A Basildon Chronology|
1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929|
The Laindon, Pitsea and Stanford-le-Hope Advertiser
and Railway Time Table launched. The monthly publication was printed and published by E.J.
Baigent and Son (later Sons) from their 'Laindon Press' in the High Road. Priced at 1d it ran to over 150
editions featuring advertisements, news stories, parish council meetings and in the 1930s the
Picture Theatre's film programme, by which time the front banner had changed to Laindon Advertiser
and Railway Time Table. Although surviving examples are rare a November 1923 copy numbered 40
suggests, if the monthly editions ran unbroken, that the 1st edition would be dated August 1920.
Theodore Rowe purchased a dairy and milk delivery round at London Road, Vange. The Rowe family,
who originated from Poplar in east London, ran the business until 1952 when it was sold. The family
name then continued in business by opening grocery shops at Bull Road, Vange, and later in 1962, Butneys on
the Ghyllgrove housing estate, and into the 1970s with a shop at 45 Ballards Walk in Lee Chapel North,
run by his son Arthur.
Vange Water Company Limited incorporated. The company, with offices in London at 2 Foster Lane, Cheapside, EC2, was founded by Edwin Cash, a
local farmer and former publican, whose well in the parish of Fobbing was said to contain medicinal qualities. It was branded 'Farmer Cash's Famous
Medicinal Vange Water' and sold for 2s 3d (12p) a bottle. The original well, which dated from 1898, was joined by another four, all sunk within close
proximity of each other, with the fifth being enclosed in a concrete temple like structure. Although the wells wern't actually in Vange, they were on the Vange
Hall Estate. Unfortunately, for reasons never fully resolved, the venture appeared to run into problems around 1924 and by 1926 the entire site had been
put on the market and the company dissolved. The decaying concrete 'temple', which now stands in the One Tree Hill Country Park, and some hard
standing are now all that remains.
Bill Watson and Fred Hinton own the first bus in Laindon when they purchase a second hand open top
double dekker. The first service, possibly begun in 1922, was to Billericay Hospital via Noak
Hill. A second bus joined the fleet, which had become known as Hinton's Laindon & District
Motor Services, but by 1924 they had sold out to Tom Webster of Old Tom Motor Services.
Tom Webster establishes a bus service from Laindon Station to Wash Road. Old Tom Motor
Services, as his business became known, operated from premises at Manor Road in Laindon until
1936, when he sold out to 'New Empress Saloons Ltd' - operators of the City services.
1921 Census statistics for Basildon district now stand at 4,489.
Vange Crystal Well Company finds success with its 'Vange Natural Medicinal Water', which it claims 'sells itself' and is in 'phenominal' demand. The bottled
water was drawn from a 350 foot deep well known as 'The Wonder Well' at Luncies Farm in Luncies Road, Vange. The well it was claimed, was on the
main underground medicinal stream. The water was sold in blue labelled bottles at High Street chemists who purchased 12 to a case for 19/- to sell
individually at 2s/3d a bottle. The company, which has its head office at 1 Wakering Road, Barking, Essex, claimed the mineral water had been famous
locally for over 50 years. Its success prompted an advertising campaign that was extended to all parts of the country with a boast, clearly aimed at local
rivals like Edwin Cash from Fobbing, that it was the only water taken direct from the only medicinal well actually situated in Vange, Essex. Despite all the
claims and reported sales the venture was wound up the following year and the farm's tenant, Mr. Charles King, filed for bankruptcy in April 1925. The
farm itself, which survived until the 1950s, was later acquired by Basildon Development Corporation and now the site of St. Basil's Roman Catholic
Mr. Frank Hilder elected Conservative MP for the Essex South Eastern parliamentary
constituency - including Basildon. Majority 2,063. Conservatives win General Election.
