A Basildon Chronology|
1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939|
The Basildon Operatic Society founded as St. Mary's Athletics Club by the choirmaster at St. Mary's
Church, Langdon Hills Mr. William "Pop" Holland. "Pop" Holland, of Berry Lane, and members of the
choir performed their first production, Gilbert and Sullivan's "Pirates of Penzance" at St. Mary's
Church Institute Hall. In 1933 the company changed their name to Laindon and District Amateur Operatic Society
which they used until changing to Basildon Amateur Operatic Society in the early 1960s. Their
present name dates from the 1990s. Early pre-war performances were held at Laindon High Road
School and later Laindon Community Centre and the Arts Centre at Basildon, which from 1968 became
their base for many years.
St. Michael's Mission Church in Salisbury Avenue, Lee Chapel opened. This small church was in use
to 1935 when a new church with the same name was built to the north of the railway in Green Lane. A
church Sunday school was established here and the Berry Athletic Boxing Club were also known to have
used the building for training purposes. It survived to the late 1960s. Mandeville Way now passes
through the former course of Salisbury Avenue.
Billericay Rural District Council builds its first houses in Laindon. The twelve three bedroomed
semi-detached houses at Green Lane were the first rental properties to be constructed in Laindon on behalf of the local council. Around 1933 following
the opening of Markhams Chase Primary School the road was renamed Markhams Chase and later still in the 1960s, during the construction of the Lee
Chapel North housing developments, the original course of the road was diverted away from St. Nicholas Lane to a new junction with Ballards Walk. This
left the houses in their own cul-de-sac which was then renamed Weymarks, which it remains today. The houses, originally numbered 1-12 inclusive, are
now over 80 years old having survived Basildon Development Corporation's 1950s/1960s demolition programme, though following the council's right-to-buy
some are now in private ownership.
The Broadway Cinema in High Road, Pitsea opens. With seating for 700 and a stage the theatre was able to provide
variety shows as well as a varied film programme. During the 1940s it became part of the local Radion group of
cinemas, and by 1954 had been acquired by Granada Theatres Ltd. who renamed it
Century in February 1955. It closed as a cinema in October 1970 and was in use as a bingo hall until July 27th, 2009
when current owners Gala Coral decided to close their Pitsea club. Outwardly the buildings
appearance remains little altered from when it was first built. It was designed by the architect team of A.J. Varndell and L.A. Green.
(Irene) Joan (Marion) Sims, 09/05/1930 - 28/06/2001, born at Station House, Laindon. The
popular actress of Stage, Screen and T.V. was the only child of Gladys (née Ladbrook)
and John Henry Sims, the station master and lived at Station House until 1952 by which time her
acting career, (which had included "Langdon Players" productions), was well established. She
appeared in over 70 films and is perhaps best remembered as a regular member of the 'Carry On'
team, appearing in 24 of the 30 films made between 1958-1992.
The Laindon Recorder newspaper first published. This popular weekly broadsheet paper continued
through to 1953 when it became the Basildon Recorder; switching to tabloid size around 1957. It
was once owned by Essex Publishing Company of Wanstead but is now part of 'Echo Newspapers' and
called 'Basildon Billericay Wickford Recorder'. In the 1950s it was available every Wednesday,
changing to Friday following the merger with the Basildon Standard, and remains so today being
available either at selected outlets or delivered free to households in the borough.
St. Nicholas Church Hall destroyed by fire. The
hall, which was built in 1923, was of wooden construction and heated by a large combustion stove
with the chimney pipe exiting through the roof. It stood at the top of Church Hill (St. Nicholas
Lane) adjoining the grounds of St. Nicholas Church in what is now the church car park. The fire
is alleged to have originated in the stove's chimney pipe which overheated causing the roof to
ignite. At the time of the fire, and on that day, the hall had been in use for many years as an
annexe to the nearby Laindon Council School. There were no casualties. During the Second World
War a pill box was constructed close to the site of the former hall. This was later removed either
during the 1980s or 1990s. A new brick built church hall was constructed the following year in Doves
Hill, off Pound Lane.
The new St. Nicholas Church Hall completed. The brick built hall stood at the top of Doves Hill,
a short steep unmade turning off Pound Lane. It replaced an earlier wooden built parish hall destroyed
by fire the previous year. A foundation stone was laid in November 1930 by Mrs. Alexandra Brooks
of Goldsmiths, Langdon Hills. The hall was in use for various social activities including wedding
receptions and as a rehearsal facility for musical and majorette groups etc., though not as the previous
hall had done, as a school annexe. It survived through to the late 1980s or early 1990s but had
been a constant target for vandalism due to its remote location. Following its demolition the land
upon which it stood has now been left to nature.
