rolls Royce factory although this closed in 1994.

Air Crashes

During this period, grandad noted details of two major air crashes.

Invicta International Airlines Flight 435

On 10 April 1973, grandad noted that there had been a big air crash in Basle in Switzerland. He noted that the plane had come from Bristol and that about 108 people had been killed. His initial entry was 101 killed but he later revised this to 108. This crash was of Invicta International Airlines Flight 435 which was en route to Basel-Mulhouse from Bristol Lulsgate. Invicta International was a charter airline that operated from 1965 to 1982.

Wreckage of Invicta International Flight 435 © ETH-Bibliothek Zürich and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Turkish Airlines Flight 981

Just under one year later, on 3 March 1974, grandad noted that there had been another crash of a Turkish plane in France. He noted that there were 334 passengers and 11 crew. According to Wikipedia, there appear to have been 343 passengers on board. Of these, 117 had come from Istanbul while a further 216 boarded in Paris. However, the death toll cited of 346 would suggest the number of passengers was closer to 335. All on board were killed. Of the passengers, 250 were British with 18 from Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club. This crash was of Turkish Airlines Flight 981 which was a scheduled flight from Istanbul to Heathrow. The crash was said to have been caused by an incorrectly-secured cargo door. The crash occurred in the Ermenonville Forest near Paris.

Aerial view of the path cut through the forest at Ermenonville by the crash of Turkish Airlines flight 981. Image licenced for re-use from Alamy

Apollo Missions

As in the late sixties (see Chapter 97), grandad’s diaries contained a number of entries about the Apollo programme in the early seventies.

Apollo 13

On 11 April 1970, grandad noted that he and grandma saw Apollo 13 set off for the moon from Cape Kennedy. Then, on the 14th, grandad noted that Apollo 13 had had a “mishap” and that it went round the moon and returned to earth without landing on the moon. This was a serious incident which became the topic of a major film in 1995. On the 17th, grandad noted seeing Apollo 13 splashdown on TV. He noted that all three men were OK.

Apollo 13 crew (John Swigert, Jim Lovell and Fred W Haise) with US President Richard Nixon following their return to earth. Public domain image from Collection-NASA

Apollo 14

At the end of January 1971, grandad noted seeing a recording of Apollo 14 leaving for the moon. He noted that it was delayed for over an hour because of the weather. He noted that the BBC showed their usual programmes and then showed the recording. On 4 February 1971, he noted that Apollo 14 circulated the moon at 10-50 miles ready for landing. On the 5th, astronauts from Apollo 14 landed on the moon. Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell landed on the moon with Stuart Roosa remaining in the command module. Grandad noted seeing it on TV. On the 6th, the astronauts walked a longer distance. Then, on the 8th, they started their return to earth. On the 9th, they splashed down in the Pacific Ocean and grandad noted that they saw it on TV at 10.05pm.

Apollo 15

On the afternoon of 26 July 1971, grandad noted seeing Apollo 15 blast off to the moon. On the 30th, the astronauts landed on the moon with a “kind of motor car”. Grandad noted that they landed at 11.15pm and that two astronauts landed while one remained in Apollo 15. The two who landed were David R Scott and James Irwin while Alfred Worden remained in the command module. On the 31st, grandma and grandad saw further TV pictures of men walking on the moon. On 2 August 1971, on the 10pm news, they saw a recording of the American astronauts lifting off the moon on their way back to earth. Grandad noted they were making two circles of the moon before heading back to earth. On the 7th, they splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at about 10pm.

This photo from the Apollo 15 mission shows David R Scott in the Lunar Roving Vehicle which grandad referred to in his diary © NASA’s Marshall Space  Flight Center and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Apollo 16

Grandad noted fewer details of Apollo 16. He did not record blast off or landing on the moon but, on 24 April 1972, he noted that he and grandma saw the American astronauts, John Young, Charles Duke and Ken Mattingly, leave the moon to head back to earth. On the 27th, grandma and grandad saw the splash down in the Pacific Ocean at about 8.45pm.

Apollo 17

Similarly with Apollo 17, grandad did not record take-off or moon landing. He did note that they saw Apollo 17 leave the moon at 10.55am on 14 December 1972. It then orbited the moon and was expected back on earth on Tuesday 19th. On the 19th, he noted seeing the return of Apollo 17 at 7.25pm. The crew of Apollo 17 were Gene Cernan, Harrison Schmitt and Ronald Evans. Grandad wondered if it would be the last journey to the moon this century. In fact, as of April 2023, there have been no further manned flights to the moon. But, there are plans to establish a permanent base there.

The Troubles

Although grandad had made some mention of troubles in Northern Ireland, which he referred to as Ulster, in the late sixties (see Chapter 97), there were many more entries during this period. Often, he just noted that the troubles continued.

Bloody Sunday

However, he did note that, on 30 January 1972, 13 people had been killed “during riots”. These events are now known as Bloody Sunday. A total of 14 people are considered to have died as a result of these events in which British soldiers shot a number of unarmed people participating in a demonstration.

The following day, grandad noted that these people had been killed by soldiers. On 2 February 1972, he noted seeing the funeral for those killed. On the 3rd, the British Embassy in Dublin was set on fire and destroyed.