Vange War Memorial in Paynters Hill unveiled. High Sheriff of Essex, Col. Francis Henry Douglas
Charlton Whitmore, C.M.G., D.S.0., J.P., of Orsett Hall, carried out the Sunday unveiling and the
1st Bishop of Chelmsford, The Rt. Rev. John Edwin Watts-Ditchfield undertook the dedication service
to the 21 men from the district who fell in the Great War (1914-18). The service was attended by
relatives and friends of the fallen. The memorial was made from Cornish granite and took the form
of a wayside cross. The names of the 21 men are inscribed on its leading face. It was later
removed to the front of St. Chad's Church in Clay Hill Road where it remains to this day.
The Ministry of Transport publishes the definitive list of Class I and Class II roads. The process
of designating Class 1 (A routes) was completed during 1922 and Class II (B routes) by February
1923. Road A13, London to Shoeburyness, was included in the list along with road B1011, Pitsea,
Nevendon to Wickford and County Surveyors were then tasked with the job of erecting signposts
bearing the new numbers.
Mr. Philip Christopher Hoffman elected to serve as Labour member of parliament for the South-East Essex parliamentary
constituency - including Basildon. Majority 1,600. The General Election produced a hung
parliament. The Conservative party won the most seats (258) but the first ever Labour government
was formed which lasted until October 1924. In winning the seat Mr. Hoffman became the first
Labour candidate to represent this constituency in parliament.
Gifford House, a large residential home is built in London Road, Bowers Gifford. The property,
built originally for the Rector of Bowers Gifford, John Shaw Bryers and standing in one acre of
land, would later acquire singular importance in the Basildon New Town story following acquisition,
through a compulsory purchase order, and occupation by Basildon Development Corporation in 1949. Rev. Bryers, who was married with a
daughter, lived there until his death in January 1945 aged 70. During the Second World War it was
used as a military hospital and prior to the corporation's ownership had been unoccupied after the Council
had evicted squatters. During the corporation's occupation it was much altered and housed over
150 of their workforce. It remained their headquarters until 1984 and was further used by their
successor the Commission for The New Towns through to 1995. The house was demolished in 2002 and
is now the site of Bowers Gifford Care Home.
1st Pitsea and Vange Scout Group formed. They are now based at 1970s built Riverton Hall in Bardfield, Vange
and also acknowledged as the oldest scout group still in existence in the Basildon area.
Langdon Hills Women's Institute formed. The Langdon Hills branch of the Women's Institute began
their activities at the "Hut Club", a wooden building in Samuel Road used for social events. In
1933 they moved to new headquarters at the former Baptist church at Nightingale Parade, High Road,
which they intended to purchase. This appears not to have happened and by 1935 they were once again
meeting at the Hut Club where they remain to this day.
A Post Office is established at Henderson's General Stores in Lower Dunton Road,
Dunton, between First and Second Avenues. Run as a family concern, a further store & cafe
opened at the grassed junction of Hillcrest Avenue and First Avenue in a house called 'Everest'. Although
both had closed by the mid 1960s, Everest, which stood on the Dunton Hills estate, was among the
last properties to be demolished (following a fire), during the final wave of Development Corporation
compulsory purchase orders issued in 1984.
The first Vange telephone exchange entries begin appearing in the Southend Group section of the General Post
Office's south east England edition. Rev. Bryers, Bishop's garage of London Road, Campbell's of Station Lane
and Saunders bakery were some of the first to get a Vange number.
An auction of plots on the Dunton Hills Estate off Lower Dunton Road is held. The auction, conducted
in a marquee on the estate, was for the first portion of 183 plots. These were being offered as
choice freehold building land on former agricultural farmland. A typical plot measured 120 x 20ft
with frontages to First, Second and Hillcrest Avenues.
First edition of the Laindon Weekly News newspaper appears. Priced at 1d, it is believed
to have only lasted 3 or 4 editions. The proprietors, E.J. Baigent and Son of High Road, Laindon,
also produced the monthly Laindon Advertiser and Railway Time Table.