The level crossing at the western approach to Laindon railway station known to have been closed off. The public/occupation
crossing, which was believed to date from the opening of the line and station in 1888, linked High Road (via a pathway and steps)
and Denbigh Road (later Wrexham Road), adjacent to the since demolished terrace of 8 railway staff cottages, to a pathway and
track that led to Berry Lane (this location since renamed Berry Close due to development), of which the latter section would later
take the name Beatrice Road. The extinguished right of way, which crossed 3 lines (one of which was a short siding), was
previously maintained by the line operator London, Midland and Scottish Railway. Its closure necessitated a re-routing of the
footpath on the southern side, some of which would then run parallel with Bristow Road, to a new exit to High Road via some
white painted wooden steps, the design of which had a short flat area mid way up to off set the steep incline. The steps, and much
of the footpath were later lost in the late 1980s during the construction of Mandeville Way, although new replacement concrete
steps were provided for pedestrian use.
Population Census for Basildon district; 12,968.
Laindon Baptist Church in High Road, Langdon Hills, opening ceremony held. The church was originally
on the opposite side of High Road next to the Nightingale Parade shops. The new site had been
secured back in 1923 with a £200 loan which was paid back through fund raising activities organised
by Pastor Charles E. Becket. There is a stone on the front exterior wall inscribed with the words:
To The Glory Of God This Stone Was Laid By Rev. T.W. Shepherd On Behalf Of The Church May 25th 1931.
Mr. Victor Raikes (later Sir) (30,436) elected Conservative member of parliament for the Essex South Eastern constituency - including Basildon. He took
the seat with a majority of 10,370 from Labour's John "Jack" Oldfield, who held it from May 1929. Mr. Raikes had previously stood twice at Ilkeston in Derbyshire
in 1924 and 1929, where he was beaten on each occasion by Labour's George Oliver. Conservatives win General Election.
Land at Westley Heights, Langdon Hills is purchased
by Essex County Council for use a public open space. Further acquisitions included Hall Wood in
1933, parts of One Tree Hill (60 acres and a cottage) in 1934, Great Sutton Wood and Old Hill in
1944 and Coombe Wood in 1955. In 1973 much of these areas were declared Country Parks.
Sonny Firman establishes a milk delivery service. The Langdon Hills milk round business was founded by
Sonny Firman and run from the Model Dairy at Westley Hall, Homestead Drive. Advertised as S.R. Firman "The Reliable Milk Service", the family run business
began with a horse and cart and eventually grew to take in much of the surrounding area. The business survived into the 1970s, when as Firman's Diaries,
it was taken over by Whife & Sloper of Hazeldene, Markhams Chase, Laindon.
Holy Cross Church Hall in Rectory Road, Basildon
opened. The parish hall, which stood close to the junction with Church Road, was built under the
guidance of the Rector of Laindon-cum-Basildon, Rev. M.N. Lake. A service for the laying of the
foundation stone had earlier been held on 20th August. The hall, Church Road junction, and that section of
Rectory Road is now lost to the Tractor Plant factory, completed in 1964.
Langdon Hills Wesleyan Church extension completed. The
original building dates from 1907 when the Nightingale Mission Church moved across High Road
from Nightingale Hall. The enlarged church, which was built at a cost of around £1000, survived
to 1956 when a new Methodist church was constructed to the rear of the building. Nineteen foundation
stones decorate two of the outer walls, one of which was laid on behalf of the trustees on 18th June, 1932. The former church
is now used as a church hall.
Salvation Army Hall at Northumberland Avenue, Laindon
is certified as a place of worship. The building, which stood on the eastern side close to the Winston
Social Club, was in use until 1969, though possibly later, despite a new hall being opened in January 1969 at Fauners
in Kingswood, Basildon. Its certification was cancelled on 05/05/1971. It was demolished around the turn of the 1970s.
Salvation Army Hall at High Road, Pitsea is certified
as a place of worship. This building, which stood at the junction with Woodfield Road, survived
to the early 1970s. Its certification was cancelled on 05/05/1971.
