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A Basildon Chronology
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1950   1951   1952   1953   1954   1955   1956   1957   1958   1959
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1950

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23rd February

Mr. Bernard Braine (later Sir) elected Conservative MP for the new Billericay constituency including Basildon. Majority 4,366. 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. 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 the 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. In the 1960s 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 Bros. 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 MP for the Billericay constituency including Basildon. Majority 6,323. Conservatives win General Election.

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1952

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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 had moved to Basildon in November 1951 from East Ham.

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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 new housing estate were the Co-op and a Grocery store, opened in August, at Pendle Drive, Fryerns.

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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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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 Co., 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 Junior & Infant, 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.

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6th September

Whitmore County Junior & Infants' 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.

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1955

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Greensted County Infant & Junior School in Kirby Road, Barstable opened.

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Shops at the Barstable neighbourhood centre at Timberlog Lane begin opening. The 16 shop units comprising 13 in Timberlog Lane and 3 in Long Riding is the second large scale shopping development undertaken by Basildon Development Corporation. Work commenced on its construction the previous year and included a mix of two-storey maisonettes and three storey maisonettes/flats above each Timberlog Lane shop unit. Among the first to open were Stewards radio, tv and electrical at No.223, Martin's newsagents at 219, Cox Bros butchers at 211 and a Crown post office at 199-201.

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The first tenants begin moving into houses on the Kathleen Ferrier Estate at Laindon. Building work began on the new housing estate around 1953/54 on behalf of Billericay Urban District Council. The estate, which is the second large scale project undertaken by the council in Laindon, consists mainly of 2, 3 and 4 bedroomed properties arranged in terraced rows. The streets, comprising Beecham Court, Boult Road, Byrd Court, Dowland Walk, Elgar Close, Fonteyn Close, Holst Avenue, Kathleen Ferrier Crescent, Pound Lane, Purcell Close, Tallis Road, Vaughn Williams Road and Walton Court, with the exception of Pound Lane, take their names from English classical composers, conductors, musicians and singers.

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The Jolly Friar public house in Whitmore Way, Fryerns opened. It was designed by London architects Stewart and Hendry and run by the Mann, Crossman & Paulin brewery company. The buildings design incorporated living accommodation and an off-licence. For many years a large Manns sign adorned an outer wall. In 1972 the saloon and lounge bars were combined to form a larger lounge bar by which time the pub had become a Watney Mann House and part of St. George's Taverns pub chain.

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Basildon Amateur Athletic Club founded. During discussions with the local council Frank and Elizabeth Cocker were asked to form a club for the benefit of the growing town. In the 1960s a grass track was established at Gloucester Park which would become their permanent home. The facilities there were later greatly improved by the creation of a proper 'arena' with undercover seating and floodlights. A long serving coach and former chairman is Bob Hawthorne.

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Basildon R.F.C. (Rugby Football Club) founded. The club was founded by Rev. Norman Woodrow of St. Michael's Church, Pitsea. Around 1961 the club found themselves a permanent base at a house in Church Hill, Laindon called Drumcondra. In the late 1960s the club moved to playing fields adjacent to the Murryfield pavilion in Gloucester Park, and then in 1974 moved again to Gardiners Close where they remain today. Regeneration plans for the area will probably mean the club relocating again.

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February

Westley Cricket Club formed. For their opening season the club's home fixtures were played at Langdon Hills Recreation Ground. In 1956 the club took over the former German POW camp field in Dry Street where they remained until 1969. They have played at various grounds since and remain active into the 2000s.

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10th February

Phase I of the Nevendon Sewage Treatment Works becomes fully operational. Work on laying the trunk sewers and plant works, which was carried out by contractors on behalf of Basildon Development Corporation, began in 1952 following a public inquiry held on 8th April, 1952. After treatment the purified effluent is discharged two miles away into Pitsea Creek. The first use of the Works occurred on 1st February followed on the 10th by an informal opening ceremony performed by the Corporation's Chairman Sir Humfrey Gale, who brought the whole plant into operation. An official opening ceremony was later held on 13th May performed by the Rt. Hon. Duncan Sandys, MP., Minister of Housing and Local Government. In July 1959 work began on a major extension which was completed in 1961. From 01/04/1974 following the Water Act of 1973 a new company called Anglia Water Authority took over responsibility for the main sewage disposal works.

