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A Basildon Chronology
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1960   1961   1962   1963   1964
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1960

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Blenheim House shopping block at South Walk, Basildon completed. Work on the town centre block of twenty shop units and function hall began in 1958 in two phases. Phase 1, consisting of the function hall and units 1 - 4 was completed during 1959 with the remainder of the units in phase 2 open for business by autumn 1960. Some of the first traders to open included James Bews florist at No. 2, H.T. Dwyer newsagents at No.3 and toy shop at Nos. 12 and 13, Wimpy Bar at No.5 and Gertrude's Fashion House at No. 6. The function hall opened in 1961 as the Locarno Ballroom run by Mecca Dancing Ltd. Two interesting features of the shopping block is the commemoration foundation stone, dated April 29th 1960, laid above the subway at the eastern end on behalf of the Murryfield Real Estate Company and the 314 foot long mosaic mural by the artist William Gordon above units 5 - 20. The mural was reputed to be one of the longest in the country but was later replaced in the mid 1990s by the present 'Timeline' one.

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Lourdes Hall in Whitmore Way, Fryerns officially opened. The multifunctional hall, which was built on behalf of the Catholic Church, was also licensed and for many years the home of St. Basil's Catholic Social Club. In the mid 2000s the Catholic Church sold the site to a property developer who demolished the hall in 2006. Planning permission was eventually granted for a residential development of 17 houses.

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A petrol filling station at Whitmore Way, Fryerns opened. The garage, located next to the future Double Six public house, is run by Holmes and Smith who would later open another in Great Oaks. In 1961 a vehicle repair garage on the same site was completed. Years later the petrol station was closed for a number of years but reopened sometime in the 1990s under the Jet brand, though not the repair garage, and has remained open ever since. It is now a Murco petrol station with Costcutter Express foodstore. A car wash also operates on the same site.

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The first houses on the Kingswood 3 estate off Sparrows Herne are offered for sale. The estate was built on behalf of Basildon Development Corporation and comprised around 300 homes arranged around turnings named after birds. A three bedroomed house was on offer for £2,695 with four bedroomed properties selling for £2,945. All had central heating. Prospective buyers could sample their layout at a show home, opened in Sparrows Herne.

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Work begins on the Lee Chapel South housing area No.4. It comprises 505 dwellings of mainly two and three bedroomed houses, flats and 129 garages. The new estate was designed on behalf of Basildon Development Corporation by the architects Atkinson, Smith and Heywood. Its cost was put at £945,727. The development, which included the continuation of Great Gregorie, introduced new street names Ardleigh, Lee Walk, Staneway and Paprills.

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16th January

Pitsea and Basildon Congregational Church Hall and Manse officially opened. Built at Honeypot Lane at the junction with Whitmore Way, the new church hall and manse cost nearly £18,000 of which part was raised through the sale of their previous building in Rectory Park Drive, Pitsea. Officiating at the opening service was newly appointed minister Rev. E.W. Southey. The hall was multi-functional sharing the church's social activites with services. In 1972 a union between the Congregational Church in England and Wales and the Presbyterian Church of England resulted in the formation of the United Reformed Church which it remains today.

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4th March

H.R.H. Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh visits Basildon to officially switch on a new piece of automated machinery at the new Carreras Rothmans cigarette making factory in Christopher Martin Road on the Nevendon Industrial Estate No.1. The duke piloted his own helicopter and was met by the Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Sir John Archibald Ruggles-Brise. After switching on the machine - an automated, pneumatic tobacco feed system - he left the factory for a tour of Basildon town centre with Basildon Development Corporation Chairman Sir Humfrey Gale.

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15th March

Keay House in Town Square, Basildon opened. The office block, named after the 1st Chairman of Basildon Development Corporation, Sir Lancelot Keay, is located at 88 Town Square in three storeys above shop units 78-104. It became home to various solicitors and there has been a dental practice there since 1960. For many years Basildon Council had some departments there which would later relocate to the Basildon Centre. A Town Square regeneration project; begun in 1996 to create a more open plaza, involved the demolition of part of Keay House that overhung the square. This also involved the removal or destruction of the west facing coloured mosaic wall mural adorning an outer wall. This may still exist in one form or another. The building was then renamed Southgate House.

