Our Century

Streets on fire in July violence

Riot police
Pensive policemen on the streets of the West Midlands

Rioting took a firm hold on the streets of Handsworth and Wolverhampton in July as wave after wave of stone and petrol bomb attacks hit police, shops and cars bringing devastation and setting the streets on fire.

Five policemen were hurt, three rioters treated in hospital and nearly 100 people arrested during a five hour orgy of destruction.

Daylight revealed shocking scenes of mob rule in which 50 shops were wrecked and looted with the damage bill running into an estimated 500,000.

A full report on the trouble was called for by Councillor Edwin Shore, chairman of the West Midlands police committee.

"No one in the West Midlands is free from blame for what happened," he said. "I believe politicians locally and nationally have let the people down, especially in the run-down inner areas."

Dougan looks to future: Former Wolves soccer star Derek Dougan was masterminding a plan to expand Wolverhampton Stadium at a cost of more than 4 million. Five-a-side football, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, saunas and an eight-lane running track were all to be included in Dougan's April dream of a super stadium.

The celebrity thought up the scheme after failing to persuade Wolverhampton Wanderers to include community sports facilities in their new stand complex. He had already held talks with Employment Secretary, James Prior, about the possibiity of a 2 million aid package for the scheme from the Government, on the pretext that it would be providing a service for the high numbers of jobless in the town.

Dougan, one of the most popular men ever to play for Wolves, had also had secret talks with town clerk, Kenneth Williams.

He was given support by the town council's leisure committee - as long as suitable financial backing could be found.

Suspension for Sandwell sweethearts: Teenage sweethearts Jayne Clee and Glenn Mills were suspended from their Sandwell school in October - for stealing a kiss in the corridor.

The two 15-year-olds had been going out together for six months and were spotted in mid-kiss by the headmaster of Tividale Comprehensive School, Mr W Harding.

After being made to wait outside the headmaster's office for several hours, the two were handed a letter suspending them from school.

In the letter to the teenagers parents, Mr Harding said: "It was a very definite kiss in full view of other pupils in the school as they were going into lessons.

"I do not consider such behaviour to be appropriate to young people of their age and I consider such behaviour in school to be likely to bring the name of the school into disrepute."

Jayne and Glenn, both from Tividale, were told they would have to appear before a meeting of the school governors.

The youngsters angry parents hit out at the "Victorian" attitudes at the school. Mrs Joan Clee said: "Surely there is nothing wrong with them having a peck on the cheek before going to their classes."

Brum HQ closes . . . Midland Red announced in April that it was shutting down its Birmingham headquarters with the loss of 170 jobs.

But the bus company's central works, which employed more than 300 on the same site as its headquarters, was remaining open pending reports on the possibility of it being saved.

It was decided to carve up the company into four operating divisions for buses and one coach travel firm.

They were also creating 49 new jobs, possibly from the Birmingham redundancy list.

The five sections were to operate as companies in their own right.

Nuclear Bunker family

Bunkered - family tries life underground: A Staffordshire family went underground in April to spend two weeks in a bunker designed for nuclear war.

Robert Farmer, his wife Margaret and their 11-year-old daughter, Sarah, from Hednesford, were among 256 people who applied to test the shelter and received 750 for giving up a fortnight of their lives.

Their only outside contact with the world was a radio, to be switched on for about two hours a day.

The family were closely observed with a TV camera by the Derbyshire manufacturers of the 11,000 shelter.

Mr Farmer planned to spend the fortnight teaching his daughter to play chess, reading and keeping a diary of the family's reactions.

A spokesman for the company said they were making a serious study to see what a family experience if they spend a fortnight in isolation.

"The Farmer family will not come out of the shelter unless there is an emergency," he added.

Hazel a slimmer role model . . . Fashion conscious slimmer, Hazel Jones, from Ashmore Park, was held up as a shining example to would-be slimmers after shedding 80lbs. Hazel, aged 48, even earned the nickname, Twiggy, after slimming down from nearly 16 stone to nearly nine. At the first meeting of a new Weight Watchers Club in Pendeford, Wolverhampton, she was presented as an example to would-be slimmers.
Amy Ankers
Even Nicky Clarke and John Freida probably started off in some tiny salon.