St. Michael's Church Hall in Rectory Lane (now Rectory Road), Pitsea, opened. The new hall, which stands on the north west
corner of Wickford Avenue, was built under guidance of the Rector, Rev. Ernest William Grevatt and financed in part by local
fund raising events. The Bishop of Chelmsford, (Frederic Sumpter) Guy Warman performed the opening ceremony. It survived to
at least the 1980s before being replaced with a single row of terraced housing.
Mr. Herbert William Looker elected to serve as Unionist member of parliament for the Essex South Eastern parliamentary
constituency including Basildon. Majority 5,911. Conservatives win general election.
The number of children enrolled in education within the parishes of Bowers Gifford, Dunton, Laindon, Pitsea and Vange as of 4th December is as follows, (maximum
accommodation is shown in brackets): Bowers Gifford (70), 62; Dunton (40), 47; Laindon (138), 126; Pitsea (264), 336 and Vange (181), 198. The figures
for Langdon Hills are currently unknown.
(Source: Annual Report of the Medical Officer of Health, B.R.D.C., 1924.)
The 'new' Fortune of War Hotel public house opens. This public house, sited at the Laindon crossroads
on the Southend bound carriageway side of the A127 London to Southend Arterial Road, was built to
replace an earlier building known as the 'Fortune of War Inn' that still stands (though no longer
a public house) at the northern end of High Road in Wash Road West, Laindon. During the 1980s
it had a name change to The Hustlers before spending its final years as 'The Fortune'. It closed
in August 2003 and was demolished during September/October 2003. The site now comprises residential
homes and flats. In 1939 the Laindon crossroads was replaced with a roundabout which became known
as the Fortune of War. In 1995 the roundabout was closed to right turns but the junction still
bears the name of the former public house.
Essex County Council begin monthly clinic and treatment sessions at Manor Hall in High Road, Laindon. These are attended by a Health Visitor, School
Medical Officers and district Nurses. In 1932 a permanent Combined Treatment Centre was built in Langdon Hills which came directly under County Council
control in 1936.
(Source: Annual Report of the Medical Officer of Health, B.R.D.C., 1926.)
The first Pitsea Market is opened on land at Station
Lane. The market survived at this site until 1969 by which time it had grown to 200 stalls and a
hire charge of 10/- (50p) a stall per day. During this time it was operated by Basildon Development
Corporation who moved it in February 1969 to the former Howard's field on the south side of the High
Road where it remained until the late 1970s when it was moved again, this time to Northlands Pavement to the rear of the
Railway Hotel public house and Broadway North shops on land abounding the former Northlands Park Drive. Ownership was later
transferred to the Commission For The New Towns who in 1994 sold it to a private company. In 2014
as part of a second Pitsea town centre regeneration it was moved to a fourth location called Market
Square, on the site of the former Railway Hotel public house demolished the previous year.
London to Southend A127 Arterial Road opened by H.R.H. Prince Henry. Work on building the new
purpose built road, the first of its kind in England, began in 1921 and opened in stages. It
was considered the longest length of road constructed since the Roman occupation and its cost
was put at around £1¼ million. The Prince began the open day route at the Essex county
boundary at Lea Bridge and ribbon cutting ceremonies were then held at Red Bridge, Wanstead;
Harold Wood railway bridge and another at Rayleigh Weir where the Prince, 3rd son of King George V, then departed
for Southend to conclude the event. Initially single carriageway through Basildon, it was later
duelled and a cycle path added around 1937. In 1936 it became a Trunk Road as defined under the
new Trunk Roads Act 1936. A realignment of the section between the Dunton Wayletts junction and
the Nevendon A132 junction was proposed in the 1990s, but was rejected on a number of issues.
Roman Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart in London Road, Vange opened. The Bishop of Brentwood,
Right Rev. Arthur Doubleday dedicated the new church which was largely built due to the efforts
of Rev. Father Snell, priest-in-charge. It was located on the south side of London Road on the
corner of Woodleigh Avenue. The properties of Ryedene Close now cover the site where the church
St. Teresa's Church in High Road, Langdon Hills
opened. This small Roman Catholic church built mainly of timber and painted white stood between
Alexander Road and St. Davids Road. The chapel had been used for daily Mass at the British Empire
Exhibition of 1924-1925 at Wembley before being transferred to Langdon Hills. It survived until
1991 when a new church - known as the Church of St. Therese of Lisieux - was opened at Florence Way,
Langdon Hills. Prior to its construction, from around 1915, Mass had been celebrated in a family home in
Laindon by the Parish Priest of Billericay. The gardens of detached houses in Alexander Road now cover
the site of the former church.
