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A Basildon Chronology
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1950   1951   1952   1953   1954
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1950

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23rd February

Mr. Bernard Braine (later Sir) (23,803) elected Conservative M.P. for the new Billericay constituency including Basildon. He took the seat with a majority of 4,366 over Labour Co-operative opponent Albert Oram. Mr. Braine had previously stood unsuccessfully against Labour's Albert Betchervaise for the Leyton East seat in the 1945 general election. Labour win General Election.

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24th March

Pitsea Hall in Marsh Road, Pitsea is listed on the Ministry of Works buildings of historic interest list. It has since been designated Grade II listed status. The hall is now known as Cromwell Manor and located in Pitsea Hall Lane.

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24th March

Holy Cross Church in Church Road, Basildon is listed on the Ministry of Works buildings of historic interest list. It has since been designated a Grade II* listed building.

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24th March

St. Michael's Church in Church Path, Pitsea is listed on the Ministry of Works buildings of historic interest list. It has since been designated a Grade II listed building.

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24th March

St. Nicholas Church in Church Hill, Laindon is listed on the Ministry of Works buildings of historic interest list. It has since been designated a Grade I listed building.

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24th March

St. Peter's Church in Church Lane, Nevendon is listed on the Ministry of Works buildings of historic interest list. It has since been designated a Grade II* listed building.

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24th March

Doves Farmhouse at 97 Pound Lane, Laindon is listed on the Ministry of Works buildings of historic interest list. It has since been designated a Grade II listed building.

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24th March

Dry Street Farmhouse in Dry Street, Langdon Hills is listed on the Ministry of Works buildings of historic interest list. It has since been designated a Grade II listed building.

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24th March

Great Chalvedon Hall in Rectory Road, Pitsea is listed on the Ministry of Works buildings of historic interest list. It has since been designated a Grade II listed building. The building was acquired by Basildon Council from the last tenants in the mid 1970s and leased to the Whitbread Brewery Co. for conversion to a public house. It is now in Tyefields and still in use as a public house.

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24th March

The Rectory in Nevendon Road, Nevendon is listed on the Ministry of Works buildings of historic interest list. It has since been designated a Grade II listed building.

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24th March

Nevendon Hall in Nevendon Road, Nevendon is listed on the Ministry of Works buildings of historic interest list. It has since been designated a Grade II listed building.

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24th March

The Five Bells public house at London Road, Vange is listed on the Ministry of Works buildings of historic interest list. It has since been designated a Grade II listed building.

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24th March

The Cottage - Nos 1 and 2 Paynters Hill, Vange is listed on the Ministry of Works buildings of historic interest list. It has since been designated a Grade II listed building.

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24th March

The Lighthouse in Lee Chapel Lane, Langdon Hills is listed on the Ministry of Works buildings of historic interest list. It has since been designated a Grade II listed building.

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24th March

Hawksbury Manor in Hawksbury Bush Lane, Vange is listed on the Ministry of Works buildings of historic interest list. It has since been designated a Grade II listed building.

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9th June

Sir Lancelot Keay, Chairman of Basildon Development Corporation, cuts the first sod in the creation of Basildon's first new road East Mayne. East Mayne, known as Road 1 on the Corporation's Master Plan, was built in stages with the first section between the A127 running parallel with Nevendon Road to a junction with Burnt Mills Road. It initially served the No.1 Industrial Estate where factories were under construction from 1951 onwards. The new road, which was duel carriageway throughout, was later designated A132 following its eventual completion to a new roundabout where it would link up with Broadmayne (Road 2), when that road was completed in the early 1960s.

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August

The Pitsea Carnival returns. The annual carnival which was suspended in 1940 following the outbreak of World War Two would continue yearly until around 1957 when the Basildon Carnival was launched. This years carnival queen, Daphne Ashbourne, was crowned by Billericay M.P. Bernard Braine.

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1951

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Tenants begin moving into the first properties to be constructed in what would become the new Fryerns area of Basildon. The estate, comprising 214 properties, was built by Richard Costain Ltd. of S.W.1, London. Work began the previous year with some of the first to occupy the houses, mainly centred around Grimston Road, being labour workers employed to work on building sites within the new town.

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16th February

The first Master Plan for the new town of Basildon is submitted to Hugh Dalton, Minister at the Ministry of Local Government and Planning by Basildon Development Corporation. It was prepared by the corporation's chief architect planner Noel Tweddell, A.R.I.B.A.

