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A Basildon Chronology
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1900   1901   1902   1903   1904   1905   1906   1907   1908   1909
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1900

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Langdon Hills Cricket Club founded. For many years the club had its headquarters at Crown Meadow opposite The Crown (now Harvester) public house. They can now be watched at Corringham Recreation Ground near Stanford-le-Hope.

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25th September -
24th October

Edward Tufnell elected to serve as Conservative member of parliament for the Essex South Eastern parliamentary constituency - including Basildon. Majority 1,354. Conservatives win general election.

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1901

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Building plots are advertised on the Alexander Park Estate in Pitsea. The new estate, located behind the Railway Hotel public house in Northlands Drive, begins undertaking the sale of plots, with many being priced at £8. A typical frontage was 20ft with a depth of up to 250ft. The sales would continue to 1906.

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November

Sir Joseph Cockfield Dimsdale of Goldsmiths, Langdon Hills appointed Lord Mayor of London. He was born in Cornhill, London on 19th January 1849 and educated at Eton; Goldsmiths being the families country residence. His distinguished career in public office also included a term as conservative mp for the former City of London parliamentary seat from 1900 to 1906. He died aged 63 on 9th August 1912.

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November

Gordon Mission Hall in Timberlog Lane (now Clay Hill Road), Vange opened. The hall opened as a Free Church later becoming a Methodist Church on 17th January 1954 following a merger with the New Town Methodist Church. Services would later transfer to the new Trinity Methodist Church, constructed closeby in the same road, which opened on 2nd April 1960. The land on which it stands was given on condition it be named after General Gordon. Charles George Gordon, 28/01/1833 - 26/01/1885. It was registered for marriages from 31/01/1906. There are three foundation stones at the front of the hall, two of which bear the date 5th August 1901 and laid by Mrs A.E. Heard and Mrs R. Brazil, while the third is scribed H. Bridger Builders Vange. Today it has become one of the rare number of pre-new town buildings to remain in the Vange area.

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1902

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12th December

A public hall at Langdon Hills opened. The new hall, situated along the High Road, was funded by local businessman Mr. Harry Foulger and known as Nightingale. The Nightingale Mission Church, formed the following year, held their services there until 1907 when they moved across the road to a new building which they called Nightingale Mission Hall. This hall then became Old Nightingale Hall. In 1909 Laindon Baptist Church became an official fellowship and held their services in the hall - they had a large sign displayed above the front entrance - until 1931 when a new church was built on the opposite side of the High Road. Years later the hall was demolished and properties in Kiln Shaw on a housing estate constructed in the 1970s now stand roughly where the hall used to be.

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18th December

Education Act 1902 introduced. Among the new Act's provisions was the abolition of school boards set up by the previous Elementary Education Act 1870.

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1903

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Laindon Hills and Laindon Co-operative and Industrial Society Limited formed. The society was founded with the intent of building up local business and establishing wealth within the community. Two shops were established; 11 High Street and 1 Nightingale Parade, Station Road, which was also the registered office. The president was Mr. Harry Foulger. Unfortunately the society was short lived as the Registrar of Friendly Societies cancelled membership the following year on 13th May. Another later company bearing a similar name was Laindon Co-operative Produce Company Limited. The company was active during the 1910s and into the 1920s before being declared insolvent on 9th July 1926.

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14th March

Manor Hall in High Road, Laindon officially opened. The hall, which stood on the west side of High Road, was opened by John Markham, chairman of Laindon Parish Council as the second of two events after earlier declaring open the mains water supply connection to the new Manor House Estate. A mission church, affiliated with the Nightingale Mission in Langdon Hills, was soon established which continued to around 1914. Later in 1919 Manor Mission undenominational church was founded and used the hall through to 1926 when their own building at Manor Road was opened. From 1925 Essex County Council held monthly sessions attended by a Health Visitor, Medical Officers and district Nurses. Manor Hall was later demolished, possibly during the following decade.

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1904

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The first piped water supply in the area is installed in the main Pitsea - Vange road (later A13). Previously water was carried from wells. A parish pump once stood in the area where Eversley Road joins London Road. It was the only supply for miles and was in use until around 1904 when the piped supply came into use. Mr. William Hatch, from Pitsea, had the job of maintaining the pump for which he was paid the sum of 7s 6d (35½p) a week. The Southend Waterworks Company were responsible for the new supply, which ran to Vange from a main at Bowers Gifford. This was also used to supply North Benfleet with water after a 4 inch distribution main was laid at a cost of £1,290.

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5th March

A residential Labour Farm Colony is established at Sumpners Farm, Dunton. Run by the Poplar Board of Guardians, it housed Poor Law east London men until closure in the 1940s. The site, comprising 100 acres of farmland, was purchased by an American Joseph Fels who then leased it to the Guardians at a pepercorn rent. The facilities, which included converting a barn to a 50 bed dormitory and day room, could accommodate up to 150 men. London County Council later took over responsibility for the site and buildings through to the mid 1950s when the site was vacated. Later in 1958 businessman Charles Gray established the Charles Caravan Park on land adjacent to the former colony. This initially was limited to 50 caravans and licenced to run for a 6 month summer-only period terminating on the last day of October. Due to the sites geographical position within the metropolitan green belt a permanent licence at that time was never granted and around June 1960 ownership of that site and the former colony passed to Charles Stedman. Later, Essex County Council granted permission for a permanent site which established itself on the site of the disused colony. It is now the site of Dunton Caravan Park.

