NOSTALGIA: Blight of the vandals is nothing new you know

The front page from March 6, 1942.  W10064P12.
The front page from March 6, 1942. W10064P12.
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REPORTER Brian Stephens continues his look back at the Herald and Gazette archives this week.

VANDALISM was managing to raise the hackles of Worthing folk 70 years ago, despite Britain entering its fourth year of war against Nazi Germany.

It was reported in the Worthing Herald of March 6, 1942, that someone had “desecrated” the bust of the late Alderman Denton in the vestibule of the Assembly Hall.

Councillor G. Ellison told a town council meeting: “Somebody has actually pushed cigarettes into the figure’s mouth and I think it is a disgrace to the town.”

The mayor (Coun. Dr E. G. Annis) told him: “You are not in order, sir.”

Coun. Ellison replied: “I know I’m not, but I have got it out, Mr Mayor (laughter).”


A far more serious note was struck in a report from Shoreham Police Court, when a young Lancing mother pleaded guilty to the wilful neglect of her four-month-old daughter.

Magistrates sent her to prison for six months with hard labour, after the magistrates heard from an NSPCC officer that “had it not been for the timely intervention of the society, this woman might have appeared before you on a charge of manslaughter”.

Metal for the war

Despite the many military setbacks which the Allies were still experiencing in early 1942, the British always seemed to back the idea that they would win the war in the end.

Confidence in a “back-to-normal” future was expressed after a Worthing woman asked the town council to remove lamp-posts on the northern side of Marine Parade to provide scrap metal.

The highways committee did not think this was a bright idea because “the lamp columns will be required for lighting Marine Parade after the cessation of hostilities”.

But there was plenty of other Worthing metal pouring into the nation’s melting pot.

The council had given, or pledged, 109 tons of iron railings, and an estimated 248 tons of privately owned railings were scheduled for removal.

And the rest

Other items which made the news that week included:

By a big majority, the town council approved the establishment of nursery classes at Dominion Road and Durrington Council schools during 1942-43, at a cost of £450.

Local MP Earl Winterton was being asked by Worthing branch of the National Union of Public Employees to support the demand for raising the ban on the Communist Daily Worker newspaper.

Earl Winterton was also being asked to tackle the “serious menace of fun fairs”, brought to his attention by Worthing Youth Council.