Manor Mission in Manor Road, Laindon, opened. The
Mission, which was founded after the First World War as an undenominational church, had secured the
site the previous year from a local landowner. It was built at a cost of around £600 by A.M.A.
Portable and Permanent Building Works Ltd of Laindon. Prior to opening, services had been held at
Manor Hall, a small building in the High Road. County Councillor Alfred Brooks, J.P., of Goldsmiths,
Langdon Hills performed the opening ceremony.
Langdon Hills Recreation Ground in New Avenue, Langdon Hills opened. The Lord Lieutenant of Essex,
Lord Lambourne carried out the opening ceremony. The park, which is owned and maintained by the local council, was later expanded with the addition
of tennis courts on land that had been dense woodland. A later feature, added in 1948, was a child's paddling pool and fountain, though this would be
filled in sometime in the 1980s.
The number of new houses recorded in each parish for the year ending 1926 was 410. Each parish taken
individually is as follows: Basildon, 20; Dunton, 17; Laindon, 164; Lee Chapel, 43; Nevendon, 6; Pitsea, 93 and Vange, 67. The statistics for Langdon Hills
are currently unknown.
(Source: Annual Report of the Medical Officer of Health, B.R.D.C., 1926.)
The Jolly Cricketers public house in Nevendon opened. It replaced an earlier pub of the same
name that once stood in Nevendon Road. It was resited to take advantage of the recently opened A127, Southend
Arterial Road. Its direct position facing the London bound carriageway of the A127 changed in the
early 1970s when the Nevendon flyover was constructed though for many years could still be
accessed via Nevendon Road. It remained open until 2002 and was later acquired for
redevelopment. A fire in 2003 destroyed much of the building which was demolished soon after
in September 2003. Business units have now replaced the former pub.
Phoenix Hall in High Road, Laindon known to have existed. The hall, which was capable of holding over 100 people, was available for the private hire of
concerts and dances, and had a Lending Library attached. The women's section of the British Legion were regular users among other local
organisations. The hall had a secretary which suggests there may have been a committee but little else is known about it including its location in High
Road. It may only have have stood for a few years and is believed to have been destroyed in a fire.
Nevendon Council Primary School in Burnt Mills Road opened. The new school replaces an earlier
National Society school opened in the 1880s that stood in Nevendon Road. Building contractor T.J. Bailey of
Chelmsford was awarded the building contract.
The Railway Hotel public house in High Road Pitsea opened. The Railway Hotel was built as a larger
replacement for an earlier pub, also called the Railway Hotel, which dated to 1859 and stood further east. Local landowner and
founder of Howard's Dairies Harold Howard provided the site and the public house, which was built
in a mock tudor style, was opened by brewers Ind Coope & Allsopp. Its facilities included a banquet
hall and from August 1928 a bowls green. It closed in 2006 and remained empty until 2013 when it was demolished to provide
a new site for the market as part of another Pitsea regeneration.
The Laindon and Lee Chapel Hall officially opened. Herbert Looker, Unionist M.P. for the South
East Essex constituency was guest of honour and performed the opening ceremony. The idea for a
new hall, to commemorate the safe return of Laindon men from the Great War (1914-1918), began
in 1919 with the eventual aim to place a stone within the grounds in rememberance of those
that didn't return.
A Laindon carnival is held. The carnival, which
was organised by the Laindon Philanthropic Society, may have been one of the earliest carnivals
to take place in Laindon. Prizes were given for the best fancy dress and original dress and to those
with the best decorated vehicle and one-horse tableau, and for the best original vehicle. Mothers
also received an award for the best looking baby. The days activities also included sporting events
and a concert. The Laindon carnival would become an annual event, excepting the period 1940-1950
which included the war years, until being superseded by the Basildon Carnival, which launched around 1957.