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March

G & R Wrenn open a new toy manufacturing factory at 9 Bowlers Croft, Honywood Road, Basildon. The family run business Partnership, which specialises in the design and manufacture of die cast models for the '00' gauge model railways system, moved to the Nevendon industrial estate in Basildon from Lee Green in south east London. It was founded in 1950 by the Wrenn brothers George and Richard. The business became a limited company in 1957 and soon expanded into neighbouring units 7 and 11. Wrenn's survived at Basildon until October 1992, when it ceased trading and was then acquired in 1993 by Dapol Model Railways of Cheshire.

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19th March

The second New Town community hall is opened. The new hall in Luncies Road on the Barstable East estate was built in part by local residents and completed by Basildon Development Corporation, whose chairman, Sir Humfrey Gale, performed the opening ceremony. To save on costs it is of a timber construction.

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31st March

Basildon Urban District Council's residential property ownership for the Laindon, Pitsea and Vange areas totals 868. The total broken down is as follows: Laindon; 478, of which 298 are houses, 148 are flats and 32 are bungalows. Vange; 278, of which 138 are houses, 116 are flats and 24 are bungalows. Pitsea; 112, of which 104 are houses and 8 are bungalows. The majority of these properties comprise the King Edward Road and Pound Lane estates at Laindon, both built within the last 10 years, and an estate at Moss Drive in Vange and developments in the Crest Avenue/Kenneth Road area of Pitsea.

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1st April

With the consent of Essex County Council the name of Billericay Urban District Council is changed to Basildon Urban District Council.

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May

Brian Edwards, conservative councillor representing No.1 Ward Billericay and Buttsbury, is elected as the first Chairman of Basildon Urban District Council.

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26th May

Mr. Richard Body (later Sir) (24,327) elected Conservative MP for the Billericay constituency including Basildon. Majority 4,206. Conservatives win General Election.

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4th July

All Saints Church in 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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4th July

St. Mary the Virgin Church in Church Road, Dunton 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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4th July

Laindon Ponds farmhouse in Wash Road, 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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1956

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The first new recreation ground to open since Basildon became a New Town is Holy Cross at Church Road, Fryerns. Although initially created by the development corporation it soon came under the local council's control who then laid out football pitches and a cricket square. A sports pavilion was also built and opened in 1958.

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Manor Infant and Junior School in Church Road, Fryerns opened. A swimming pool was later added in the 1960s and opened by GBR Commonwealth Games swimming medal winner Elizabeth "Liz" Long. In January 2002 the school was renamed Willows Primary School which it remains today.

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19th February

Campbell's Motor Services, bus operators of Station Parade, Pitsea, acquired by Eastern National Omnibus Co. Campbell's had provided local services since the early 1920s from their headquarters at Primrose Villa, Station Parade. The building remained empty for many years, though recently during 2005/6 renovation work was carried out which included a retiled roof.

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13th May

Tower Sports Ground on the site of the former German POW camp at Dry Street, Langdon Hills opened. Westley Cricket Club, who formed the previous year, leased the ground from South Essex Waterworks for their home fixtures after clearing the remains of the former POW camp. Trevor Bailey, the Essex and England all-rounder and future honorary Vice-President of the club officially opened the ground which the club then used for the next 14 seasons. The name of the ground relates to a landmark water tower which stands nearby overlooking the ground. In 1969 before the season had begun the club were given notice to quit by April 1970 as the owners wished to sell the field. The club then moved in 1970 to Holy Cross in Fryerns and the field was later incorporated into the Langdon Hills Country Park.

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23rd May

St. Andrew's Church in The Fremnells, Fryerns, opened. The service of Dedication was carried out by the 4th Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt. Rev. Falkner Allison, and attended by an estimated 600 people. The new dual-purpose church and hall was built at a cost of £15,000 and the first Church of England church to be built in Basildon. The previous year on 15th October Sir Humfrey Gale, Chairman of Basildon Development Corporation, laid the foundation stone in a special service and ceremony. Rev. John K. King was the priest-in-charge at the time of opening.

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30th May

Basildon Development Corporation's proposed plans for the creation of the main town centre receive approval from the Rt. Hon. Henry Brooke, M.P., Minister for Housing & Local Government. Work on the first block of shops comprising parts of Town Square and Market Pavement, Market Square and Fodderwick began in December 1956 with the first shop open for business in 1958.

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27th June

Laindon general post office (G.P.O.) telephone exchange opened. The new single-storey exchange was built to the rear of the former exchange located within The Ferns, a detached house in High Road, Langdon Hills. Access to the exchange is from Vowler Road. It remained in use to around 1968 when a purpose built exchange opened at Northumberland Avenue, Laindon which is still in use today. Following closure the building, although empty and derelict, was finally demolished sometime around 1976 and replaced with a private residential property.

