Harold Hill History Index


8th May 1986.

The Conservatives were the big losers here, dropping from 37 to 28. Labour gained eight bringing them up to 20. Independents held nine and the Lib Dems still had five. The Tories carried on in coalition with the Independents. Not always getting their own way, one or two of the Independents did occasionally live up to their name. The Labour group harried and harassed but in the main had little to show for their troubles. Arthur Latham was securing his grip of the party, chairing the group meetings and often instigating and then controlling the agenda. Most of the group were happy with that.

Another new face, the prettiest yet. Del Smith was elected for the first time in Hilldene. Dennis Cook won his second election. The National Front tried for the second and last time, getting even less votes that on their first attempt. The Lib Dems soldiered on with a full sheet but their efforts came to nought and they all finished well behind the Conservatives.

3rd May 1990
Labour marched on, winning a further five seats at the expense of the Conservatives. The Lib Dems gained one and the Independents gained three, leaving the Tories nine down. The council was now 19 Conservative, 25 Labour, 6 Liberal Democrats and 13 Independents. A total of 63; 32 were needed for a majority and the previous Con/Ind coalition did retain just sufficient but the Independents had had enough and they decided that the coalition was no longer viable. Arthur Latham seized the opportunity and formed a minority administration. He became the leader of the council and although it looked on paper a pretty unlikely proposition, he held on for a full term. Sometimes losing votes and sometimes winning, with the Independents often divided and LibDems often supportive Labour muddled through..

Both Del Smith and Dennis Cook had stood down for this election to concentrate on building the strength of the local party branch. On top of that the Whitworths and Ron Lynn all retired, leaving room for five newcomers to Harold Hill. Mike Davis was already a sitting Councillor having won a seat in Romford's Mawney ward in 1984 but Willis, Harrison, Flewitt and Hunt were all complete newcomers. Sean Willis and Mark Flewitt didn't last long, Sean resigning in April 1991 and Mark in June 1992. This unusually led to two by elections at which, first, Del Smith and then Dennis Cook were returned to the council. Mark Flewitt was gay and he announced it to the world in the Romford Recorder in 1991. He enjoyed the publicity and after a well publicised wedding to his partner he moved to Southend where he switched to the Conservative Party. He has been a Councillor on Southend on Sea council for some years.


Both by elections were only seriously contested by Terry Hurlstone, an experienced and doughty campaigner for both the Liberals and the Liberal Democrats. The Conservative barely featured in either campaign being a token gesture. Terry was never too much troubled by a surfit of scruples and would often sail close to the wind when electioneering. He put everything into both campaigns and although we thought we couldn't lose he still gave us a run for our money. He is still alive and kicking, and campaigning on current leftist issues. More about Terry as the decade moves on. Del Smith had previously represented Hilldene but by 1991 he had moved house from Edenhall Rd to Tring Gardens in Gooshays Ward. Harold Hill still had six Councillors who didn't live in Harold Hill. Neither did Terry, he lived in Rise Park not so far from Denis O'Flynn. Below a Lib Dem leaflet from the Hilldene by election campaign.



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