All Saints' Church Hall in Timberlog Lane (now Clay Hill Road), Vange opened by the Lord Bishop
of Chelmsford, Dr. Henry Albert Wilson. The local MP, Victor Raikes and the Lord Bishop had laid
the foundation stones on December 12th, 1931. St. Paul's Mission Church were later to use part of the
hall which was built at a cost of £1,200.
Elim Pentecostal Church at High Road, Langdon Hills
certified for worship. The church was built facing the High Road between Vowler and Florence Road with a detached
house either side. It survived to 1977 and a new church was built in Vowler Road on the existing
enlarged plot which opened around 1978. Prior to opening the Pentecostal Mission was based at
Avondale Hall in the High Road.
Laindon Combined Treatment Centre at Bristow Road, Laindon opened. A proposed Combined Treatment Centre had received approval from Essex
County Council's Public Health & Housing and Education Committees in September 1931. The estimated cost was put at £1,500 and the following month
the County Architect invited tenders for its construction. Prior to completion from 1925 Essex County Council had use of Manor Hall in the High Road
which was attended monthly by a Health Visitor, School Medical Officer and district Nurses. Chairman of the County Council, Alderman John H. Burrows
performed the official opening duties. The centre, which was constructed in Bristow Road (later addressed as Florence Road), survived to August 1971
when services were transferred to Laindon Health Centre, which had just opened. It was demolished soon after and the site then remained unused until
around 2006 when plans were approved for a residential block of flats. The block, associated access road and parking spaces now cover the site and that
of the remaining undeveloped portion of the former Bristow Road.
Laindon railway station overbridge extended. The bridge, officially designated Bridge 78 which dated from the station's 1888 opening, was
rebuilt and extended with an additional span to incorporate 4 railway tracks as part of a proposed quadrupling of the line between Upminster and
Shoeburyness. In the event the scheme failed to materialise and only one additional track was laid to the south side of the existing layout. In the
1990s the pedestrian path on the east side of the bridge was closed off and a new steel framed pedestrian and cycle bridge was put into
place, which remains in use to the present.
Langdon Hills water tower known to exist. It stands at the summit of Langdon Hills close to the Thurrock border on the east side of High Road in its own
plot between the residential properties Silsden (since renamed Green Pastures) and Trevelyn. It was built by F.R. Hipperson & Son, public works
contractors, for the South Essex Waterworks Company to serve the growing population in Langdon Hills and Laindon. The
white eight sided windowless tower stands around 50ft tall with a short centrally built six
sided crown and mast that has windows and doorway atop a raised square enclosed platform area from where a number of communications aerials are
affixed. It was renovated in 1956 at a cost of over £2,669 and serving up to 2,250 locals with a daily consumption of around 50,000 gallons rising to
between 60,000 and 70,000 during peak months. In 1970 the water company merged with Southend Waterworks Company to form Essex Water
Company who in turn merged with Suffolk Water Company in 1994 to form Essex and Suffolk Water, who currently own and maintain it.
Vange swimming pool known to be in existence. The privately run open-air public swimming pool was situated at Riverside Farm, Wharf Lane on the
south side of the Pitsea to Tilbury rail route. It was fed with sea water pumped from the tidal Vange Creek and had a diving board, water shute and
open-air changing rooms. The public could swim with no time limits from as early as 7 A.M. till late - the pool was floodlit nightly - and enjoy refreshments
and games in the pool's pavilion. For much of its life it was one of only two public swimming pools in the district - the other being at Buttsbury - and
survived to 1952 when it closed following an alleged public health scare relating to the quality of the water. It was later filled in sometime in either late 1962
or 1963 after the farm had been purchased by Basildon Development Corporation as a potential recreation centre which failed to
materialise after the farm was destroyed following a fire. The site is now covered by the Kierbeck Business Park.
The London bound up platform at Laindon Railway Station was converted to an island to allow
trains to 'wait'. A third line passing loop was installed to serve the new platform 1, which
in 1957 became the main platform for London bound trains with the former up main becoming
reversible. All platforms were also extended to 700 feet to accommodate full length trains. The total cost of the works exceeded £30,000.
Gospel Temperance Hall, Woodfield Road, Vange opened as a meeting place for a branch of the
Independent Order of Good Templars. In attendance was the District Chief Templar Bro. George
Chaplin. The hall was provided by Mr. Charles Campbell, a member of the Pitsea Lodge.