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August

Shopping block at Kathleen Ferrier Crescent in Laindon completed. The three shops, odd numbered 81 - 85, were built to serve the new Basildon Urban District Council estate, begun under the previous Billericay administration a few years earlier. The small development included maisonette accommodation above each shop. Forbuoys newsagents at No. 81 and a Wavy Line supermarket at No. 83 are just two of the traders to have occupied a unit there.

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September

Fryerns Grammar and Technical school in Pattiswick Square is the first all new secondary school to open in Basildon. Mr Cyril Baggs is appointed the first Headmaster. In September 1968 the school merged with nearby Craylands to become Fryerns Comprehensive. The school closed in 1999 having been renamed Fryerns Community School in 1994.

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8th September

Langdon Hills Methodist Church in High Road opened by Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone. The new church, with increased seating and detached manse, is built to the rear of the former church which faces the High Road. The former church, which itself had been enlarged in the 1930s, opened in 1907 as Nightingale Mission and became a Wesleyan Methodist in 1919. This is now a church hall. A foundation stone was laid earlier in the year on January 7th.

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7th October

St. Basil the Great Roman Catholic Church in Luncies Road, Barstable East, opened. The Bishop of Brentwood, Bernard Patrick Wall performed the blessing. The previous year on 23rd July the foundation stone was laid by George Andrew Beck, the 3rd Bishop of Brentwood. The church, which becomes the fourth new one to open within the town, is designed in the modernist style with seating for 450. The architects were the respected team of David R. Burles and Alexander John Newton of Burles, Newton & Partners. A presbytery, convent and Roman Catholic school were also built on the 5 acre site.

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1957

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Timberlog County Secondary School in Timberlog Lane opened. The first Headmaster was Mr. Vivian Robson who formerly taught at Rayleigh Technical & Secondary Modern. It was designed by the established team of architects C. S. Mardall, F. R. S. Yorke and Eugene Rosenberg. In September 1968 the school merged with nearby Barstable, with the Timberlog site becoming Barstable lower school. The school was later demolished in the 1990s and residential housing can now be seen where it once stood.

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Nether Mayne South West 'feeder' road linking the A13 at Vange with Roundacre roundabout completed. Construction began around late 1956 or early 1957 and involved the complete rebuild of the Woottons Lane railway overbridge. The road was known as Road 4 on the development corporation's area plan.

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Clay Hill Road 'feeder' road linking Vange with Basildon town centre completed. Construction began during 1957 and involved the realignment of the existing course to a new junction at Southernhay, completed the previous year. The realignment involved the complete rebuild of the former Shelley Road railway overbridge. The road was known as Road 10 on the development corporation's area plan.

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Long Riding, Barstable shops completed. The two shops with upper floor maisonette accommodation at 303 and 305 Long Riding were built to serve the Barstable West housing developments. Various newsagents would trade at 305 including Newswell during the 1970s.

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The Ford Motor Company open a radiator factory in Honywood Road on the No.1. Nevendon Industrial Estate. This was Ford's first entry into the town and the company would continue to invest heavily in the area throughout the 1960s and '70s. The factory became the Visteon Radiator Plant in 1997 (US automotive parts supplier Visteon becoming a Ford subsidiary until 2000) but closed down in March 2008 when owners Visteon UK went into administration.

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Ilford Limited open a photographic colour processing plant at Paycocke Road, Basildon. The company, founded in 1879 by Alfred Harman in Ilford, Essex, were early pioneers in the development of photographic reproduction methods; establishing themselves as one of the leading film developers in the United Kingdom. The factory, on the No. 1 industrial estate at Nevendon, was designed in part by Anthony B. Davies, an employee of Basildon Development Corporation and soon to be their chief architect planner. A prominent feature of the factory site, which employs a workforce of around 1200 people, is a tall landmark chimney, finished in white and emblazoned with the companys' name in black vertical lettering.

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The Winged Horse public house in Luncies Road, Barstable, opened. The name was chosen by Mr. N.L. Duckworth of 12 Claydon Crescent, Basildon who won a £25 prize in a "name your new pub" competition organised by owners Taylor Walker Brewery Co.

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Hanningfield Reservoir, near Downham, completed. Work on creating the 870 acre reservoir, the second largest in Essex after Abberton, began in 1951 with the aim of providing water for the new town of Basildon and other parts of Essex. The reservoir, a joint construction by the Southend Waterworks Company and South Essex Waterworks Company, when full holds 27 billion litres of water. A 16th century manor house at Downham called Fremnells was demolished as part of the development which cost around £4,000,000 and mainly covers farmland.