Grandad noted that “the Irish” were saying the British soldiers fired first while the British said it was “the Irish”. Although these were the arguments put forward at the time, and largely confirmed by the Widgery Tribunal, the Saville Inquiry deemed the killings unjustified and unjustifiable and placed the blame firmly on British soldiers.

Bloody Sunday memorial badge
Bloody Sunday mural in Derry taken in 2014. Mural is of a well-known scene in which a  local Catholic priest tries to help lead one of the people that was shot, Jack Duddy, to safety.  However, Jack Duddy died from his injuries © Joseph Mischyshyn and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Direct Rule

On 30 March 1972, grandad noted that, because of the trouble in Ulster, government was now direct from Westminster. Direct rule continued uninterrupted from 1972 to 1998 and has been reinstituted at various points since.

Deaths and Explosions

Grandad noted that there had been several deaths and explosions there. Perhaps the most notable of these were the Abercorn Restaurant bombing in which two people were killed and 130 wounded, some seriously, and the Donegall Street bombing, in which seven people were killed and 148 wounded.

More British Troops

By July 1972, grandad noted that over 100 soldiers had been shot or killed by bombs. On the 30th, he noted that more troops had been sent there.

Old Bailey Bombing

The following year, on 8 March 1973, grandad noted that bombs had exploded in London and one person had been killed and 213 injured. This is now referred to as the Old Bailey bombing as one of the bombs went off outside the courthouse. Another exploded outside the Ministry of Agriculture about the same time and two other devices were defused. Wikipedia notes that the person who died died of a heart attack attributed to the bombing. Number injured is given as between 180 and 220 in the text and 243 in the text box.

At the time grandad wrote, police were reporting that they did not know who was responsible. It is now known that this was the Provisional IRA’s first major attack in England.

Photo of a barrister being helped to safety after the IRA bombed the Old Bailey on 8 March 1973. Image licenced for re-use from Alamy

US Troops Withdraw from Vietnam

On 23 January 1973, grandad noted that the war in Vietnam had ended after 20 years. He noted that America had been involved in it for 12 years. He appears to have been referring to a decision to withdraw US troops which happened over the next couple of months. The war itself did not end completely until 1975 when Vietnam was united under Communist rule. There had been conflict in Vietnam prior to 1954, e.g. directed at French colonial rule but the Vietnam War is considered to have started from 1954 after French withdrawal. It is not clear why grandad considered that the US had been involved in the war since 1961. The United States had had some involvement before that but large-scale deployment of US troops to Vietnam only really started in the late 1960s.

US troops leaving Vietnam in March 1973 © manhhai and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Yom Kippur War

Grandad had previously noted the six-day war between Israel and Egypt (see Chapter 97). On 14 October 1973, he noted that there was again war between Israel and some Arab states. He noted on 17th and 22nd that fighting was continuing but that there was a lull in the fighting on the 30th.

This war took place between 6 and 25 October 1973 between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria. Fighting was concentrated in the Sinai peninsula and the Golan heights. The war started when Arab states attacked Israel. It ended with a ceasefire on October 25 with Israel having strengthened its military position but there was recognition that the Arab states were stronger militarily than they had been.

Image from the Yom Kippur war of October 1973 showing an Israeli military column en route to Syria. Image licenced for re-use from Alamy.

Hong Kong Flu

In January 1970, there was a bad flu outbreak. Grandad noted that thousands had died since December 1969. This referred to the Hong Kong flu epidemic (see Chapter 88).

Extreme Weather

Grandad noted extreme weather during this period, particularly bouts of very cold weather.

January and February 1970 1970

For example, on 7 January 1970, he noted that King’s Lynn had had its coldest day since 1963 reading 10°F (-12°C). In Yorkshire, it was the coldest for 20 years. On the 8th, the weather was still bad with horse racing and some midweek football matches cancelled.

The next month, grandad noted that 12 February 1970 was the coldest day of the winter with snow and gales across the country. On the 14th, he noted that many football matches were postponed. On the 17th, there was a blizzard all over the country with snow of one to two feet. Grandad noted that they had three to four inches and that it was very cold.

The First Division match between Nottingham Forest and Ipswich on 14 February 1970 was cancelled because of the weather
The cancelled game was rescheduled and was played on Friday 10 April 1970. Forest won the game 1-0

March 1970

The following month, on 4 March 1970, grandad again noted that it was very cold with a blizzard over most of the country. He noted that other places had been much more badly affected than where they were. He noted that the 10 o’clock TV news had said that it was the worst for 20 years. On the 7th, he noted it was still cold and that several football matches had been postponed. On the 8th, he noted that it was very cold again. However, they had frost but no snow although there had been six to eight inches of snow in other parts of England and Wales.

Programme from the Division 2 game between Preston North End and Cardiff City on 7 March 1970 which was postponed because of the weather. It was played on 20 April 1970. Cardiff won 2-1.

December 1970

On Boxing Day 1970, grandad noted that it was very cold with more snow and football matches postponed. He commented that South East England had had its worst blizzards for 43 years. On the 27th, there was more snow with England and Wales more badly affected than Scotland. On the 29th, the picture was similar although locally it rained which cleared much of the snow.