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29th March

Basildon Urban District Council vacate some of their departments in Billericay to Keay House, Town Square, Basildon. The Clerk's, Treasurer's and Engineer's departments made the move to Basildon where the council have occupation of the 2nd and 3rd floors of Block J in accomodation that includes a committee room. Some departments would remain there until the early 1990s.

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2nd April

Trinity Methodist Church in Timberlog Lane (now 481 Clay Hill Road), Vange opened. Services had previously been held at nearby Gordon Hall, when the New Town Methodist Church merged with the Free Church in 1954. Rev. Percy D. Beckwith, Chairman of the London N.E. District performed the service of dedication. A youth centre costing £25,000 was later built adjacent to the church, which opened around 1964.

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13th April

Laindon County Secondary School swimming pool opened. The open-air pool was built at a cost of around £4,000, part of which came from fund raising events held during the preceding years. Alderman William Bennett, C.B.E., Vice-Chairman of Essex County Council performed the opening duties. The pool was eventually roofed over in 1972 and survived to closure of the school (as James Hornsby High) in 2000. It was then demolished along with the rest of the school in 2007.

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September

The first new library to be built and opened is Fryerns in Whitmore Way.

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September

Fryerns Community Centre in Whitmore Way opened.

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September

The first bus service to be routed through Long Riding in the Barstable area of Basildon introduced. The new twice hourly (peak time) service, numbered 241 and operated by Eastern National Omnibus Company, ran from Pitsea railway station to Basildon town centre via Vange and Timberlog Lane. In 1966 the service was extended at each end with most services now beginning at Kenneth Road, Pitsea (some morning services still terminated/started at Pitsea Station) and continuing from Basildon town centre to Laindon Station via Ballards Walk, St. Nicholas Lane and High Road, Laindon to become the second Laindon - Pitsea cross town service after the 244. The buses used were double dekker rear entry Bristol KS5G and LD5G driver conductor models. These were all replaced by the 1970s with new Bristol VRT front entry models which dispensed with the conductor. Initially the service was controversial as some of the tenants felt the width of Long Riding to be insufficient for bus use and organised a petition in protest at its introduction. Despite that it ran until 1978 when a new 500 numbering series was introduced.

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September

Basildon Development Corporation's revised Master Plan to increase the population within the designated area from 80,000 to 106,000 is approved by Henry Brooke, MP, Minister at the Ministry of Housing and Local Government.

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17th October

Nevendon Service Station in Honywood Road, opened. The garage on opening sold Shell petrol and offered on-site car servicing. The garage also became an agent to the French car maker Renault.

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3rd December

Arne Court, Laindon, old people's sheltered accommodation opened. The new Council run complex off Holst Avenue was opened by the Council's chairman, Councillor W.H. Davies, J.P. The accommodation consists of a two storey block of 24 bed sitting rooms and a single storey block of 7 bed sitting rooms for aged couples - linked by a lounge and communal rooms with an upper floor warden flat.
The complex is now used as temporary housing for a wide variety of needs.

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1961

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York Shipley open a refrigeration plant at Gardiners Lane (later Gardiners Lane South) on the No.1 Industrial Estate at Nevendon. York Shipley, whose name originated from York, Pennsylvania, have since 1956 been part of the Borg-Warner International Group. Employing over 1000 people, including locals employed on the company's apprenticeship schemes, much of the workforce had relocated to Basildon from their North Circular Road factory in London, N.W.2. The factory, which occupies a twenty acre site, was later modernised around 1973/4 with an additional 66,950 square feet of floor space. An additional office building was also constructed at the Cranes Farm Road end. The plant eventually closed in 2006 and the site was completely cleared during 2007 to make way for a new for a new commercial development.