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18th June

The first new town tenants move into homes at 61 and 63 Redgrave Road, Vange. In September 1950 Basildon Development Corporation awarded builders C.S. Wiggins & Sons Ltd. of 57 Hart Road, Thundersley, Essex the first housing contract worth £47,507 for 39 rented properties in Vange. The first completed houses were in a short terrace of three homes, each with three bedrooms, in Redgrave Road on the Bellevue Drive estate. Redgrave Road was a new road to the area having no history before this date; its course beginning off Ravenscourt Drive* and cutting across previous residential settlements of Bellevue Drive, and Pitseaville Grove* (*in their original forms) to a junction with Vange Hill Drive. John and Betty Walker from East Ham were the first to move in at No. 61, an end terraced house, on Monday 18th June followed by Eric and Marjorie Hawkridge next door at No. 63. Reg and Betty Bartlett were third in soon after at No. 65 in the first completed terrace. Occupation of a second terrace of six houses, numbered 49-59, began in August 1951 when Stan and Phyllis Martin moved into No. 59 to became the fourth new tenants followed by Stan and Lillian Foster next door at No. 57. In 1968 the odd numbers side of Redgrave Road was extended around the midway point after number 39 with new housing in a short cul-de-sac. The new properties, numbered 41-131, caused numbers 49-65 to be renumbered 133-149. The house is now over 60 years old and may one day receive a plaque to honour its place in the history of Basildon. Although the first tenants moved in on Monday on Friday 22nd the Corporation held an informal ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the occasion attended by Lady Whitmore, the wife of Sir Francis Whitmore, Lord Lieutenant of Essex. The weekly rent and rates in 1951 was £1 12s. 7d. (£1.63p).

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24th August

The first Master Plan for Basildon is approved by the Rt. Hon. Hugh Dalton, M.P., Minister of Local Government and Planning. It was submitted back in February and followed on 13th June by a local Public Inquiry. It allowed for an anticipated population within the designated area of 80,000.

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10th September

The first new factory to open is South-East Essex Wholesale Dairies, at Cranes Farm Road on the No. 1. Nevendon Industrial Estate. Constructors Hosking & Son Ltd. began work on the site around September/October 1950 and a foundation stone was laid on 10th November by Colonel Sir Francis Whitmore, K.C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., T.D., Lord Lieutenant of Essex. The cost of the factory which was capable of processing 3,600 gallons of milk a day was around £25,000 and following its completion became the first new building erected in the New Town. The company was formed in 1945 by Charles Markham, a dairy farmer from Laindon whose business in the High Road provided many of the staff when they transferred to the new site on opening. The company continued at Nevendon well into the 1970s. The necessary road and engineering work to make the site accessible was carried out earlier in the year by Leftley Brothers Ltd., of Barking who, in Phase One, opened up the first 13 acres of the planned 100+ acre new industrial estate.

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1st October

Eastern National Omnibus Company open a small bus depot at Bull Road (now Clay Hill Road), Vange. The company acquired the premises, the former Victoria Timber Yard builders' merchants business run by Robert Greaves & Sons, earlier in the year and had it converted for use as a bus depot to garage the balance of the Grays services not taken over by the London Transport Executive. The company remained at Vange until April 1961 when a new larger depot opened near Basildon town centre at Cherrydown (now Cherrydown East).

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25th October

Mr. Bernard Braine (later Sir) re-elected Conservative M.P. for the Billericay constituency including Basildon. He won with a majority of 6,323 over Labour Co-operative opponent Brian Clapham, who was making the first of two unsuccessful attempts to win the seat. Conservatives win General Election.

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23rd December

Derek Hood of Redgrave Road, Vange is the first child to be born in the New Town. His parents and sister Valerie had moved into No. 33 in a newly completed row of terraced housing on the Bellevue Drive estate.

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1952

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Vange swimming pool at Riverside Farm, Wharf Lane, Vange closed. The open-air pool, which was situated on the south side of the Pitsea to Tilbury rail route, was closed, allegedly due to a public health scare. It had been open from at least 1933; being filled by natural sea water pumped from the tidal Vange Creek. In 1961 the farm was purchased by Basildon Development Corporation as a potential recreational centre and although the farm itself was later destroyed by fire, in June 1962 Basildon Youth Association were awarded a £1,000 grant towards the renovation of the site including the pool. Unfortunately despite some work being undertaken to the pavilion, outbuildings and grounds the scheme failed to materialise and the pool was filled in, possibly the same year. The site was later sold and incorporated into Churchill Johnson's timber yard (later W.C. Ware) and is now part of the Kierbeck Business Park.

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February

Linda Smith, born to parents Albert and Rose Smith of Redgrave Road, Vange, is the first baby girl to be born in the New Town. The family, who moved with their daughter Carol from East Ham, took over a a newly completed home on the Bellevue Drive estate on 5th November 1951 after Albert had secured work in the area as a bricklayer.

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2nd June

The second post-war Laindon Carnival is held at a field in Aston Road, off the High Road. The procession began at the Samuel Road High Road junction in Langdon Hills. The proceeds were in aid of the Laindon Community Hall Fund.