January 1971

On 2 January 1971, grandad noted that several football matches were postponed because of frost and snow and there was no horse racing.

February 1971

The next month, on 1 February 1971, grandad noted a very cold wind and that there was snow in some parts of the country. On 16 February 1971, the morning news said it was -3°C in Norwich. There was a big frost in Drayton.

November 1972

The following year, on 18 November 1972, grandad noted that the weather was very cold and they had had slight snow but it had been heavier in the west.

January 1973

On 20 January 1973, there was snow in several parts of the country with several football matches postponed.

February 1973

The next month, on 13 February 1973, grandad noted there was snow during the morning but that it cleared in the afternoon. He noted that it was worse in the North and Midlands.

November 1973

On 28 November 1973, grandad quoted the Daily Mail, saying it had been the coldest night since 1900.


Grandad also noted particular storms.

June 1970

For example, on 12 June 1970, grandad noted that there was rain and thunder across the country although they did not have any locally.

August 1972

On 1 August 1972, about 6am, a thunder-storm woke grandad up. It continued until 9am. He noted that it did not really cease until the afternoon. He remarked that it was the worst storm since they had moved to Drayton. Parts of the slabs at the side and the front were flooded. Costessey had more rain than any other place in the Norwich area, 5.46 inches.

Heavy Rain

Grandad also noted other times when there was heavy rain.

June 1970

For example, on 29 June 1970, he noted slight rain where they were but that it had been very heavy in other parts of Norfolk.

High Winds

He also noted when there had been high winds.

November 1971

For example, on 22 November 1971, it was very windy with snow and rain. The wind blew a large branch off a pine tree.

September 1974

On 7 September 1974, it was very windy with rain. Many trees were brought down across the country. Grandad noted that their lawns were covered in pine needles and cones.

Bouts of Hot Weather

Grandad also noted bouts of hot weather.

June 1970

For example, on 21 June 1970, grandad noted that it was 80°F (27°C) in the lounge and was the hottest day of the year. Norwich water board had a loudspeaker van warning people of the water shortage.

July 1970

On 7 July 1970, grandma and grandad went to Southwold with Tom and Amy Wilson. The weather was very hot and grandad said he had never seen so many people on the beach.

May 1971

On 10 May 1971, it was the hottest day in East Anglia since last September.

July 1971

On 9 July 1971, grandad noted that it was very hot, 80°F (27°C) in their lounge and 84°F (29°C) in London. Then, on the 11th, it was 86°F (30°C) in Taverham and 88°F (31°C) in London.

July 1972

On 19 July 1972, grandad noted that it was the hottest day in Norfolk this year.

Warm and Dry Januarys

Grandad also noted unusually mild  or dry weather in the winter. For example, on 10 January 1971, ITV reported that Scotland had experienced the warmest January day ever recorded and, on 31 January 1973, grandad noted that it had been the driest January since 1901.

Natural Disasters

Grandad also noted when there were natural disasters.

San Fernando Earthquake

For example, on 10 February 1971, grandad noted that there had been an earthquake in California the previous day. This was the San Fernando earthquake. It caused extensive damage to hospitals, transportation systems, schools and the Van Norman Dam. Hospitals damaged included Olive View Hospital and the Veterans Administration Hospital.

An injured patient from the leveled Veterans Hospital is evacuated following the San Fernando earthquake. At least 26 people were killed, 11 of them at this hospital. Image licenced for re-use from Alamy.

Earthquake and Eldfell Eruption

Grandad noted another earthquake during this period. On 23 January 1973, grandad noted that there had been an earthquake on an island off the coast of Iceland. He commented that there had been no earthquakes there for 7,000 years.

Apparently, this was the result of the opening of a previously unknown fissure beneath the island of Heimaey less than a mile from the town of Vestmannaeyjar which had  a population of about 5,000. The entire population of the island was evacuated and the newly-formed Eldfell volcano erupted for about six months. Within a year of the end of the eruption, residents returned and the island remains inhabited today.

View of Eldfell volcano on Heimaey, Iceland © Diego Delso and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
The eruption was very close to the town of Vestmannaeyjar with some buildings being fired by the lava. All inhabitants were evacuated, mostly by fishing boat © Óskar Elias Björnsson and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence


During this period, grandad kept in touch with the news both through the television and through national newspapers. I think he also probably bought local newspapers. He had his papers delivered from a newsagent on Drayton Wood Road (see Chapter 108). Until June 1970, the newsagent had also collected the money but, from that point, at least for a short time, grandad went to the newsagent to pay for their papers and for those of their neighbours (see Chapter 108).

The Daily Mail Goes Tabloid

The main national paper that grandad read was the Daily Mail. He noted, on 3 May 1971, that it was published as a small-sized paper. Grandad did not use the word tabloid but it was from this point that the Daily Mail adopted tabloid format. I am not sure if it also changed from stapled to non-stapled format but, in September 1972, Jim and Renie bought grandad a stapler for the Daily Mail (see Chapter 108). The first edition of the Daily Mail in tabloid format, of which I have a copy, was not stapled.

First tabloid-size edition of the Daily Mail from 3 May 1971
Editorial from first tabloid version of the Daily Mail on 3 May 1971

A Price Increase and A Cancellation

On 11 February 1974, grandad noted that the Daily Mail went up to 4p. Presumably as a result of this, on the next day, he cancelled his subscription to the News of the World.