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Waterloo House shopping block at East Walk/South Gunnels in Basildon town centre completed. The three storey block of shops, forming even numbers 2 - 20 on the south side of East Walk and odd numbered 1 - 13 on the eastern side of South Gunnels, was under construction during 1960 being fully completed in early 1961. It was built by Richard Costain Ltd., who were responsible for a number of other town centre buildings. Some of the first traders to occupy the East Walk units were Barclays Bank at No. 2, Shepherd's Restaurant at No. 4, Timpson shoes at No. 6 and Bermans children's store at 14-20, and in South Gunnels: Martin's newagent at No. 1 and Toni's ice cream parlour at No. 5. It was designed by architects J. Seymour Harris and Partners and has a foundation stone set in the rear wall laid on April 29th 1960 by Mrs Walter Flack representing Murryfield Real Estate Company Ltd. An interesting feature is an elevated projection above No.4 which was a restaurant until being taken over by Barclays Bank in the 1970s. It was later removed during an extensive renovation of the outer building culminating in the 'grand opening' of a Metro Bank on Friday 21st November 2014.

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The first tenants move into properties on Phase 1A/3A of the Lee Chapel North housing development. The development corporation properties, comprising flats and two, three and four bedroomed houses, are at Hempstalls, Wickhay, Cressells, Panadown, Delimands, Long Lynderswood, 2-14 Little Lullaway and the eastern end of Great Knightleys, which with Ballards Walk would become the primary spine roads for the whole estate. The remainder of the estate, which included a small experimental development of Siporex properties, was completed by 1964. The area prior to development was largely populated with sub standard properties built on plots sold off in the 1920s and 1930s. Work on clearing the estate of these properties was largely completed by the late 1950s with the exception of around 11 bungalows, some of which like the Samaritans headquarters, remain today.

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J.H. Rawley plant hire business established. The Laindon based family run business, specialising in hiring out mechanical and electrial plant, scaffolding and tools to the building trade, was founded by Jim Rawley and his son Colin and initially run from their builders yard at 77-81 Pound Lane. Jim Rawley was already well known locally as a builder and contractor and from 13/02/1963 the business was incorporated as J.H. Rawley (Plant Hire) Ltd. and later in 1968 were one of the first businesses to move into brand new premises on the then under construction Laindon Industrial Estate at Durham Road. Two shops were also later opened, using the Hireco name, at 133A Nevendon Road, Wickford and 74 High Road, Laindon, which would survive until around 1986. Their plant was a regular sight around the towns' building sites during the construction of the many housing projects then being undertaken by contractors on behalf of Basildon Development Corporation. The company is now known as Rawley Group Ltd, having had a change of direction in the early 2000s, and now concentrates on Site Accommodation and Event Toilet Hire. In 2004 they moved to again, though still within Basildon, to Rawley House, Harvey Road on the Burnt Mills industrial area.

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Riverside Farm at Vange is destroyed by fire. The farm stood off Wharf Lane on the south side of the London, Tilbury & Southend Railway's Tilbury route. It had recently been purchased by Basildon Development Corporation who had plans to convert it for recreational use. The farmhouse was said to be 16th century and previously known as Merricks Farm. Vange swimming pool, which was closed in the early 1950s, stood within its grounds, part of which bordered Vange Creek. Following the arrival of the railway in 1855 access was from an unmanned level crossing, which during the life of the swimming pool claimed the life of one of its users. The site was later sold to a timber company called Churchill Johnson which had its business adjacent to the farm at Vange Wharf.

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Lee Chapel County Infant and Junior School in The Knares, Lee Chapel South, opened. Miss Sylvia Lowing is appointed Headmistress of the infant school and remains in charge until April 1981. Mr W.H. Bell is appointed Headmaster of the junior school. In 1981 the two schools merged to become Lee Chapel Primary which it remains today. Part of the original school building is now occupied by the South West Area Education Office.

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Broadmayne A1321, Basildon to the outskirts of Pitsea feeder road completed. The road, known as Road 2 on the development corporation's 'Master Plan' for Basildon, had been constructed in two phases. Phase I was completed as a single carriageway in the 1950s between the Southernhay/Ghyllgrove junction and the East Mayne roundabout, and this phase, which was duel carriage throughtout, connected to Roundacre roundabout to complete the project.

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Fairhouse County Junior School in Long Riding, Barstable opened. Miss P.M.B. Green is the first appointed Headmistress. The school was later known as Fairhouse Community Infant & Junior School until September 2016 when the two schools amalgamated to became Fairhouse Primary.