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August

The first new shops to be built on a development corporation housing estate are at numbers 19 and 21 Pendle Drive, off Whitmore Way on the Cranes estate in Fryerns. The two shops; a grocers and butchers, were leased by the Co-operative Society (Co-op). The grocery store at No. 19 was run by long serving Labour councillor Alf Dove who had relocated to Basildon to take up the post. The semi-detached building was built to blend in with the existing houses and has a pitched roof and upper flat accommodation.

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1st August

Town Development Act, 1952 receives Royal Assent. The Act provided for the transfer of overspill to uncongested existing towns, mainly as a result of inner city damage, and subsequent need for redevelopment, caused by enemy action during world war two.

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4th August

The third post-war Vange & Pitsea Carnival held on Bank Holiday Monday. Up to 8,000 people lined the 1½ mile long route beginning at the original Bull Inn in Bull Road (now Clay Hill Road) and the Gun Meadow at Bowers Gifford.

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1953

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Shops at the Fryerns neighbourhood Sub-Centre at Whitmore Way begin opening. The 8 shop units, even numbered 92 - 106, is the first large scale shopping development undertaken by Basildon Development Corporation. Work commenced on its construction the previous year and included two-storey maisonettes above each shop unit. Among the first to open were Ling's hardware, the Home and Colonial foodstore, Orrock's butchers, French and Moon dispencing chemist, Gables Nursery greengrocers and Martin's newsagent. The centre was later extended in the late 1950s with the addition of 5 more shops.

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D.C. Jeakins removals & storage company of Laindon established. For many years they were based at 44 High Road next to the Laindon Hotel where they had a yard and second hand furniture shop. They moved to a new industrial estate at Wrexham Road following its construction in the late 1960s to early 1970s. The company, founded by Derek Jeakins, later established a car and van rental business called Jeakins Rentals in 1985 and is still active today.

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Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Company open a factory at Christopher Martin Road on the No.1 Industrial Estate at Nevendon. The company, founded in 1897 as the Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company by Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi, are amongst the leading developers within the telecommunications industry.

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31st January

The 1953 North Sea Flood. On the night of 31st January and the morning of February 1st, the England, Scotland, Belgium and Holland experienced one of the worst natural sea disasters ever recorded. A tidal surge brought about by a high spring tide and a european windstorm caused the North Sea to rise by as much as 18 feet in places. The aftermath was immediate with huge swathes of land on the east coast submerged under water resulting in an overall death toll of 2,551 people. In England, Essex was one of the worst affected counties with Canvey Island, which was completely flooded, recording 58 deaths, the highest number amongst the overal total of 307 for England. For a short time the island's 13,000 inhabitants were evacuated as the emergency services took over in co-ordinated effort to stabilise the situation. Billericay Council took immediate action to provide temporary accommodation for the victims and refuge centres were established around Basildon at Pitsea and Vange, often in local schools. The River Thames tidal defences, what there were of them, were also breached on the low-lying marshes and creeks at Bowers, Pitsea, Vange and Fobbing resulting in the deaths of livestock.

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May

Billericay Urban District Council comes under control of a Labour administration for the first time. Councillor Harry Tanswell of King Edward Terrace, Laindon is elected chairman. His vice-chairman is Councillor Bill Kiddell of Topsham Road, Laindon. The party held control until 1955.

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9th October

A large collection of Late Bronze Age metalwork was uncovered at Vange during construction on the site of the new Swan Mead (now Cherry Tree) Infant & Junior school. The finds, which included fragments of axe and sword, dates from the Ewart Park Phase (800-700 BC). They were unearthed in a drainage trench and have subsequently become known as the Vange Hoard. The artefacts are now housed at Southend Museum where a future display is planned.

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14th November

The Basildon Standard newspaper launched. Priced at 1½d with 12 pages and available every Saturday, the new tabloid paper followed hot on the heels of the Basildon News - the first new local weekly newspaper - which entered circulation earlier in the month. The long established Laindon Recorder reacted quickly changing its banner for the 18th November edition to Basildon Recorder. A fourth local paper, the "Basildon Times" appeared shortly after but this soon folded. From around June 1964 its circulation day changed to Friday, and then in 1967 the 'Standard' and the 'Recorder' merged to became the Basildon Standard Recorder. In 1971 the 'Basildon' prefix was dropped as the paper was available in various editions and later still the name Standard would disappear altogther. Today, after a time as "Basildon and Wickford Recorder", the paper is now known as "Basildon, Billericay Wickford Recorder". It is also the 'sister' newspaper to the 'Echo' and available at certain outlets as well as being delivered free to households within the district.