The News of the World

This was a weekly newspaper that was published from 1843 to 2011. It adopted tabloid format in 1984 and became the Sunday sister paper of the Sun. It closed in 2011 as a result of revelations of phone hacking.

The Continuous British Summer Time Experiment Ends

On 30 October 1971, grandad noted that the clocks were put back after three years of British Summer Time. He noted that people had objected to the dark mornings and he cross-referenced his diary entry of 18 February 1968 (see Chapter 97). However, there was a reduction in accidents and RoSPA would like to see permanent summer time reintroduced. Grandad also noted that the correct time of change was 3am on the morning of Sunday 31 October 1971.

Whit Changed to Spring Bank Holiday

On 30 May 1971, grandad underlined that it was Spring Bank Holiday. He referred to Monday 31 May as Whit Monday and SBH. SBH stands for Spring Bank Holiday and he had underlined it. On 27 May 1973, he commented explicitly that Spring Bank Holiday had replaced Whit and that he did not agree with the change.

According to grandad, this change had been made in 1967 (see Chapter 97). According to Wikipedia, Whit Monday was a bank holiday until 1967 but the change from Whit Monday to Spring Bank Holiday was made formally in 1971.

It is pretty clear from grandad’s other diary entries that he was very unhappy with this change although this is the first/only time he noted explicitly that he did not agree with the change. I don’t know why grandad objected so strongly to the change. Perhaps it was because it was a shift from tradition, particularly Christian tradition. Whit Monday had been an important date in their church calendar because of “Whit walks” (see Chapter 79, for example). One main effect of the change was that the holiday occurred more regularly, on the last Monday of May. Whit is linked to Easter so falls at a different time each year.  This means that Whit Monday and Spring Bank Holiday do not always coincide. 

Miss World 1970

On 21 November 1970, grandad noted that Jennifer Hosten from Grenada won the world beauty contest at the Albert Hall in London.

Grandad did not note any of the controversies which surrounded this event including the fielding of two contestants (one black, one white) from South Africa, protests by Women’s Liberation activists and concerns about the result given that the Prime Minister of Grenada was on the judging panel with counter-accusations of racism. In addition, as far as I know, this was the only time he mentioned Miss World contests.

Photo from Miss World 1970 showing Irith Lavi (Miss Israel – 3rd), Jillian Jessup (Miss South Africa – 5th), Jennifer Hosten (Miss Grenada), Pearl Jansen (Miss Africa South – 2nd) and Marjorie Johansson (Miss Sweden -4th). Image licenced for re-use from Alamy

Ibrox Disaster

On 2 January 1971, grandad noted that a barrier had collapsed at a football stadium in Glasgow with 66 people killed and 66 taken to hospital. This was at Ibrox Park, the home of Rangers, and it occurred at a match with Celtic. It is now known as the Ibrox disaster.

Grandad later revised the number injured to 149 based on ITV news. The number eventually rose to more than 200 injured. Grandad noted that it was the worst disaster in British football history. It was the worst in terms of deaths until the Hillsborough disaster in 1989.

The disaster occurred as a crush occurred on a stairway as fans left the game. Those who died lost their footing and were trampled and suffocated in the crush.

Ibrox disaster January 1971. Image licenced for re-use from Alamy

F A Cup Finals

In most years, during this period, grandad noted watching some or all of the FA Cup Final. Grandad tended to refer to the FA Cup as “the English Cup”. I don’t recall ever hearing anyone else call it this!

The only year he did not record watching the Cup Final was in 1974, when hewas unwell and grandma was keeping his diary for him. It may be that he watched the game as usual but grandma did not record it or he may have been too unwell to watch it.


On 11 April 1970, grandad watched part of the Cup Final on TV from Wembley. He noted the result was Leeds 2 Chelsea 2. Leeds took the lead with a Jack Charlton header. Towards the end of the first half, Peter Houseman equalized for Chelsea. With just six minutes to go, Mick Jones scored for Leeds but Chelsea equalized again through Ian Hutchinson.

Thirty minutes of extra time were played but it was still a draw so there was a replay. This was at Old Trafford on 29 April. Grandad noted that this was the first time there had been a draw for “the English Cup” since 1912. He also noted watching part of the replay. He noted that Chelsea won 2-1 and it was the first time they won the “English Cup”. Leeds took the lead through Mick Jones but Peter Osgood equalized for Chelsea with 12 minutes to go. David Webb scored the winning goal for Chelsea just before half time in extra time.