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The Staneway railway overbridge linking Laindon Link with Lee Chapel South opened to traffic. Work began on the bridge, officially designated 83A over the British Railways run Fenchurch Street to Shoeburyness rail route, began in September 1959 and is the first new one to cross the line since the new towns inception. It is built from reinforced concrete to a special design with electric heating to reduce the effects of winter and other considerations given the ongoing electrification work being undertaken at the time. Its underside has the date 1961 inscribed into the concrete. An unmanned occupation crossing at Green Lane had its 'right of way' extinguished around this time. Work on Phase II of the continuation of Staneway (Road 35) beyond The Knares junction to provide a direct feeder link to the High Road at Langdon Hills was completed in 1966. From the 1990s the bridge crossing became the starting point for a new road called Mandeville Way.

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The Bull public house demolished. This pub and building dated from the 19th century and stood in Bull Road, Vange (later renamed Clay Hill Road in 1963) and run by brewers Mann, Crossman and Paulin. It was replaced by a new public house, also called The Bull and run by the same brewery company which was built about 50 yards to the east on the corner of the new junction with Timberlog Lane.

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Mopsies Park Recreation Ground at Hockley Road, Barstable completed. The park, which covers around 11 acres, is owned and maintained by Basildon District Council having been transferred by the development corporation around 1958 when it was just field. It was laid out in two phases. The first, which included recreation facilities and children's play equipment, was completed the previous year while the remainder of the land, comprising playing field, was levelled and seeded in preparation for use this year.

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2nd February

F.W. Woolworth & Co Ltd. open a shop at 23 Town Square, Basildon. Prior to opening, from 1958 the chain store, later branded as Woolworths, offered its goods in a self-service mobile shop adapted from a London County single dekker bus, painted red and often parked in Market Square. In the 1970s a stairway at the rear of the shop was built to link the store with the new multi-storey car park. In 2008 with the country in recession Woolworths went into administration and the store closed for business on Saturday 27th December, 2008. The shop was then divided into two units with Poundland relocating from 50-52 Town Square into the larger of the two in 2009.

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25th March

The Mecca Ltd. run Locarno Ballroom in Blenheim House, Market Pavement, Basildon opens. With a standing capacity of around 850 the venue quickly establishes itself on the live entertainment circuit with bands like The Who, Hermans Hermits, The Kinks, Manfred Mann, The Move and the Dave Clark Five, who had a weekly Sunday residence for much of 1963, all playing there. From 1970 the nightclub was renamed Tiffany's through to April 1974 when it re-opened as Raquels where in 1981 Basildon's own Depeche Mode made two appearances. It closed as Club Uropa in January 1998.

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30th March

Ghyllgrove neighbourhood sub-centre completed. The small sub-centre at Butneys comprising two shops with upper flat accommodation were built by the development corporation to serve the Ghyllgrove I, II and III housing developments, currently ongoing. Shead's newsagent and confectioner and Rowe's grocery store are the first traders to open in numbers 1 and 3 respectively.

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April

Basildon bus station in Cherrydown (now Cherrydown East) is formally opened. The old depot at Bull Road, Vange is demolished to make way for the new neighbourhood shopping centre redevelopment.

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18th April

The 12:25 pm Fenchurch Street to Shoeburyness rail service was derailed between Laindon and Pitsea resulting in two fatalities and injuries to forty six others. The eleven coach train carrying around 150 passengers and hauled by a Class 'B' steam tank locomotive was travelling on the Up line in the Down direction when it derailed about 1000 yards from Pitsea station. The locomotive, No. 80075, was left on its side and four of the eleven carriages also left the track during the accident, which occurred at 1:34 pm during a period of single line operation necessitated by ongoing engineering work to convert the line to overhead electrification.

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23rd April

Population Census for Basildon district; 48,047.

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25th May

Mrs Christina Gadsdon, J.P., becomes the first elected woman to serve as Chairman of Basildon Urban District Council. Mrs Gadsdon, who moved to Wickford in 1937, became a conservative councillor in 1955 representing the No.2 Ramsden/Wickford Ward. She had served as Vice-Chairman for the previous two years and replaces former conservative councillor W.H. Davies, who lost his seat during the previous local elections held on May 13th. Of the votes cast she received 18, 11 more than challenger and labour leader, Cllr Alf Dove.