St. Alban's Hall Mission Church in Church Road, Basildon opened. The Archdeacon of Southend,
the Venerable Percy Matheson Bayne carried out the service of dedication. The new hall, of timber construction,
was built partly with money from the sale of the old hall that stood in Rectory Road close to the
Basildon rectory and money from the Bishop's Appeal Fund. In the 1950s the Basildon Residents
Protection Association regularly held their meetings there. It was later demolished in the
creation of Basildon new town.
Markhams Chase Council School opens. The new school, opened for mixed juniors, was built to alleviate
overcrowding at the Laindon High Road Council School which, from its 1928 opening, had provided
places for all children of school age. The first Headmistress Janet Duke spent 31 years in
charge before retiring after the summer term in 1964. In October 1964 the School was renamed Janet Duke County
Infant & Junior in honour and recognition of all her years of service. In September 2010 the
school became Janet Duke Primary.
St. Margaret's Mission in Basildon Road, Laindon is certified as a place of worship. The registration
however was short-lived being cancelled within the first two years of opening on 22nd May 1935.
Laindon Baptist Church school hall opened. Mrs. S. Halley of Leigh opened the new hall which cost
£635 and stands within the church grounds facing St. David's Road. Years later in the late 1970s
the hall and church were linked when an extension was completed.
St. Peter's Church at St. Nicholas Lane, Laindon opened. The wooden built church was erected on the
north side of Nicholas Lane - almost opposite the Church Institute (St. Peter's Hall) - and between Hiawatha and Claremont Road
(which originally ran off St. Nicholas Lane). It fell within the parish of Laindon-cum-Basildon. It was demolished around 1969
though special occasion services continued in 1970 at St. Peter's Church House, 91 New Century Road, Laindon.
Anne Boleyn Mansions at Pitsea Broadway completed. The mock Tudor building was constructed on behalf
of local dairy farmer Harold Howard whose initials H.G.H. and date are inscribed on the front
brickwork. It has been part occupied by Lloyds - later Lloyds TSB and now T.S.B. bank - since the
Alfred D. Cheshire is appointed Clerk to the Billericay Urban District Council. Mr. Cheshire succeeds
Mr. C. Edgar Lewis who held the post from the formation of Billericay Rural District Council in 1895.
Billericay Urban District Council, formally Billericay Rural District Council, constituted. Formed as a direct
result of the 'Essex Review Order, 1934', the administration was responsible for the following parishes: Basildon, Bowers Gifford, Great Burstead, Little
Burstead (until 1938 transferred to Thurrock Urban District), Laindon, Lee Chapel, Nevendon, North Benfleet, Pitsea, Vange and Wickford. Parts of
Langdon Hills, previously in the Orsett Rural District, were also transferred to the new district. The administration of the district was divided into 8 Wards
represented by 23 publicly elected councillors. Council meetings, previously held in Brentwood, were conducted from a building at 108 High Street,
Mr. Harry Egerton Bebington, conservative councillor for Ward No. 3 (Laindon), is unanimously elected as the first chairman of Billericay Urban District
Council. Mr. Matthew Land, conservative councillor for Ward 8, is elected vice-chairman.
Pitsea Combined Treatment Centre at High Road officially opened. The centre, which is built on behalf of Essex
County Council, is located within the grounds of Pitsea County Primary School. Mrs. Alexandra Brooks,
deputising for her husband Alderman Alfred Brooks, performed the opening ceremony. The centre is
now known as Pitsea Clinic.
A commercial refuse dump for household waste is established
on marshland at Pitsea and Bowers Gifford. In 1929 during the consultation process the Billericay
Rural District Council expressed no objections provided that the required conditions to prevent risk
of nuisance were observed. Council approval was finally given early in 1935. The refuse, which
is collected from London and the surrounding area, is either carried down the River Thames in open
barges or from 1970 onwards, following a lease agreement with Basildon Council, transported by road. Three specially constructed wharfs with cranes
at Holehaven Creek unload the waste to open top container trucks which transport it for landfill
where it's then compacted by International Bulldozers. Sidings at Pitsea were also provided for
rail transportation though these were later lifted. From around 1971 the site comprised 1,300 acres
and lagooned areas of the site began receiving hazardous or toxic waste by which time the dump, or
landfill site as it was now known, had become one of the largest in the United Kingdom. It was estimated
that by 2001 some 30 million tonnes of refuse of various types had been deposited at the site. The
site currently accepts around 300,000 tonnes of waste annually. Completed areas of the site are
now closed off and landscaped as part of a marshland land reclamation scheme, though the remainder,
which comprises around 593 acres to the east of Wat Tyler Country Park, will continue to receive
waste until eventual closure, planned for 2025. Various companies have been responsible for the
overall management of the site beginning with Land Reclamation Co. Ltd. through to the 1970s when waste management
company Redland Purle of Rayleigh, Essex took over to December 1980, followed by Cleanaway and current operator Veolia,
who have been given an extension to continue operating the landfill site through to closure.