Vange and Pitsea Working Men's Social Club at High Road, Vange opened. The site, which was purchased the previous
year, was once part of the former Kiln Farm. The president of Aveley Working Men's Club, Mr. A. Sack, performed
the opening ceremony which was followed by a concert and a game of billiards. The club is still active and a notable
venue for live entertainment.
A purpose-built Sanatorium for children suffering from tuberculosis opens at Dry Street in Langdon
Hills. The new health facility known as West Ham Sanatorium was opened by the Mayor of West Ham,
Alderman Ernest James Reed, whose council had purchased the 100 acre site, including a large farmhouse. Years later in the
1950s the hospital closed and from the early 1960s to the 2000s the buildings found a new use - this time for dogs - as the
privately owned Wootton House Boarding Kennels. In 1964 much of the grounds were purchased by Essex County Council for
Edward George Hickley establishes an electrical business from Hebron, Chestnut Road, Pitsea. The
business would later become Hickley & Sons and expanded into motor repairs and garage services at
their Elmcroft Works at Bridge Parade in High Road, Pitsea. The electrical business, which for a
time was at Kiln Road, Thundersley, was in an adjacent shop offering radio/television sales and
repair. Around 1960 further household electrical shops opened at 60 High Road, Vange and 2 Broadway
North. The electrical outlet also later took over Unit E at the former Basildon Development Corporation/Commission
for the New Towns housing maintenance premises & area rent office off Great Knightleys at Lee Chapel
North when they vacated in the early 1990s. They survived until at least the mid 1990s. The former
maintenance depot was later demolished and a small development of 7 residential houses named Swan
Close was built in its place.
Laindon High Road council school opened. The school, situated in the High Road, Laindon, originally
took pupils of all ages until 1933 when a new primary school opened at Markhams Chase. The
school became a secondary modern until the reorganisation of secondary education which changed
its status to comprehensive from September 1968. The first headmaster was Mr. George
Radford who remained in charge until retiring in 1949. The school closed in August 1998 and for
two years became the site of the James Hornsby High School. When that school moved into the
refurbished former Nicholas School the majority of the school remained unused and was finally sold
by Essex County Council and demolished in May 2007. A housing estate built by Bellway Homes and
named Radford Park now stands on the site of the former school.
The War Department purchase land at Marsh Road, Pitsea. The land, which included a wharf
at Vange Creek and buildings previously used by the British Explosives Syndicate (later Nobel Explosives Company), would be used as a Sea
Transport Supply Depot. The site was later purchased in the 1960s by Basildon Urban District Council who by 1984 had transformed the land into
Wat Tyler Country Park.
Laindon Park Country Club opened. Local M.P. Mr. Herbert Looker officially opened the club, situated
in Basildon Road, Laindon, which had a membership of around 200. The premises comprised a ballroom,
provision for billiards, a verandah on three sides and a licensed bar. It was intended to open from
11:00am through to midnight including Sundays. Around 1936 the club had its first change of name becoming
Basildon Country Club and a further change to Essex Country Club took it from the 1940s into the 1960s. In
November 1968 it become the Irish Club through to the 1980s and possibly the 1990s when it reverted back
to Essex Country Club and remained so through to closure and subsequent demolition for private housing
sometime around the late 1990s. To the rear was a large field enclosed on three sides by thick woodland
which was used by Laindon Cricket Club and as a football pitch and training ground.