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3rd August

A temporary Police Station was opened on land adjacent to the present building in Great Oaks. The beat house at Arterial Road, Nevendon was closed and amalgamated with the Basildon section here. Later, on 26th March 1963, Pitsea's administrative staff would transfer here during construction of the new headquarters.

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19th September

The first traffic lights in Basildon become operational at the Broadmayne junction with Southernhay and Ghyllgrove. For the early years of Broadmayne's existence the road terminated at a T-junction which was then extended and duelled to join Roundacre roundabout. The lights were installed at the completion of the extension, which also included a pedestrian subway to the Ghyllgrove neighbourhood and a short length of road that merged with the existing single carriageway in the direction of Pitsea. The lights remain in operation to this day.

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October

Langdon Hills Army Camp regiment to leave. The regiment, 7th A.G.R.A. (A.A.) (Anti Aircraft) (Army Group Royal Artillery), were formed in November 1955 and had been established at Langdon Hills for about four years but were moving to new headquarters at B.A.O.R. (British Army of the Rhine) barracks in Gütersloh, Germany. The Anti Aircraft unit were also redesignated 7th Artillery Brigade (A.A.) on 4th October as part of the move. Brigade Major A.G.I. Wells thought it likely another unit would move to the Old Church Hill camp, which was established in the early 1940s during the Second World War.

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October

The new Bull public house in Bull Road (now Clay Hill Road), Basildon opened. Arthur and Teresa Goldstone are the first licencees having previously lived in the 'old' Bull just yards away. It was built on behalf of brewers Mann, Crossman and Paulin who positioned a large 'Manns' sign on an outer wall. The new Bull has two bars and an off licence. Live entertainment on the saloon bar's stage was a regular feature for many years. It remained open until 1998 by which time it had been renamed The Powerhouse. After remaining empty for a number of years the building and adjoining car park, (believed to be subject to a covenant), was fenced off and demolished in August/September 2002 and replaced with a residential development of flats.

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1st October

The Commission for the New Towns (CNT) established under provisions in Part II of the New Towns Act, 1959. The commission was created as a successor to the new town development corporations and undertook all responsibilities for the management of housing stock and other assets, including disposal. They were wound up in May 1999 following a merge with the corporate functions of the Urban Regeneration Agency, out of which saw the creation of English Partnerships.

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6th November

Following British Railways electrification of the London, Tilbury & Southend railway line, the first electric trains (class 302) begin running on off peak services. These new trains operating on a 25k V ac overhead power system would very soon replace all steam powered services; signalling the end of over 100 years of steam services on this line.

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1st December

Homes for Today and Tomorrow a report of a Sub-committee of the Central Housing Advisory Committee published. The report, which set out minimum living space requirements for new build homes, would lead to the Parker Morris standards, later implemented by the development corporation in 1967 and all local authorities from 1969.

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1962

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The first shops open at Kibcaps, off The Knares at the Lee Chapel South neighbourhood centre. Cottis bakers at No. 3, Smith Bros, newsagent at No. 7, Vic Sanders dispencing chemist at No. 1 and Townsend greengrocers and florist at No. 6 were some of the first to open.

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The Double Six public house in Whitmore Way, Fryerns opened. In the 1980s it became the Flying Childers but later reverted back to its original name which it remained until closure in the early 2000s. In 2003 the pub was demolished and the land sold for a new residential development of flats.

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The first tenants move into properties on the Ghyllgrove 3 housing development. The new 300 home estate off the Gore comprising Brempsons, Rokells and Roodegate was constructed to a flat roof design on land originally designated for Gloucester Park. The development, containing a mixture of two and three storey homes and flats, was designed and built on behalf of Basildon Development Corporation but unfortunately soon after completion many of the properties suffered leaking roofs which had to be replaced costing the Corporation £80,000. As a result of this a Ministry of Housing design award, presented in 1963, was later withdrawn. This development would be the last housing development in Ghyllgrove until the 2010s when work began on a new housing estate called Acacia Park.

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The first factories on the No. 2 Industrial Estate at Pipps Hill reach completion. Constructed on a 114 acre site off Cranes Farm Road, the new estate was designed to provide a mixture of large sites for established companys seeking to relocate from London and smaller industrial units to attract small businesses. Among the first businesses to move in are kitchenware manufacturer Spong, who relocated from South Totenham, and petrol pump designer and manufacturer Gilbarco. The site was built over former residential properties and farmland in Basildon Road, of which three quarters of its original length was lost in the estate's creation. The new street names introduced comprising: Bentalls, Chester Hall Lane, Crompton Close, Howard Chase, Luckyn Lane, Miles Gray Road and Winstanley Way, were named after inventors or industrial engineers.