Wembley Final

Front cover of programme for FA Cup Final 1970
 Ticket for FA Cup Final 1970
Teams and their routes to the FA Cup Final 1970 from the programme. The Chelsea line-up differed from the one shown in that Tommy Baldwin started instead of Alan Hudson with Marvin Hinton as substitute. Tommy Baldwin played number 7, Peter Houseman number 8 and Charlie Cooke number 11


Front cover of programme for replay of FA Cup Final 1970
Teams for the FA Cup Final replay in 1970 from the programme. The only change from the final was in the Leeds goal where David Harvey replaced Gary Sprake. Although there appear to have been a lot of changes in the Chelsea line-uip, it was the same as for the Wembley game except Ron Harris played number 2 and David Webb number 6
The replay programme contained still photos of the four goals from the Wembley final including this one of the first Leeds goal scored by Jack Charlton


On 8 May 1971, grandad noted the FA Cup Final at Wembley. Highlights are available on YouTube. The score was Arsenal 2 Liverpool 1 with all goals scored in extra time. The game was goalless at full-time. Liverpool took the lead in the first half of extra time through Steve Heighway. Arsenal equalised through George Graham with Charlie George scoring the winner. This victory meant that Arsenal won the league and cup double that year.

Charlie George celebrates winning the 1971 FA Cup Final with Arsenal having scored the winning goal in extra time. This image appeared in the 1972 FA Cup Final programme.
Front cover of programme for FA Cup Final 1971
Teams and their routes to the FA Cup Final 1971 from the programme


On 6 May 1972, grandad noted that they watched part of the FA Cup Final on TV. It marked the centenary of the FA Cup although it was only the 91st final because of disruption during the world wars. It was the 44th final to be played at Wembley.

Grandad noted that Leeds beat Arsenal 1-0. Leeds won through a headed goal scored by Allan Clarke early in the second half. It is the only time Leeds have won the FA cup.

Front cover of programme for FA Cup Final 1972
Teams and their routes to the FA Cup Final 1972 from the programme


On 5 May 1973, grandad noted the FA Cup Final at Wembley and that Sunderland, of the second division, beat Leeds 1-0. He also noted that the last time Sunderland were at Wembley was 1937.

Highlights of this match are available on YouTube. I recall this game and that it was a huge upset with Leeds overwhelming favourites to win. Sunderland were the first Second Division team to win the FA Cup since West Brom had done it in 1931. The winning goal was famously scored by Ian Porterfield in the first half.

Front cover of programme for FA Cup Final 1973
Teams and their routes to the FA Cup Final 1973 from the programme.

Norwich in League Cup Final in 1973

On 3 March 1973, grandad noted that dad, Alan and I went to Wembley to see Norwich play Tottenham in the League Cup Final (see Chapter 106). Grandad referred to it as a “cup match (not the English cup)”.

Football on Sunday

On 17 February 1974, grandad noted that football matches were now being played on Sundays and that they had been played for several Sundays.[1] Although grandad did not say so explicitly, I get the sense that this was a change of which he did not approve!

First Division

Apparently, although the first First Division game on a Sunday took place on 27 January 1974, others did not follow until 1983.

FA Cup

However, the matches grandad was referring to were in the FA Cup and potentially in lower divisions. The first ever professional game on a Sunday was on 6 January 1974 between Cambridge United and Oldham.

League Games

The first league game on a Sunday was on 20 January 1974 between Millwall and Fulham in the Second Division. 

Reasons for Playing on a Sunday

Part of the reason for playing on Sundays was to allow earlier kick off times to avoid having to use floodlights given the electricity shortages of the time.

Getting Round the Sunday Observance Act of 1780

The change was controversial because the Sunday Observance Act of 1780 was still in force but clubs got round the law by not charging admission but making buying a programme mandatory!


Sunday matches were particularly popular in lower divisions and, in one case, Darlington played Torquay at home on the Sunday having played Stockport at home the previous day. 

1974 World Cup

In June 1974, grandad noted that Alan and I did not come for tea on the 23rd and the 30th because we were watching football (see Chapter 106). This was the 1974 World Cup.

The BBC had extensive coverage of the World Cup. The picture shows the front cover of a Radio Time special featuring Scotland captain, Billy Bremner, and the BBC’s Jimmy Hill.
Of the home nations, Scotland had qualified but England had not as they lost to Poland away and only drew with them at home, a match I recall.
A completed chart showing all the games from the 1974 World Cup. Scotland failed to qualify from their group despite not losing a game. Poland beat Argentina, Italy and Brazil and finished third overall

Other Records of World Cups in the Diaries

Neither my mother nor my grandfather were particularly interested in football. So, it is not surprising that neither set of diaries mentioned the World Cup much.

The first time the World Cup was mentioned was in 1958 when mum noted watching part of a semi-final but not the final, which was played on a Sunday (see Chapters 64 and 68). Neither diary mentioned the 1962 World Cup in Chile but grandad noted watching part of the Final in 1966 (see Chapter 96). Again, neither diary mentioned the 1970 World Cup in Mexico although it is mentioned in Chapter 92 in relation to an advert in the 1969 FA Cup Final programme.

Grandad only really mentioned the 1974 World Cup indirectly because Alan and I did not come for Sunday afternoon tea because we were watching football (see Chapter 106).

My Recollections

I recall watching the World Cup in both 1970 and 1974 and being tortured by England’s repeated failure to qualify for World Cups throughout the 1970s! They did not need to qualify in 1966 (hosts) or 1970 (holders) and failed to qualify in both 1974 and 1978.   

Ilford v Romford in First Round Proper of FA Cup in 1974

On 24 November 1974, grandad noted that Alan did not come for tea as, the previous day, he had gone to London to go to a football match in London. I believe it was the FA Cup First Round Proper between Ilford and Romford which Ilford won 2-0. Ilford were knocked out in the next round by Southend at home (see Chapter 106).