Pitsea underline railway bridge reconstruction and road widening scheme completed. The bridge,
designated 'Bridge 96' and located at High Road close to the border with Vange on the direct London to Shoeburyness rail route, dates from the
opening of the line in 1888 and had become an accident black spot due to its short width and single pedestrian pathway. The cost of the work,
carried out on behalf of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway Company, was estimated at around £23,000, which included new pedestrian
pathways and some realignment to the existing A13 roadway. The bridge, which has a travelling height of 13ft 9" (4.19m), has since 1994 been
owned and maintained by firstly Railtrack, and now Network Rail, following the privatisation of British Rail.
St. Michael's Mission Church at Green Lane, Lee Chapel opened. This small wooden built church replaced
an earlier building with the same name built in 1930 on the south side of the L.T.S. railway at Salisbury
Avenue. Part of the cost was met through a church grant of £35 from the Executive and General Committees. The
dual purpose building survived to the early 1960s when it was demolished in preparation for the future
Lee Chapel North housing development. St. Michael's Women's Fellowship were among the local community
groups known to have held their meetings there.
Rosedale Theomonistic Church in Pound Lane, Laindon is certified as a place of worship. This small wooden built
church located in Pound Lane between Dickens Drive and St. Nicholas Lane was short-lived and its registration
was cancelled from 6th April, 1936. The building then became the Regal Social Club. A residential property now stands on the
site of the former church and social club.
Nevendon Craylands Council Senior School opened. The school, situated in Timberlog Lane (later renamed Craylands),
Nevendon, opened as separate schools for boys and girls, only becoming mixed in 1949. From 1949
to 1968 - when the school merged with Fryerns Grammar & Technical to become Fryerns Comprehensive
- the school was called Craylands County Secondary School. Mr. Louis Allen Gredley, 1st and only Headmaster
of the boys' school continued in the role following the 1949 merge through to his retirement in
1952. Miss Jane Mary Morgans was appointed Headmistress of the girls' school. The school was formally
opened on Wednesday 9th October by Mr. William Owen Lester Smith, M.A., Director of Education, Manchester who had previously held the same post in Essex. The school
closed in 1999 and the building, which had stood empty for over ten years was demolished in 2011
to make way for a new housing development.
The Laindon War Memorial unveiled. The memorial, commemorating those that died in the Great
War (1914-1918), was placed in the grounds of the British Legion Hall in High Road,
Laindon. It stood on the right side inline with the front of the hall on a simple layered concrete plinth. Its design is a simple circular column of blue pear Aberdeen granite topped with an
ornate flat base upon which stands a cross. In the 1970s when the hall was demolished for new
housing the memorial was removed and eventually resited in the High Road in front of the
Laindon shopping centre. It now commemorates both world wars and is inscribed in capital
letters: TO THE GLORIOUS DEAD 1914 - 1918 LAINDON AND DISTRICT 1939 - 1945 AT THE GOING DOWN
OF THE SUN, AND IN THE MORNING, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM. Although originally sited within
the grounds of the British Legion Hall the war memorial was not the property of the Laindon
branch of the British Legion but presented as a gift to the people of the district by
Mr. Albert Eli Symes of Brentwood, who founded around 1892, the respected building & civil engineering
company A.E. Symes Ltd, then based at Brentwood and Stratford. One of his daughters, Mrs Ivy
McLachlan performed the opening ceremony aided by the Rector of Laindon, Rev. Michael Neville
Lake and Rev. Tom W. Shepherd, of the Laindon Baptist Church.
Mr. Victor Raikes (later Sir) (25,912) re-elected Conservative member of parliament for the Essex South Eastern constituency. He won with a greatly reduced
majority of 970 over Labour opponent John "Jack" Oldfield, who was attempting for the second time to win the seat back he took in 1929. Conversatives
win general election.