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Spong & Co. Limited open a kitchenware manufacturing factory at Crompton Close on the No. 2 Industrial Estate (now Pipps Hill), Basildon. The company, founded by James Osborn Spong in 1856, is a leading manufacturer of kitchen utencils and wire works, from which mincing machines are perhaps their most recognized product. The new factory, employing over 200 workers, has around 70,000 square feet of floor space and is one of the first to open on the partially completed No.2 industrial estate. It replaces the companys former home at Woodville Grove, South Tottenham, London, which had been considered too small for future expansion. In 1970 the production area was increased by 50% but by 1980, the company, still being run by descendants of the founder, began to sell off parts of the brand resulting in the eventual closure and sale of the Basildon site later in the same decade. A small area of the business involving the production of filters for car engines did survive for a time after the company, which had become Spong Holdings plc, was rebranded as Lion Heart plc and relocated to Repton Close on the Burnt Mills Industrial Estate. The Crompton Close factory site, the front of which has offices on two storeys, is now addressed as The Gloucesters and sub divided into separate business units. Those trading there now include the Jet hairdressing academy at No.1, accessed from the main front entrance.

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Petrol pump maintenance and suppliers Gilbarco Ltd. open a factory at Crompton Close on the No.2 Industrial Estate. Founded by Charles Gilbert and John Barker, the company became Gilbarco in 1929 supplying fuel equipment throughtout the world. In 1987 the company was acquired by GEC but following another acquisition in 2002 by the Danaher Corporation is now known as Gilbarco Veeder-Root.

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Barton's the Bakers open a new bakery at Paycocke Road on the No.1 industrial estate at Nevendon. The bakery chain, which is named after its founder and registered as W.J. Barton Ltd, had been supplying Essex since the 1940s from its headquarters at Kemp Road, Dagenham. The company soon established nine shops within the town; these being at Basildon town centre (3), Fryerns (2), and one each at Barstable, Laindon, Lee Chapel North and Pitsea. The site included a large distribution and storage depot with up to 80+ delivery vehicles. The bakery and shops survived until around the late 1980s when the company ceased trading. The Paycocke Road site was later redeveloped and now called Bakers Court in recognition of the former bakery.

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The Commodore public house in Timberlog Lane, Barstable opened. The pub, which opened as a Free House, later became part of the Mann, Crossman & Paulin brewery chain. Among its attractions is an air conditioned restaurant and live entertainment in the form of Saturday dinner dances. For many years large Manns letters adorned the public bar's upper outer wooden facia cladding later being replaced with a large circular Watney Combe Reid sign. The Commodore closed in the 1990s and was replaced with a residential development of flats named Commodore House, after the former public house.

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Ingaway Chapel in Ingaway, Lee Chapel South opened. The chapel was built to replace the undenominational Ebenezer Gospel Hall which formerly stood in Elizabeth Drive (now Wickhay), Lee Chapel (now Lee Chapel North) and to which had been issued a Basildon Development Corporation compulsory purchase order prior to the creation of the Lee Chapel North housing development. In the 2000s the chapel became Ingaway Evangelical Church.

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Basildon Bowling Alley opened. The 26 lane ten pin bowling alley at Southernhay in the town centre is run by TransWorld Bowling and called Basildon Bowl. Interior features included a cafe, juke box and licensed club room. B.D.C. Chairman, Sir Humfrey Gale carried out the opening ceremony. By 1965 it had became Ambassador Bowl, but later in June 1975 was taken over by Basildon Council, reduced to 10 lanes, and renamed to Basildon Bowl again. The remainder of the building was refurbished and taken over by Coral Social Clubs Ltd. for use as a bingo hall. During the 1980s the facility closed and the bingo hall was extended to encompass the remainder of the building. It is still a bingo hall and now called Gala.

