Discovery of decades old Wimbledon Guardian gives insight into past

This Is Local London: Discovery of decades old Wimbledon Guardian gives insight into past Discovery of decades old Wimbledon Guardian gives insight into past

The chance discovery of a 31-year-old edition of The Wimbledon Guardian has allowed a sneak peek into the past.

Though brown with age and being used to plug a gap in a window frame at a home on Cromwell Road, Wimbledon the paper from May 27 is almost entirely intact.

Mustapha Ousellam, who has just moved into the property and was carrying out building work said: "There was also a copy of the Daily Express there, plus some other tattered papers.

"The Wimbledon Guardian was the only one intact.

"To be honest I was amazed at how well it had survived."

"The past is a foreign country", according to LP Hartley but in fact in Mrs Thatcher’s Britain, where the Cold War still simmered, the Falklands raged, and Chariots of Fire was released that year’s news reflected concerns and issues we would recognise today.

As in 2013, a Conservative government was making controversial changes.

Reports reveal binmen in Wandsworth were striking to protest privatisation, and youth unemployment was a pressing concern. Opponents of the government criticise Tory spending cuts and a shortage of affordable housing.

A report of an upcoming by-election does reveal a few relics from a different time.

The "Computer Democratic Party" hoped to bring an end to divisive party politics through the adoption of computerised voting and the National Front put forward a candidate for that year - a young man named Joseph Pearce.

Thirty years on, the National Front is an ugly and distant memory and Mr Pearce has renounced his racist views, and is now Professor of Humanities at an American university.

Mr Pearce said: "It is an uncanny experience to recall the Wimbledon election after more than three decades.

"In those days I was a hate-filled young man, intent on inciting racial hatred. Much has changed since, in society and in my own life.

"I am grateful that I have been able to leave behind the snare of racism and embrace love."

As it does today, this edition of the paper contained its share of fascinating local stories.

A ten year-old scout Darren Daly stood up to burglars who held him at gunpoint in his parents’ Epsom home.

Meanwhile, an injured cat found lying on Wimbledon Broadway was taken to hospital by a local resident, who pledged to adopt it if the owner wasn’t found.

 

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