I have not managed to get a programme for the Ilford v Romford match but I did get this one for the second round tie against Southend in December 1974. The image above is of the front cover
Details of players for Ilford in 1974
Team photograph of Ilford in 1974
Extract from the programme for the match between Ilford and Southend in the second round of the FA Cup in December 1974. This shows a team sheet, league positions and adverts. Ilford were second in the Rothmans Isthmian League and Southend tenth in Division 3


During this period, grandad noted a number of boxing matches he watched.

Muhammad Ali

Many of them featured Muhammad Ali although grandad largely persisted in calling him Cassius Clay even though he had changed his name in 1964.

Muhammad Ali v Jerry Quarry

On 27 October 1970, grandma and grandad watched a recording of Muhammad Ali beating Jerry Quarry in Atlanta, which grandad called Atlanta City. The fight was stopped in the fourth round because Quarry had a severe cut above his left eye. Grandad noted that it was Muhammad Ali’s first fight for 3½ years. This was because of his refusal to be conscripted to fight in the Vietnam war. He was subsequently denied a boxing licence and stripped of his titles. After fighting Quarry, Ali also fought Oscar Bonavena in New York in December 1970 winning on a technical knockout in the 15th round.

Photo from fight between Jerry Quarry and Muhammad Ali in Atlanta in October 1970. Image licenced for re-use from Alamy

Muhammad Ali v Joe Frazier

On 8 March 1971, Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier fought in New York for the world heavyweight boxing title. Highlights of the fight are available on YouTube. Frazier won on points after 15 rounds. Both men were previously undefeated. So, it was billed as “the fight of the century”.

The two had two further fights in January 1974 and October 1975, both of which Ali won. Grandad did not note this second fight in 1974. I don’t know if this was because it was not a title fight or because grandad was ill at the time – see Chapter 100.

Joe Frazier hits Muhammad Ali in the 15th round of their fight in March 1971. Image licenced for re-use from Alamy

Muhammad Ali v Floyd Patterson

On 21 September 1972, grandad watched the fight between Muhammad Ali and Floyd Patterson. Patterson retired with a cut eye in the 7th.

This was the second time Muhammad Ali had fought Floyd Patterson. Ali won both. The first was in 1965 although grandad did not note this. The second fight in 1972 was Patterson’s last.

In between the fight he lost against Joe Frazier in March 1971 and this fight with Floyd Patterson, Muhammad Ali had seven other fights all of which he won. His opponents were Jimmy Ellis, Buster Mathis, Jürgen Blin, Mac Foster, George Chuvalo, Jerry Quarry (again) and Alvin Lewis. In the first of these fights, Ali won the vacant North American Boxing Federation title.

Image from round one of the fight between Floyd Patterson and Muhammad Ali in 1972. Image licenced for re-use from Alamy

Joe Frazier v George Foreman

After this, grandad’s attention switched away from Muhammad Ali to, on 23 January 1973, the world heavyweight title fight between Joe Frazier and George Foreman. Highlights are available on YouTube. Foreman won in the second round when the fight was stopped by the referee.

In between fighting Muhammad Ali in March 1971 and George Foreman in January 1973, Joe Frazier defended his titles successfully twice against Terry Daniels and Ron Stander.

Joe Frazier fought George Foreman again in 1976 and lost for the second time.

Joe Frazier is knocked down in the second round of his fight with George Foreman in January 1973. Image licenced for re-use from Alamy

Muhammad Ali v Joe Bugner

Grandad’s attention then switched back to Muhammad Ali noting that, on 15 February 1973, he watched a recording of the fight with Joe Bugner in Las Vegas which Ali won on points after 12 rounds.

Ali had had one other fight since beating Floyd Patterson and that was against Bob Foster which Ali won.

Joe Bugner fought Muhammad Ali twice and lost on points both times.

For the fight against Joe Bugner, grandad referred to him as Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay). But, by the time it had got to the fight against George Foreman in 1974, grandad had reverted to Cassius Clay.

Joe Bugner fights Muhammad Ali for the first time in Las Vegas in February 1973. Image licenced for re-use from Alamy

Muhammad Ali v Ken Norton

In his next fight, on 31 March 1973, Muhammad Ali surprisingly lost to Ken Norton. Highlights are available on YouTube. Grandad noted that Ali had had his jaw broken. Although the fight went 12 rounds, it seems that Ali had his jaw broken in the second round.

Overall, Muhammad Ali and Ken Norton fought three times, twice in 1973 and again in 1976. All were decided on points, the first two on split decisions and the third one unanimously. However, the third fight was particularly controversial as many though Norton had won.

Ken Norton and Muhammad Ali fight for the first time in March 1973. Image licenced for re-use from Alamy

Muhammad Ali v George Foreman

Perhaps one of the most iconic fights of that period was the only fight between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali, in October 1974, in Kinshasa in what was Zaire and is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I recall it and it was billed as “the Rumble in the Jungle”. Although Ali had beaten Ken Norton and Rudie Lubbers in September and October 1973 and Joe Frazier in January 1984, Foreman was the reigning and unbeaten world heavyweight champion, was seven years younger than the 32-year-old Ali and was the overwhelming favourite to win.  But, Ali won by knockout in the eighth round.