The A127 London - Southend Arterial Road transition from single to duel carriageway reaches
Old Tom Motor Services of Manor Road, Laindon acquired by City Coach Company Ltd. Old Tom's bus company was founded by Tom Webster of Wash
Road, Laindon in 1921. He ran the company, which was based at Manor Road, Laindon, with his two sons Tom jnr. and Dick. At its peak he owned around
10 buses and operated a number of routes including a regular weekday service to Romford. The City Coach Co., who had a depot at Tylers Avenue in
Southend, were one of the biggest independent bus operators at the time and would go on to run a regular circular route between Laindon Station and
Pipps Hill via Church Road.
Vange Fire Station at High Road opened. The small station located at the corner of High Road and
Freshwater Drive was manned by part-time volunteer's led by chief officer William Bishop. It operated
as a section station attached to Billericay Fire Brigade who also provided the single engine, formerly
stationed at Billericay.
The first properties on the Kiln Farm (Riverview) housing estate at Pitsea become occupied. The new estate,
comprised of mainly two bedroomed semi-detached bungalows, is laid out along six roads with the
entry one being Riverview located off the main A13 High Road. The other five are Claremont Drive,
Avondale Road, Elm Tree Road, The Meads and the only cul-de-sac on the estate Woodlands Close. Years
later from the 1950s onwards some of the properties came into development corporation ownership
who then offered them for rent. Basildon Council later took over ownership of those properties
when the development corporation's successor, the Commission for the New Towns, was wound down
in the 1990s. In the late 1960s twenty four properties in the form of twelve semi-detached bungalows,
even numbered 2-48, in The Meads were demolished to allow the A13 to be re-routed away from the
High Road. This was completed by 1973 but the new road with increased traffic created a noisy
environment for the properties in the immediate vicinity and it took until 2014 before high fencing
was finally erected as a sound deadening measure. The estate is now considered to be in Vange.
A small Sub-Post Office and general stores opens at 171 Worthing Road, Laindon. The owners, Frederick and Annie Rogers ran the bungalow
shop until the late 1960s. It stood on the north side of an unmade section about midway between Railway Approach and Dunton Drive. The shop, which also had
an outside public telephone kiosk, also provided newspaper delivery 'paper round' jobs for local teenagers. This section of Worthing Road and
all of its properties are now lost to the Presidents and Commonwealth housing estates, constructed in the early 1980s.
St. Margaret's Church of England Primary School in Bowers Gifford opened. The school, which was
built in London Road, took its name from the local church which has served the area since the 14th
century. Part of the cost of the school was met through various fundraising events organised by
the church. A service of dedication at the laying of the foundation stones was conducted by the
Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt. Rev. Henry Albert Wilson on Sunday 5th October 1935. The school is now
voluntary aided with around 214 pupils.
The Regal Social Club in Pound Lane, Laindon opened. The new social club was housed in the former Rosedale Theomonistic
Church, which had a short existence being only opened itself the previous year. Former Laindon resident Mr G.H. Madeley carried
out the opening proceedings in the wooden built hall which had been renovated to include a bar, seating and games
facilities. Yearly membership was 2s 6d (12½p). The club is fully licensed being supplied by London brewers Mann
Crossman and Paulin. An elected general committee was formed of which Wash Road resident Mr
P.A. Dyson acted as both manager and secretary to the new club. Other activites included outings and children's
Christmas parties. The club was later listed in the June 1955 edition of the Post Office telephone directory under the name W.H.
Nuth. Laindon resident Mr Nuth, known as Bill of St. Nicholas Lane, along with his wife Mabel had taken over the running of the
club, possibly through to its eventual closure sometime around 1959. The building was later demolished and a residential property
now stands in its place.
Proposals to divide the district into six electoral Wards returning 4 councillors for each ward are agreed at a council meeting held on Wednesday 26th
May. Authorisation, which raised the number of elected councillors from 23 to 24, took effect from 1st April, 1937. (The Billericay Urban District (Alteration
of Wards) Order, 1937). The first elections were held on Saturday 3rd and Monday 5th April, 1937.