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2nd December

The 1,000th new home built by Basildon Development Corporation opened at 32 Denys Drive, Fryerns, by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Housing and Local Government, Ernest Marples. Mr. and Mrs. Albert and Constance Andrews were the new tenants having previously lived in Albert Square, Stratford. Building contractor J.B. Rose and Company Ltd. of 157 Sandgate Road, Folkestone, Kent, were responsible for its construction along with others in the close vicinity.

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11th December

Vehicle body maker Bonallack & Sons open a purpose built factory at Paycocke Road on the Nevendon industrial estate. The Rt. Hon. Alex Lennox Boyd, Minister of Transport performed the opening duties. The family run company, founded in 1825, had relocated to a 7½ acre site at Basildon from their former headquarters at Nursery Lane, Forest Gate. From 01/07/1971 the company became Freight Bonallack after merging with Freight Development Company of Lancing, West Sussex.

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1954

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Mr. Raymond Cyril Charles Boniface succeeds Brigadier W.G.D. Knapton as General Manager of Basildon Development Corporation. Before succeeding Brigadier Knapton Mr. Charles Boniface had been the corporation's Chief Solicitor since joining the board on 1st October, 1949. He would remain in the post until 1975 and became known locally as "Mr. Basildon".

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Church Road, Vange shop parade completed. The three shops with upper floor accommodation were built to serve the ongoing Vange housing developments. P.D. Green's grocery store at No.1 was one of the first to open.

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Teleflex open a factory for the manufacture of steel cable at Christopher Martin Road on the No.1 Nevendon Industrial Estate. The company, which began as MRC (Mechanical Remote Controls Ltd) in the 1930s, relocated to Basildon from Chadwell Heath. It is now known as Kongsberg Automotive.

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14th February

The first inter-town bus service begins. The service, W44 and run by Westcliff-on-Sea Motor Services, ran from Pitsea railway station to the junction with Quendon Road, Whitmore Way. The route was later renamed 244 in 1955 when Eastern National took over and gradually extended to the town centre and finally in 1958 to Laindon railway station via Laindon Link.

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3rd March

Lieutenant General Sir Humfrey Myddelton Gale, K.B.E., C.B., C.V.O., M.C. succeeds Sir Lancelot Keay as Chairman of Basildon Development Corporation. Sir Lancelot, who retired on 02/03/1954, had been due to retire the previous month but the Minister of Housing and Local Government extended by a month all board members term of office.

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10th April

Fryerns Community Centre opened. This new 50ft by 20ft wooden hall, built by volunteer residents and members of Fryerns Area Tenants Association, was situated adjacent to Southcote Crescent and The Fryth. It was the first new 'social amenity' in the new town and built under supervision from the association's secretary Mr. E. Parsons. The Deputy Chairman of Basildon Development Corporation, Mr. Charles Percival Bowyer, T.D., F.R.I.C.S., performed the opening ceremony. Though only planned as a temporary community centre - it was replaced in 1960 when a permanent community centre was built in Whitmore Way - it remained at The Fryth where it found other uses until June 28th 1972 when it was destroyed in a fire.

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13th April

First new Public House opened - The Crane, in Denys Drive, Fryerns, by brewers Whitbread & Co. Ltd. Mr. E.L. Protheroe from Basildon Development Corporation unveiled the forecourt sign while inside Mr George Walker and his wife Elizabeth, the pubs' resident landlord and landlady, were preparing to serve the drinks in each of the two bars. An off-licence was also incorporated into the buildings design.

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29th April

First new school opened - Swan Mead County Infants' & Junior, in Church Road, Vange. Mr. Bernard Goodfellow was appointed the first Headmaster of the junior school. In January 2002 the school was renamed Cherry Tree Primary School.

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3rd July

The first new church to be built in the new town, Fryerns Baptist Church at 147 Whitmore Way, opened. Founding minister Pastor Charles B. Phillimore took the opening service and remained the churches Priest-in-Charge until 1967. A foundation stone-laying service was held the previous year on Saturday November 21st. The church was the work of architect E. Joseph Wood, F.R.I.B.A., whose name and that of the builders, Haines & Warwick Ltd., are commemorated on the main foundation stone. From 13/08/1954 the church was registered for solemnising marriages in place of Vernons Baptist Church, now disused, which stood in Timberlog Lane, Fryerns.

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6th September

Whitmore County Infants' & Junior School in Whitmore Way opens. The school is named after the road in which it stands which itself took the surname of Colonel Sir Francis Henry Douglas Charlton Whitmore, 1st Baronet, KCB, CMG, DSO, TD, JP (20/04/1872 – 12/07/1962), who had strong ties with the area and lived at Orsett Hall, Orsett. At the time of the schools' opening Sir Francis Whitmore was also Lord Lieutenant of Essex, serving from 1936 to 1958. Mr. Claude A.J. Bernardin is appointed as Headmaster. In September 2011 the school became Whitmore Primary School & Nursery.

 
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.

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