Muhammad Ali knocked out George Foreman in the eighth round of their fight in Kinshasa in October 1974. Image licenced for re-use from Alamy

Muhammad Ali Retained His World Titles Multiple Times

Muhammad Ali defended his world titles ten times between 1975 and 1977 against Chuck Wegner, Ron Lyle, Joe Bugner, Joe Frazier, Jean-Pierre Coopman, Jimmy Young, Richard Dunn, Ken Norton, Alfredo Evangelista and Earnie Shavers. He finally lost, on split decision, to Leon Spinks on 15 February 1978. Ali was 36 years old. He did beat Spinks on a unanimous decision later in 1978. Ali had two further fights in 1980 and 1981 against Larry Holmes and Trevor Berbick respectively both of which he lost.

Wimbledon and Sunday Tennis

Grandad did not follow Wimbledon, in particular, or tennis, in general. However, he was interested in weather and the issue of sport being played on a Sunday. He noted that rain on 8 July 1972 meant that play was washed out at Wimbledon and that, as a result, tennis was played on the 9th which was a Sunday.

Until 1982, there was no play at Wimbledon on a Sunday as the middle Sunday was a rest day and the championship finished with the men’s singles final on the second Saturday. But, since 1982, the men’s final has been on Sunday. Since 2022, there will be play on the middle Sunday the argument being that the grass courts no longer require a rest day. What is odd is that there are only said to have been four years where rain meant there was need to play on the middle Sunday and those were in 1991, 1997, 2004 and 2016. So, no mention of 1972. This is because 9 July was not the middle Sunday but the last Sunday. Rain on the Saturday meant that the men’s singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles were delayed until Sunday and that was the first time that had happened.

Grand National

As in previous time periods (see Chapters 45, 86 and 97), grandad sometimes noted watching the Grand National. However, this was not every year, for example, not in 1970, 1972 or 1973.

On 3 April 1971, grandad noted watching the Grand National on television. He noted that Specify won.

Specify jumping Becher’s Brook the second time round before going on to win the 1971 Grand National. Image licenced for re-use from Alamy

On 30 March 1974, grandma and grandad watched the Grand National but they did not note any details. 1974 was the second of Red Rum’s three Grand National wins. Red Rum won in 1973, 1974 and 1977 and finished second in 1975 and 1976.

Boat Race

As in previous time periods (see Chapters 45, 59, 68, 86 and 97), grandad noted watching the University boat race most years. The only exception was 1972. During this period, Cambridge won four races with Oxford’s sole victory coming in 1974.

On 28 March 1970, grandad noted the boat race and that Cambridge won by 3¼ lengths.

Cambridge lead the 1970 boat race as they approach Hammersmith Bridge. Cambridge went on to win by three lengths. Image licenced for re-use from Alamy

The next year, on 27 March 1971, grandad noted seeing the boat race on TV. Cambridge beat Oxford by 10 lengths.  

Two years later, on 7 April 1973, grandad watched the boat race which Cambridge won by 13 lengths.

On 6 April 1974, grandma and grandad watched the boat race. Oxford made a record run of 17 minutes 35 seconds.

Sir Francis Chichester Died

On 26 August 1972, Sir Francis Chichester died, aged 70. He was the first man to sail around the world single-handed (see Chapter 97).

1972 Olympics

The Olympics were held in Munich in West Germany from 26 August to 11 September 1972.

Terrorist Attack

They were overshadowed by a terrorist attack by Palestinian Black September members in which eleven Israeli athletes and coaches and a West German police officer were killed. Five of the eight attackers were also killed.

This image, from the 1972 Olympics, is said to show a team of sniper-shooters on the roofs of the Olympic village. Image licenced for re-use from Alamy

Grandad noted, on 5 September 1972, that there was trouble and shooting at the Olympic Games in Munich. He noted that 17 men died as a result of the shooting between Arabs and West German police. Grandad noted that “the Arabs” had attacked the Israelis.

Although the games were temporarily suspended, they did resume.

The Games Themselves

Stars of those games included Mark Spitz in the swimming, Olga Korbut in the gymnastics and Lasse Virén in the athletics.

Great Britain won 18 medals – four gold, five silver and nine bronze. Perhaps the most well-known was Mary Peters winning the pentathlon which is now the heptathlon. Other gold medallists included Richard Meade, Mary Gordon-Watson, Bridget Parker and Mark Phillips in the three-day eventing and Chris Davies and Rodney Patisson in the sailing.

Mary Peters putting the shot in the pentathlon which she won for Great Britain in the 1972 Olympics. Image licenced for re-use from Alamy

Grandad’s Interest

I am not sure grandad was that interested in the Olympics! On the 9th, he noted that there was no wrestling because of the Olympics. But, on the 10th, when we came for tea, he noted that we all watched the Olympics from 3pm to tea time. He also noted that the Olympics finished on 11 September.

Local Events and News

Grandad also noted local events and news.

Street Lighting on Drayton High Road

In October 1970, grandma went to a meeting at Drayton school about street lighting in Drayton and it was agreed they should have them. I am not sure if this refers to Drayton in general or Drayton High Road specifically.