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January

Fairhouse County Infant School in Long Riding, Barstable opened. Mrs C.M. Kirby is the first appointed Headteacher. The new school, which takes its name from a former farm that once stood in the area, shares the site with the neighbouring Fairhouse Junior School. In the 1990s the school's name changed to Fairhouse Community Infant School, which it remained until September 2016 when the school amalgamated with the junior school to become Fairhouse Primary School.

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January

Springfield County Infant and Junior School in Honeypot Lane, Fryerns opened. The school was built as a temporary one and closed in the 1980s. The first Headmaster of the junior school is Mr. K.H. Duckworth and Mrs. F. Patis is the first Headmistress of the infant school. The school was demolished soon after closure. The site remained empty for a number of years until the 1990s when an older persons residential development called Ghyllgrove Close was built.

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February

Barstable Grammar and Technical School in Timberlog Lane (now Timberlog Close) opened. The new school for 750 pupils was the second and last grammar school to open in the new town. Work on the new school began in June 1960 and would include a swimming pool and sixth form accommodation. The first Headmaster was Mr. Geoffrey Whitehead. In September 1968, following the reorganisation of local education, the school merged with nearby Timberlog Secondary Modern to become Barstable Comprehensive. Following the merger the Timberlog building became the lower school until the original Barstable site was enlarged, allowing the lower school to be sold off for a housing development towards the late 1990s. On 30th March, 1993 the main block became a Grade II listed building. In 2005 the school became Federated with Chalvedon and from 1st September, 2009 the school was renamed Basildon Lower Academy and accommodating students between the ages 11-14.

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4th March

Howard's Dairies Ltd. open a milk distribution depot at Southernhay (later Bluehouses and now Time Square), in Basildon Town Centre. The new depot is the latest undertaking for the company, established in the early 20th century by the late Essex farmer and landowner Harold George Howard, that includeds a chain of shops at Laindon, Langdon Hills, Pitsea, Vange and various neighbourhood centres within the new town. It was later taken over by Unigate Dairy and is now operated by Dairy Crest Limited. The name Bluehouses may have been taken from the Laindon and Pitsea farmsteads, one of which, Pitsea, had been the home of Mr. Howard and both noted as local milk producers.

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15th March

Basildon Fire Station in Great Oaks officially opened. Chairman of Essex County Council, Alderman George F. Chaplin, C.B.E., J.P., conducted the ceremony. Also in attendance was local U.D. Council Chairman, Mrs. Christina Gadsdon, J.P., and representatives of the development corporation. The Essex County Fire Brigade station was built at a cost of around £50,000 and manned by nearly 40 fireman. A new fire engine with turntable ladder was also provided. The station had become operational from 8th December 1961 when the Laindon building was formally closed and the appliances transferred to Basildon.

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15th June

The last steam train to run between London and Southend was the 18:10 Fenchurch Street to Thorpe Bay service.

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18th June

All services on the London, Tilbury & Southend railway are now solely operated by electric trains following the withdrawal of steam locomotion.

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23rd June

Southend Motor & Aero Co. Ltd. open a vehicle service station at Southernhay in Basildon. The Southend based company known by its initials S.M.A.C. established an Austin / Morris dealership (British Motor Corporation) car showroom, workshop and Mobil petrol filling station. In 1989 the SMAC group was acquired by leading car dealership operators Lookers, who sold Austin Rover models, but eventually closed the site, including the petrol station, when the brand ceased to make models in the late 1990s. The site then became Motor Market selling second hand vehicles until that too closed around the early 2000s leaving the site empty for a number of years. A property developer eventually bought the site and erected a nine storey block of luxury flats called The Icon, which was completed in 2008.

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7th July

The Mother and Child water fountain sculpture in Town Square, Basildon unveiled. It was commissioned in 1959 by the Development Corporation to symbolise the growth of Basildon as a New Town. The design was by Paris born sculptor Maurice Lambert R.A. (25/06/1901 - 17/08/1964) and finished in bronze. It was later adopted in 1974 as the symbol to represent Basildon Council and now has Grade II listed status.