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January

St. Teresa's Roman Catholic Primary School in Elsenham Crescent, Barstable, opened. The new school, the first of its kind in Basildon and opened by the Irish Sisters of Charity, had a capacity for 280 children. Sister Joseph Rita was appointed as the first Head Teacher. The school and a convent on the same site was blessed on 23rd May by the Bishop of Brentwood, Rt. Rev. Bernard Wall. It is now voluntary aided and under the Trusteeship of the Brentwood Diocese.

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26th June

Basildon town centre's first road Southernhay and Gloucester Park open space are formally opened by the Duke & Duchess of Gloucester who gave their name to the park. The Duke of Gloucester (Prince Henry) was the 3rd son of King George V and uncle to Queen Elizabeth II and the Duchess (Princess Alice) was born Lady Alice Christabel Montague Douglas Scott.

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5th September

Kingswood County Infant & Junior School in Clay Hill Road, Kingswood, opened. The Headmaster at the time of opening was Mr. John Emrys John. The School was initially established in the infant block while the junior school was being completed. In 1960 Miss D.E. Barber became the first infant Headmistress when the schools separate identities were finally established.

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9th November

Stewards, a developing local shop chain run by businessman Jack Shepard, hold a firework display at the headquarters of Basildon Town football club in Timberlog Lane.

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December

Langdon Hills Sanatorium at Dry Street closes. Opened in 1927 on land purchased by West Ham Borough Council the purpose built hospital was provided with living accommodation and a school room for children suffering with tuberculosis. In 1948 it fell under the control of South East Essex Management Committee who converted it to an adult male intake in 1950. Following closure the grounds were at one time considered as a possible site for the future Basildon Hospital but were eventually sold in 1964, in part to Essex County Council as an extension to its One Tree Hill site, and the rest into private ownership where the Wootton boarding kennels were established, lasting through to the 2000s. The remaining land and Wootton House, which had been used as the Nurses' quarters, remain in private ownership.

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1958

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Laindon Link, road No.5 on Basildon Development Corporation's Master Plan for Basildon, is completed. In the early 1970s following the completion of Hatterill the road was closed off close to the footpath to Albert Drive and later re-opened for buses only in 1978.

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Shops at the main neighbourhood centre at Whitmore Way begin opening. The 18 units, even numbered 402 - 436, was the third large scale shopping development undertaken by the development corporation. Stewards radio & tv at 402, Garon's bakers at 408 and Jeffrey's Hair Fashions next door at 410 were three of the first traders to move in.

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Anthony B. Davies, F.R.I.B.A., succeeds Noel Tweddell as Chief Arichitect Planner to Basildon Development Corporation. Noel Tweddell had held the post since the inception of the Corporation in 1949 and was responsible for the preparation of the Corporation's first 'Master Plan', which received Government approval in 1951.

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The Duke of Gloucester on his second visit to Basildon visits Timberlog and Berry Boys Clubs.

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Woodlands County Secondary School for Boys' and Girls' opened. Originally separate schools until merging in the 1970s. The first Headmaster of the Boys' school was Mr. Bernard Benjamin.

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Christadelphian Church at Basildon Drive, Laindon opened. The church was registered for the solemnisation of marriages on 28/03/1963.

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14th February

Basildon Police opened a small section station at a bungalow in Church Road, Basildon near the railway bridge.

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20th February

The New Towns Act, 1959 given Royal Assent. The new Act absolves the Comptroller and Auditor General of presenting the corporations' annual accounts to Parliament. It is now obligatory for the corporations to include their accounts in their annual reports compiled each year on 31st March.

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4th August

The first Basildon Carnival event held. Organised by local businessman Jack Shepard, the event, which was held on a Monday at Gloucester Park, attracted an estimated 10,000 people. Joan Birtle was the carnival queen.

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16th August

The first shop to open in Basildon town centre is Henbest at 65-67 Market Square. Henbest's were already well known locally through their mens outfitters and drapery shops in High Road, Laindon. Another early town centre trader from 1958 was Charsleys, who in September opened the towns' first shoe shop, and had also originally begun their business in the Laindon High Road. They would later become one of the first shops to open in phase one of the Eastgate Shopping Centre after its completion in 1980.