However, it was not until May 1971 that men started fixing lamp posts on the High Road. As part of this, they fixed a lamp post against the wall pillar of grandma and grandad’s front wall. Although there is a lamp post in front of their old house, it does not seem to be attached to the wall. This could mean that either the wall or the lamp post is “new”.

In June 1971, they started laying cables for the lamps and, in August, they put the lamp on the post ready for connecting. On 14 September 1971, grandad noted street lights were lit on the road for the first time. During this period, when there were electricity shortages, the street lights were not lit to save electricity.

Other Work on the High Road

Grandad also noted other work on the road outside their house during this period. In November 1971, he commented that men dug up all the weeds etc. in the road. Then, in March 1972, men started laying new kerbs at the front. The following month, in April 1972, men from the Council tarmacked “the causeway” at the front but only part of it and grandad considered it a poor job. So, in February 1973, men re-tarmacked the road on the High Road.

Major Fires

Grandad noted a number of major fires during this period.


On 1 August 1970, Garlands store in Norwich was gutted by fire. The fire started in a chip pan and spread to destroy the whole store. It took almost 70 firefighters three hours to get the blaze under control.

Garlands was opened by Richard Ellery Garland in London Street in 1862. According to Kelly’s Directories, in 1960, they were drapers based at 13-19 London Street and, by 1967, occupied 13-25 London Street.

Entry for Garlands in 1960 Kelly’s Directory

They were also based at 13-25 London Street in the 1970-71 Kelly’s Tradefinder but they do not appear in the 1971-72 version presumably as a result of the fire.

Garlands specialised in drapery but also were dressmakers, mantle makers and milliners. By 1920, it was a store with nearly 30 departments. Garlands was rebuilt in 1973 following the fire but closed in 1984.

Advert for Garlands

Habitat were based there from 1985 until 2011. In 2019, the building accommodated Jarrold Intersport (now closed), Laura Ashley (now closed), Mountain Warehouse, Cosmo and an upstairs gym.

Fire at “Copeland Grocery Store

On 21 October 1970, grandad noted that there was a fire at the place where Linda Bell worked. He recorded this as Copeland Grocery Store.

Grandad’s diary entry for 21 October 1970 concerning the fire at “Copeland’s”

Identifying the Correct Site of the Fire

However, based on discussion on the Norwich Remembers Facebook Group, it seems this fire was at the premises of Wholesale Grocers, John Copeman and Sons. A number of people suggested the grocer was Copeman and not Copeland. David Long and Keith Coppen specifically confirmed that there had been a fire at Copeman’s. I am a little surprised that I have not found any record of this fire online and suspect I would have done had the Local Recall project providing access to old copies of the Eastern Daily Press still been active.

The place was nearly gutted with damage caused worth £125,000.

John Copeman and Sons

John Copeman and Sons were a wholesale grocers and provision merchants. According to the 1960 Kelly’s Directory, they were based at 17 Duke Street and Colegate. There is an excellent photograph of their Duke Street premises on the Norwich and Norfolk History Facebook Group. This shows some of their lorries which are labelled as being part of Mace.

 Entry for Copeman’s from Kelly Directories in 1960

There appears to be a Premier Inn and NCP car park at this location now. Based on phone directories, it appears that Copeman’s were based at Duke Street from at least 1941 and, prior to that, had been in Davey Place. By 1967, Copeman’s had moved to Drayton Road and they were listed there in the Kelly’s Tradefinders for both 1970-71 and 1971-72. It was at this location that the fire occurred.

 Entry for Copeman’s from Kelly Directories in 1967

I don’t know what happened to Copeman’s but, based on telephone directories, they continued to trade in Drayton Road after the fire until at least 1983.

Eye Witness Accounts

According to eye witness accounts, the premises were on the corner of Drayton Road and Whiffler Road. There is an interesting account of working for Copeman’s on WISEArchive.

Fairfield Old People’s Home, Edwalton

Although not local to where they were now living in Norfolk, grandad noted that, on 15 December 1974, that there was a big fire at an old people’s home at Edwalton near Nottingham. He was presumably interested in this because of having lived for so long in Kirkby and also because of the severe consequences of the fire.

News reports at the time noted that at least 18 people were killed with a further 21 taken to hospital with shock and smoke inhalation. The fire occurred in the Fairfield Old People’s Home and a parliamentary enquiry was established which reported on 22 July 1975.

Aerial view of the Fairfield Old People’s Home in Edwalton after it was badly damaged by fire on 15 December 1974. The photo clearly shows the location on Wellin Lane opposite Alford Road. The location is now occupied by housing. Image licenced for re-use from Alamy (note image has been cropped)

Paul Douglas and the Police

On 15 May 1970, grandad noted that, during the morning, the police called as someone had dialled 999 because they had seen a man getting through a window near to where grandma and grandad lived. As they had the key for the Douglas’ house, 166 Drayton High Road, they let the police in. One police officer went upstairs and brought Paul Douglas back. Grandad was asked if he knew him and presumably he said that he did. The police said they would get in touch with his father and, later, Ron Douglas came home. Apparently, Paul claimed he had missed his bus but the police said that he was playing truant which Paul admitted.