On 17th May Mr S. G. Cutland died, aged 92. He had a large Drapery business in King Street for 30 years and was President of the Chamber of Commerce 1944-45.
Lady Henniker-Heaton elected Mayor 19th May.
500 unemployed from the Liverpool area marched into Southall on Friday, 19th May. They were fed and accommodated at the Community Centre and Havelock Road Temple.
The Revd Phillip Wall retired from Norwood Church, after twelve years, at the end of May.
What must be the most tragic piece of history of our town happened on the night of Friday, July 3rd. There had been a feeling that tension was growing amongst the teenage Asians. This was partly caused by the incident which had occurred previously. On the evening of the 3rd July a Disco was taking place at the Hambrough Tavern and a coach load of hooligans (skinheads) from outside the town started to cause trouble by insulting the coloureds, and smashing windows. This started what was to become known as the Southall Riots. A running fight broke out between hooligans and the police, who had to be reinforced by outside police who carried riot shields. The Hambrough Tavern was burned down, 57 policemen needed hospital treatment, 26 others were taken to hospital. Dozens of shop windows smashed and £20,000 worth of damage done to Council property.
The trouble carried on for over a week. It was a pitiful sight to see nearly all the shop windows in King Street boarded up. 80 arrests were made but, whatever the reason, very few were convicted. To make sure that those arrested were given an unbiased hearing, most of the cases were heard at Hendon Court. What a disgrace to the town.
On the 22nd September Dr Rhodes Boyson, Under Secretary for Education, officially opened the new Hamborough School, South Road – Headmistress, Mrs B. Frost. Mr David retired as Headmaster of Featherstone Road Middle School.
On the 21st October a Sixth Form Centre, built on stilts to save space, costing £125,000 was opened by Ealing Mayor Lady Henniker-Heaton at Villiers High School.
Mr Peter Coomber, retired Town Clerk, received the CBE from the Queen.
At the end of October Mr Hilton retired as Parks Superintendant, and his successor – Mr Trevor Preston. Plans to build a £3m Sikh Temple in Havelock Road have been approved.
A new building for Social Work was built and opened in Bridge Road.
At the beginning of December fire destroyed a Sports Centre and Children’s Playcentre at the end of Green Drive — valued at £40,000.
Unemployed in the town at the end of 1981 was 10,495.
The worst fall of snow for 31 years occurred between 10th and 14th December. The very cold weather carried on until January 17th, 1982. On the night of January 7/8th temperatures were the lowest ever recorded in the town. The bad weather will cost the ratepayers about £200,000. Over 4,000 tons of salt were used. Southall Fire Services dealt with over 1,300 calls in 1981 – several large fires.