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September

Moat House School in Church Road, Fryerns, Basildon opened. The first Headmaster appointed is Mr. Idris A. Foulkes who moved to Basildon from his previous Headmasters post at Gloucester. The new school, with places for 160 children, is the first of its kind in Basildon to cater for children with special needs; drawing its numbers from the south east Essex Divisional area, and children mainly arrive by coach.

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5th September

Basildon is hit by an exceptional storm which caused extensive flooding over a wide area. Nearly 3 inches of rain fell in little more than an hour.

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6th September

The new 50 stall Basildon market opens. Operated by the Development Corporation 44 of the 50 stalls are fixed and clad in coloured canvases. The remaining six are mobile and include ironmongers T.E. Collins of Laindon. Opening days are Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. From 1st April 1965 Basildon Council took over administration with little change until 1983 when a second hand Monday 'Flea Market' opened in January, followed in April with the addition of Thursday for the main traders. Also on this day saw the opening of the public conveniences building situated opposite the market. Basildon Town Centre Management now control the market.

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4th October

Kingswood Baptist Church in Codenham Green, Kingswood opened. The new baptist church and youth hall was built at a cost of just over £18,000 which included a Manse and site fees. The opening was performed by Mrs. E.B. Walling in the presence of Rev. F.C. Rusbridge, the churchs' first Minister. Rev. J.H.G. Adams, the Area Superintendent, conducted the service of dedication. On 30th November the church held the first baptisms in a service involving total immersion in water for those being baptised. Prior to opening, services and Sunday School activities were held in Kingswood School followed by the church's own Manse in early 1958. The foundation stone laying ceremony was held earlier in the year on 10th May.

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7th October

Carson Brothers (Productions) Ltd officially open their new factory at Cranes Farm Road, Basildon. The company, which makes office furniture, was founded in 1949 in Shoreditch, London by brothers Michael and Alex Carson and has around 80 members of staff. The factory occupies a large site at the eastern end of Cranes Farm Road at its junction with East Mayne. Celebrity Stephanie Vos performed the opening. The large roundabout adjacent to the factory subsequently became known colloquially as Carson's roundabout.

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November

An underground monitoring post is constructed at Vange. The underground bunker, constructed of concrete on high ground at Vange, was one of over 1500 built nationwide for use by the Royal Observer Corps as a defence initiative against a nuclear threat during the 'cold war' period. It remained operational until October 1968 when the threat of conventional air attack was considered minimal. The shelter, although still extant and now part of Basildon golf course, has been vandalised and is now fenced off and the ventilation shafts sealed with concrete caps.

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8th November

Stewards, a developing local shop chain, hold their second annual firework display in Basildon Town Centre. Admission was free. The event was later taken over by Basildon Round Table who continue to run it to the present.

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17th December

St. Chad's church in Timberlog Lane (now 782 Clay Hill Road) dedicated. The C of E church, with seating for 225, is named after St. Chad, d.02/03/672, the first bishop of Mercia and Lindsey at Lichfield. His brother Cedd is said to have had associations with Essex. Lady Whitmore, wife of Sir Francis Whitmore, had previously laid the foundation stone on December 15th, 1957 in the presence of Lord Bishop of Chelmsford, Dr. Sherard Falkner Allison, who also later consecrated the church on November 17th, 1959. The architects were Humphrys and Hurst of Dorset Street, London. Next to the church is a new Vange rectory, replacing the 19th century one at London Road.

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1959

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The Long Riding public house in Long Riding, Barstable, opened. Stanley and Margaret Green are the first publicans to take charge.

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Co-operative Wholesale Society open a milk depot at Bluehouses (now Time Square) in Basildon town centre. The milk delivery service later became London Co-operative Society (L.C.S.) and had a large department store in the main Town Square. Their battery powered milk floats and green milk crates carrying bottles, in either gold top, red top, silver top or steralised soon became a regularly seen sight around the town. A Co-op funeral directors was also established and although the milk depot later closed the directors, now known as Co-op Funeralcare, remains open for business.

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The first tenants move into maisonettes above the Southernhay shops in Basildon town centre. The nine maisonettes, in blocks of three, were constructed above shop units 59, 69 and 79 and are the first residential properties within the town itself. Following Brooke House's construction in 1962 it would be another 46 years before another purpose built residential building appeared within the town, this being The Icon in Southernhay, completed in 2008.

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Two 'pantry' style shops at Luncies Road, Barstable completed. The two shops numbered 51 and 53 with upper flat accommodation, were built by the development corporation to serve the existing housing development in the Luncies Road area. The design was very similar to that used at Whitmore Way, Fryerns. Martin's newsagents and W & D Crook grocery store were some of the first to open.

