1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959|
Mr. Bernard Braine (later Sir) elected Conservative MP for the new Billericay constituency
including Basildon. Majority 4,366. Labour win General Election.
Eastern National Omnibus Company open a small bus depot at Bull Road (now Clay Hill Road),
Vange. The company remained here until 1961 when a new larger depot was built in Cherrydown.
The first new factory to open is South-East Essex Wholesale Dairies, at Cranes Farm Road on the
Nevendon Industrial Estate No.1. Constructors Hosking & Son Ltd. began work on the site around
September/October 1950 and a foundation stone was laid in 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 was around £25,000
and following its completion became the first new building erected in the New Town. The dairy company
were still in occupation up to 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.
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 Bellvue 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. 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 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).
The first Master Plan for Basildon was approved by the Rt. Hon. Hugh Dalton, M.P., Minister of
Local Government and Planning. It was submitted back in February and followed in June by a Public
Local Inquiry. It allowed for an anticipated population within the district of 80,000.
Mr.Bernard Braine (later Sir) re-elected Conservative MP for the Billericay constituency
including Basildon. Majority 6,323. Conservatives win General Election.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 soon followed suit by renaming itself 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 the paper is now known as "Basildon and Wickford Recorder". It is now the 'sister'
newspaper to the 'Echo' and available at certain outlets as well as being delivered free to
households within the district.
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.
Mr. Charles Boniface succeeds Brigadier W.G.D. Knapton as General Manager of Basildon
Development Corporation. Before succeeding Brigadier Knapton Mr. R.C.C. 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".
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.
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.
Fryerns Community Centre opened. This new temporary structure built to a wooden design by
volunteer residents and members of Fryerns Area Tenants Association was situated on land
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 P. Bowyer, T.D., F.R.I.C.S., performed the
opening ceremony. A new permanent community centre was later built in Whitmore Way and opened
First new Public House opened - The Crane, in Denys Drive, 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.
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.
The first new church to be built in the new town, Fryerns Baptist Church in Whitmore Way,
opened. Pastor Charles B. Phillimore took the opening service and remained the churches
Priest-in-Charge until 1967.
Whitmore County Junior & Infant 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 was
also Lord Lieutenant of Essex, serving from 1936 to 1958. In September 2011 the school became
Whitmore Primary School & Nursery.
Greensted County Infant & Junior School in Kirby Road, Barstable opened.
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. For many years a
large Manns sign adorned an outer wall. It later became a Watney Mann House and part of St. George's
Taverns pub chain.
Basildon Amateur Athletic Club founded. Their current headquarters is at Gloucester Park Arena,
Gloucester Park, Basildon.
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
Phase I of the Nevendon Sewage Treatment Works becomes operational. The Rt. Hon. Duncan Sandys,
MP., Minister of Housing and Local Government carries out the official opening.
The second New Town community hall is opened. The new hall in Luncies Road on the Barstable
estate was built in part by local residents and completed by Basildon Development
Corporation. It's unusual in that it is of timber construction.
The Billericay Urban District Council becomes The Basildon Urban District Council.
Brian Edwards, conservative councillor, is elected as the first Chairman of Basildon Urban
Mr. Richard Body (later Sir) (24,327) elected Conservative MP for the Billericay constituency
including Basildon. Majority 4,206. Conservatives win General Election.
Fryerns Grammar and Technical school become the first new secondary school to open. In 1968
the school merged with nearby Craylands to become Fryerns Comprehensive. Mr Cyril Baggs
was appointed the first Headmaster. The school closed in 1999 having been renamed Fryerns
Community School in 1994.
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.
Manor Infant and Junior School in Church Road, Fryerns opened. A swimming pool was later added
in the 1960s and opened by GBR 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games swimming finalist Elizabeth "Liz" Long. In
January 2002 the school was renamed Willows Primary School which it remains today.
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.
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.
Langdon Hills Methodist Church in High Road opened by Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone. Originally
opened in 1907 as the Nightingale Mission, it became the Methodist church in 1919. Along with
the new church part of the original frontage was retained.
The first service is held in the new Catholic church, St. Basil's in Luncies Road, Barstable
East. The previous year on 23rd July the foundation stone was laid by George Andrew Beck, the
3rd Bishop of Brentwood. A presbytery, convent and Roman Catholic school were also built on the 5 acre site.
Timberlog County Secondary School in Timberlog Lane opened. The first Headmaster was Mr. Vivian
Robson who formerly taught at Rayleigh Technical & Secondary Modern. In 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.
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.
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.
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 East 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.
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. It is now voluntary aided and under the Trusteeship of the Brentwood Diocese.
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.
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 was finally established.
The 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
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. It is now in private ownership and in use as boarding kennels.
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.
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.
Basildon Police opened a small section station at a bungalow in Church Road, Basildon near the
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.
Moat House School in Church Road, Fryerns, Basildon opened. The first Headmaster appointed is
Mr. I.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.
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.
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. 1983 saw two important
changes when a second hand Monday 'Flea Market' opened in January, followed in April with the
addition of Thursday for the main traders by which time the Council were in charge. Also on this
day saw the opening of the public conveniences building situated opposite the market. Basildon
Town Centre Management now control the market.
Kingswood Baptist Church in Codenham Green, Kingswood opened. On 30th November the church held
the first baptisms in a service involving total immersion in water for those being baptised.
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.
St. Chad's church in Timberlog Lane (now Clay Hill Road) dedicated. Lady Whitmore had previously
laid the foundation stone on December 15th, 1957. The 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. It was later consecrated by the Lord Bishop of Chelmsford,
Dr. Sherard Falkner Allison on November 17th, 1959.
The Long Riding public house in Long Riding, Barstable, opened.
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.
Roundacre roundabout in Basildon becomes operational. Initially the centre area had only two
subways and this was later 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.
The first new petrol filling station and vehicle service garage 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. Longmans Motors, who traded in the High Road at Laindon in
the 1960, later took over the business 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.
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 1984 when it was destroyed in a suspected
arson attack. A new community centre was built close by and also in Aston Road.
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.
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 2001 with revisions and additions 2002-2010.
Copyright © 2001-2010, B. Cox - Basildon History Online. All rights reserved.
Acknowledgements and Bibliography