S.X. Tool and Engineering Company Limited founded. The business was known to have two locations at Laindon; one, during the 1940s
and later, to the south side of the London bound A127 Arterial Road, and the other at Pound Lane (now Pound Lane Central), as
well as another site, possibly at Chadwell Heath. The company designed and manufactured press tools, jigs and special purpose
machinery. The Pound Lane factory, located on the west side, was in operation from the mid 1960s and possibly earlier to 1975
when it closed down following a winding-up procedure (*) agreed on 09/10/1975. It occupied a large site that included an employees
football pitch to the rear of its two main buildings, the first of which had the name S X Tools displayed in large white letters on the
roof facing the entrance in. Following closure, the Pound Lane site was later cleared and remained undeveloped for many years
before eventually being sold off for private housing.
(Source: London Gazette, 14/10/1975, Edition No. 46712 p. 12881.)
The parishes of Basildon, Bowers Gifford, Great Burstead, Little Burstead, Laindon, Lee Chapel,
Nevendon, North Benfleet, Pitsea, Vange and Wickford abolished and absorbed into a single Billericay
parish. (The County of Essex, Urban District of Billericay (Union of Parishes) Confirmation
A new sub-division Police Station at Pitsea opened in Rectory Road. This two storey building would
survive until November 1967 when operations were centralised in Basildon at Great Oaks. The building
was later demolished. Years later another police station opened in Rectory Road on the site of
the 1937 building.
Nevendon Treatment Centre in Timberlog Lane, Nevendon opened. The new centre, which was designed
in the style of the adjacent Nevendon Craylands senior school, was provided by the County Council to serve
the wider community which was seeing a population growth following the land sales and on going plotland
developments. It was built by A.E. Wright Limited of Knotts Green Road, Leyton who submitted the
lowest tender of £3,237 around December the previous year. Vice-chairman of Essex County Council,
Alderman Colonel Gilbertson Smith, T.D., D.L., performed the opening ceremony. An ambulance station
was also established which would remain here until 1962 when a new station was built at Great Oaks
in Basildon. The centre is now in Craylands and known as Craylands Clinic.
The Langdon Players amateur dramatics group formed. Although formed before the Second World War
productions were suspended through the war years and continued on May 10th 1946 when they staged Quiet Weekend by Esther McCracken. The
group, whose membership once included the television and film actress Joan Sims, staged many of their productions at Laindon High Road School. Two
of their members, Chairman Ivy Jobson and Phil Lee, both from Langdon Hills, were still active in the group into the early 1960s. The group was eventually
succeeded by the Basildon Players and is believed to have staged its final production in 1963.
In anticipation of the potential for war breaking out in Europe Billericay Urban District Council appoints an
Air Raid Precautions Officer. During late September the officer's office was busy with council staff distributing gas masks to the public. Trenches and
underground shelters were also dug. The council also sought volunteers for the various branches of the Air Raid Precaution Services and instituted
courses in first aid.
Billericay Urban District Council acquires land in Laindon for the purpose of open space and recreation. The
parcels of land, known as Pound Lane Open Space and totalling around 2 acres, were purchased under the Public Health Act 1875 to create an environment
for use as a public amenity. Further acquisitions took place later the same month and again in 1939 and 1952, where a small portion in the south east
corner was bought under the Housing Act 1936 for the purpose of future housing. The land is now known as Pound Lane Recreation Ground. An
application in August 2010 on behalf of a local resident applying for Village Green status was later rejected by Essex County Council in 2013.
Dunton Pumping Station in Lower Dunton Road completed.
St. Paul's Chapel, Vange opened. The chapel, located
in Timberlog Lane (now Clay Hill Road), was created by converting part of All Saints Church Hall. It had
seating for seventy and survived as a Mission Church until 1958 when a new C of E church, St. Chad's, was built on land
adjacent to the church hall. The 3rd Bishop of Chelmsford, The Rt Rev. Henry Albert Wilson performed the opening ceremony
during a service conducted by the Rector of Vange, Rev. John Beauchamp Gordon.
The United Kingdom and France declared war on
Germany following the German invasion of Poland on 1st September. The war, known as World War
II or the Second World War, lasted through to 1945. The Basildon area, with its close proximity
to London, was often on the receiving end of a whole range of incendiary bombs as the Germans, under the
leadership of Adolf Hitler, sought to overcome Great Britain. A total blackout was in force,
and later as war intensified, Parish Invasion Committees were formed and a German
Prisoner of War (POW) camp (No. 266) opened in Langdon Hills sometime around the end of hostilities
on a field at the top of Dry Street. The POW camp viewed from above on an October 1946 ordnance survey
photograph of Langdon Hills revealed approximately 28 huts spread out in three rows.
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