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Fryerns neighbourhood Sub-Centre shops extension at Whitmore Way and Battleswick completed. The 5 shop units, even numbered 86 - 90 in Whitmore Way and odd numbers 1 and 3 in Battleswick, is a continuation of the existing parade of shops originally completed in 1953. Work commenced on its construction, which was at an angle to the existing structure, the previous year and included two-storey maisonettes above each shop unit. Among the first to open were Nelson and Ford motorctcles and accessories at No. 90, Gerald's Hair Fashions at No. 86 and the Battleswick fish bar at No. 3.

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Cigarette manufacturers Carreras Rothmans relocate to a new purpose built factory at Christopher Martin Road on the No.1 industrial estate at Nevendon. The company, founded in the 19th century by Don José Carreras Ferrer, moved to Basildon from Camden, NW1, following a merger with Rembrandt-Rothmans Group the previous November. The Carreras factory and six storey office block occupies a 12 acre site and would in 1960 became the world's first fully automated cigarette manufacturing plant when the Duke of Edinburgh, on a special visit in March, switched on the final item of plant to complete the automation. The factory survived to 1984 when the company closed it down amid a down turn in cigarette sales. The office block, complete with landmark exterior clocks, was later renamed Phoenix House, which it remains today.

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Swift Motorcycles established. The business was founded by Gordon Swift who set up a motorcycle sales, spares, servicing and m.o.t. centre in Church Road, Laindon. In the early 1960s a second venture, Gordon Swift Motors, was established at 8 Gibcracks, Basildon offering the same service less sales. The motorcycle business is now over 50 years old and still based in Laindon.

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Kingswood Community Hall at 142B Clay Hill Road opened. The community hall, located on the first floor above the neighbourhood shopping centre, was built by the development corporation to serve the recently completed Kingswood housing development. It was designed by corporation employees William Crabtree, F.R.I.B.A. in conjunction with Anthony B. Davies, A.R.I.B.A. and chief architect planner. Kingswood Community Association, formed later that year, then managed the building which since 1994 has been in the ownership of Basildon Council.

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10th January

Roundacre roundabout in Basildon becomes fully operational to vehicular traffic. Work on the new 6 junction roundabout began the previous year after the completion of the Nether Mayne railway underbridge. Two roads, Upper Mayne and Broadmayne were not yet connected to it though both would be completed by 1961. Initially there were two pedestrian subway entrance/exits which in the 1960s was increased to four. Its size was reduced over the years due to increased traffic, and though plans in the 1970s to create an upper level never reached fruition, it was finally replaced in the 1980s with a double roundabout and duel carriageway link road called Roundacre.

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February

The first new vehicle service station and car dealer opened at Long Riding, Barstable. E.D. Autos Limited, a Vauxhall and Bedford dealership, were the first to occupy the site which they later branded E. & D. Knight. The petrol station side of the business - selling Esso - had already opened the previous year in September while the remainder of the site was still under construction. In the 1970s Clayton Car Sales took over when it became Basildon Motoring Centre followed by Longman's Motors, who traded in the High Road at Laindon in the 1960s, and continue to run it to this day. There is no longer a petrol forecourt service having been discontinued sometime in the 1980s or earlier.

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14th March

Laindon Community Centre in Aston Road opened. The hall, built at a cost of £25,000, had been many years in the planning being jointly funded from private sources, the council and Basildon Development Corporation. President of Laindon Community Association, Mr. George J. Sibbons, who in 1952 donated £4,000 towards its construction, carried out the opening duties. The hall held up to 400 people and was used extensively up to 1985 when it was destroyed in a suspected arson attack. A new community centre was built close by and also in Aston Road.

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29th July

The New Towns Act, 1959 given Royal Assent. Provision within Part II of the Act for the creation of a successor to the development corporation's led to the formation of the Commission For The New Towns in 1961.

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5th August

Prime Minister of the day, Harold Macmillan, visited Basildon. After a tour of the town centre he attended a reception and press call at Kingswood Community Centre. This is thought to be the first instance of a Prime Minister making an official visit to Basildon.

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8th October

Mr. Edward Gardner Q.C. (later Sir) (29,224) elected Conservative MP for the Billericay constituency including Basildon. Majority 4,822. Conservatives win General Election.

 
Text researched and written by William Cox, 2001 with revisions and additions 2002-2015.
Copyright © 2001-2015, B. Cox - Basildon History Online. All rights reserved.

Acknowledgements and Bibliography

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