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1905

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Central Hall at Wash Road, Laindon opened. This small undenominational chapel standing almost directly opposite Barleylands Road on the corner of Central Park Road was built to serve the local plotland community which had sprung up around the turn of the century. The chapel was still in use until around the late 1960s early 1970s, though the congregation was in sharp decline following Basildon Development Corporation's property clearance programme that resulted in a new community being created called Noak Bridge. The church, which during those times became isolated and run down, was later saved and completely renovated and is now unrecognisable from its original structure. It also bears a new name; Noak Bridge Christian Centre.

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1906

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12th January -
8th February

Mr. Rowland Edward Whitehead elected to serve as Liberal member of parliament for the Essex South Eastern parliamentary constituency - including Basildon. Majority 2,060. Liberals win general election.

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23rd August

The Honey Pot Lane, Basildon tragedy. The double shot gun murders of Albert and Emma Watson by a neighbours son Richard James Buckham, 20, took place in a field farmed by the Buckham's. The Watson's lived in a small two roomed wooden clad bungalow in Honey Pot Lane, an unmade road in the parish of Basildon. The Buckham's lived close by in the same road at Sawyer's Farm, theirs being brick built. That summer, by all accounts, had been very hot with searing temperatures which led to an acute shortage of water, normally collected in water butts off property drain pipes, and it was this that had led the husband and wife to trespass into the neighbouring field to steal water from a 'pond hole' to keep their poultry healthy. They were allegedly 'caught in the act' complete with pails by Buckham, who after challenging them is said to have shot them both from close range. Buckham, along with his younger brother Robert, were both later arrested and charged with the murders. At the subsequent trial held during November at the Essex Autumn Assize the jury found Buckham, who had admitted to killing the couple in self defence, guilty and on the 14th November the judge sentenced him to death by hanging. Despite a plea to the Home Secretary Herbert Gladstone to exercise clemency on the grounds of temporary insanity the execution went ahead on December 4th at HM Prison, Springfield, Chelmsford, Essex. His executioner was Henry Albert Pierrepoint from Clayton, Yorkshire, father of later hangman Albert Pierrepoint. His younger brother Robert, though a party to the murder but claimed not to have actually witnessed it, was acquitted at the trial. The Watson's were buried at Great Burstead cemetery on 28th August. The story of the double murder quickly became national news and the bungalow and surrounding fields were beseiged by journalists and photographers eager to learn more of the facts. Postcard views of the Watson's bungalow and the 'pond hole' were also soon available taken by well known Chelmsford postcard publisher and photographer Fred Spalding, who was also a witness at the trial.

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1907

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Nightingale Mission Church at High Road, Langdon hills opened. The Mission Church, which was founded in 1903, previously held their services across the High Road at Nightingale Hall. In 1919 it became a Wesleyan Church through to the 1930s when the building was enlarged by half again. Soon after, the Wesleyan Church re-united with the Primitive Methodist Church and the United Methodist Church to form the Methodist Church of Great Britain, which it remains today. The commemorative foundation stone was laid on April 1st 1907 by Isaac Levy Esq late of Primrose Lodge, Langdon Hills. In the 1950s a new church was built to the rear of the original building and given a royal opening in 1956. The former church then became a church hall and survives to this day, part of which is now well over a hundred years old.

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The General Post Office (G.P.O.) announce plans to extend its telegraph service to Basildon.

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9th October

A sale of plots forming the River View Estate at Vange held. The sale, conducted in a marquee erected near the Barge public house, comprised land on the south side of High Road between Ramsey Drive and Freshwater Drive. A typical 120 x 20ft plot was priced at £8. Much of the land was made up of the former Shonks Farm.

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20th November

St. Mary the Virgin Mission Hall and Church Institute in High Road, Langdon Hills opened. The building, which was built in association with the church of St. Mary's and All Saints, includes a sacrarium and a harmonium. Its cost, including additional furniture, was around £500 of which £50 was bequeathed by the late Rector, Rev. H.W.L. Robinson. On the front wall is a foundation stone inscribed with the words: To The Glory Of God This Stone was Laid By Miss G.F. Garnham On 7th September 1907. The building is now known as St. Mary's Church Hall.

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1908

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The Southend Waterworks Company network of mains water supply now extends to the following parishes: Bowers Gifford, Downham, Great Burstead, Laindon, Nevendon, North Benfleet, Pitsea, Ramsden Bellhouse, Ramsden Crays, Vange and Wickford. Water is stored at Thundersley reservoir with a second resorvoir at Billericay is nearing completion. The supply is fed from pumping stations at Bowers Gifford, Fobbing, Pitsea.

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The Cottis family establish a bakery and confectionery business at Laindon. The business, run by John Godfrey Cottis, who would later serve on Laindon Parish Council, also included shops at Billericay, Langdon Hills and from the early 1960s Kibcaps off The Knares at Lee Chapel South. In the 1990s a street name on the new housing estate at Great Berry in Langdon Hills was named Cottis Close as a reminder of their past ties with the area.

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1909

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1st March

Pitsea Council School in the High Road opened. The school opened as a Council school and later became Pitsea County Infant & Junior. In September 2003 the infant school was renamed Len Wastell after the popular long serving school governor.

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24th October

Pastor George Smith Read establishes the Laindon Baptist Church at the Old Nightingale Hall, Langdon Hills. The hall had previously been the Nightingale Mission Church which moved across the road to a new building in 1907. The baptist church remained here until 1931 when a new church was built in the High Road adjacent to St. Davids Road.

 
Text researched and written by William Cox, 2001 with revisions and additions 2002-2017.
Copyright © 2001-2017, B. Cox - Basildon History Online. All rights reserved.

Acknowledgements and Bibliography

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