The Pitsea War Memorial unveiled. It was presented to Pitsea by dairy farmer and landowner
Harold George Howard, who also bore its cost, and sited on its own island in the centre of
Station Lane at its junction with the High Road. The unveiling ceremony and dedication service
was performed by guest of honour Sir Ernest Beachcroft Beckwith Towse V.C., K.C.V.O., C.B.E.,
(23/04/1864 – 21/06/1948) and the Rector of Pitsea, E.W. Grevatt. Erected to the memory of the
men from Pitsea and Bowers Gifford who fell in the Great War, it takes the form of a figure
representing life holding a torch of truth and carrying an olive branch in the other hand. The
column on which the figure stands is of Cornish granite and the torch, held in the right hand,
was illuminated at night. The memorial was one of a number of choices proposed that included a
clock tower or monument and a recreation ground. The War Memorial was later moved in 1969 to
Howard Park where it remains to this day.
A police office at the new Arterial Road at Laindon known to have existed. Sometime in the mid
1930s an office opened at Victoria Road which was later enlarged when a permanent station was built
around 1939/1940. This would survive to November 1967 when it closed following centralisation of
operations to Great Oaks in Basildon.
Dunton Council Primary School in Lower Dunton Road, Dunton opened. The new school replaced an earlier one - also in Lower Dunton Road - dating to
1843 that was considered no longer fit for purpose. It was built at a cost of over £4,000 by Messrs. T.J. Bailey of Chelmsford, who had earlier built
Nevendon Council School. The school, which soon became a 'County Primary', survived to 1977 when falling pupil numbers forced its closure. It is now
a private residence called Dunton Grange. The original school was later sold and is now a private residence and appropriately called 'The Old School House'.
Langdon Hills resident Joseph Toomey opens a new business selling motor cycles called Laindon
Accumulators. In 1932 this had become the National Accumulator Service Station which was based in
the High Road. From the same location the business expanded and on 1st January 1938 J. Toomey Motors
Ltd became a registered company and later a main agent for Vauxhall and Bedford vehicles. The company,
now one of the oldest family run businesses in Essex, is now based at West Mayne and part of the
Laindon Holdings group of companies.
Eastern National Omnibus Company Ltd. registered as a limited company. The bus operator, which took over routes previously operated by National,
first began introducing routes within Basildon in 1954. Earlier in 1951 a small depot for around 25 buses opened in Bull Road, Vange followed in
1961 by a new larger purpose built garage at Cherrydown (now Cherrydown East). In October 1986 the services routes were deregulated and the
company withdrew from Basildon in 1990. A new company, Thamesway, then took over the Cherrydown depot and service routes.
The Laindon Picture Theatre opens in High Road, Laindon. Later renamed the Radion, it provided
seating for 680 and a stage where variety shows would often take place. The cinema would remain
open until 1969 when the building was demolished to make way for a new High Road dual
carriageway. It is now the site of Laindon library.
Mr. John "Jack" Richard Oldfield elected to serve as Labour member of parliament for the Essex South Eastern parliamentary constituency - including
Basildon. Majority 626. The general election produced a hung parliament. The Labour Party won the most seats (287) and a second minority Labour
government was formed. This election was also notable as the first instance that women between the ages 21–29 were allowed to vote.
Wesleyan School Church in Brackendale Avenue opened. The laying of the foundation stones, thirteen
in all, took place on Wednesday May 22nd where the Rector of St. Michael's, Rev. E.W. Grevatt appealed
for unity among the various bodies of the Christian Church. From 09/12/1930 the church was registered
for the solemnisation of marriages. Around 1979 the church, now known as Pitsea Methodist, relocated
to Oakdene Road (becoming Felmore Methodist Church) and from 09/06/1980 the church was no longer
certified as a place of worship. The building is now Pitsea Mount Community Centre.
St. Nicholas' Church Institute in Nicholas Lane, Laindon opened. The small hall stood on the south
side of Nicholas Lane close to the junction with High Road. The opening was performed by the Archdeacon
of Southend, the Venerable Percy Baynes in a service conducted by the Rector of Laindon-cum-Basildon
Rev. Michael Lake. In 1934 a small church was built on the opposite side of Nicholas Lane called
St. Peter's and the hall became known as St. Peter's Hall. It survived to the 1960s and was used
for a time as the Laindon Sub-Office for registering births, deaths and marriages.
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