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7th July

14 Storey, 84 flats, residential tower block, Brooke House in North Gunnels, Basildon Town Centre opened. It was named after then Conservative Minister for Housing, Henry Brooke, MP., (09/04/1903 - 29/03/1984), and stands 161 feet tall and 48ft wide. It is supported by sixteen, twenty seven feet high, V-shaped angled stilted reinforced concrete columns (in pairs of two) which merge together to form eight piloti at ground level each continuing on to a 45 feet pile foundation. The accommodation features four single-bedroom and two double-bedroom flats to each floor, all with underfloor heating, a basement garage for 53 cars and two high speed lifts. It was designed by Anthony B. Davies, A.A. Dipl., A.R.I.B.A., Chief Architect and Planner to Basildon Development Corporation, (consulting adviser: Sir Basil Urwin Spence, (13/08/1907 - 19/11/1976)), in a Modernist style and constructed by Holland, Hannen and Cubbitts at a cost of £283,000. The structural engineers were London based Arup and Partners (Ove N. Arup etc.). Sir John Ruggles-Brise, Lord Lieutenant of Essex performed the opening ceremony. Three shop units numbered 29, 31 and 33 Town Square, also formed part of the overall development, then known as Block K3, and completed by the same construction company. On 22nd December 1998 Brooke House was given Grade II listed building status by English Heritage.

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September

Lee Chapel South Community Hall in The Knares opened. The new hall proved very popular with varied entertainment for everyone including a childrens' Saturday morning film club and Child Welfare Centre sessions.

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1st September

Ghyllgrove County Junior School in The Gore, opened. The first appointed Headmaster was Mr. Eric Rand, who previously held the post at Laindon Park Primary School. The school is now known as Ghyllgrove Community Infant and Junior School.

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17th September

Cranes Farm Road is opened to through traffic. The new 'feeder' road linking Upper Mayne with Nevendon Road (now East Mayne) was built to serve the two industrial estates and the future tractor plant site. The first section to Gardiners Lane (now Gardiners Lane South), part of which took over the course of the former Basildon Road, Nevendon, had been completed in 1959 as a single carriageway, though the final section linking to the Upper Mayne roundabout is mainly duelled. The road, identified as 'Road 6' on Basildon Development Corporation's area plan and later designated A1235, took its name from the former farm which stood at its eastern end and was lost in the creation of the Cranes housing estate in Fryerns.

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26th September

The first tenants move into Brooke House tower block in Basildon town centre. Myles and Janette Godfrey are the first to occupy the block at No.53 in a two bedroomed flat. Mr Godfrey is the son of the Godfrey chemist chain founder.

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October

An experimental housing scheme involving 18 homes began at Knights on the Lee Chapel North 4B housing development. The system built homes, numbered 9-25 (odd) and 28-44 (even), were designed by the chief architect planner to Basildon Development Corporation, Anthony B. Davies, A.R.I.B.A., as a pilot scheme involving a new swedish developed building material called Siporex. The homes were assembled on-site using grey pre-cast sections manufactured in Scotland by the Costain Concrete Co. Ltd, a subsidairy of Richard Costain the main contractor employed in their construction. The small estate was completed in August 1963 and in the following year work commenced on the main project; the 950 home Laindon 1, 2 and 3 estate, which was built to the same methods. Years later in the 1990s the Knights doctor's surgery was established at No.32.

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November

St. Nicholas Lane (Road 26) extension and road upgrade commences. The road scheme had been submitted to the Ministry of Transport earlier in the year as being necessary to link the new Upper Mayne roundabout with High Road, Laindon. The cost was put at £219,000 and would change the road from a single lane into a three lane carriageway with footpaths on either side. The extension to St. Nicholas Lane, which had previously run from Basildon Road to High Road, Laindon past St. Nicholas Church (this section since being renamed Church Hill), was built over the length of Church Avenue, which was residential and required the demolition of around 23 properties. The road when completed included two new junctions: Ballards Walk and Leinster Road, which both served the ongoing housing development at Lee Chapel North and Laindon. The footpath to the north side of St. Nicholas Lane was never fully completed; finishing at one end at Church Hill with a short section added at the eastern end in the late 1990s when the Basilica building was constructed.

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10th November

Church of St. Martin-le-Tours in Pagel Mead, Basildon officially opened. The Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt. Rev. John Tiarks, conducted the consecration service. It was designed by Billericay architect Trena Cotton and cost £40,000 to build. A foundation stone had earlier been laid on 15/10/1960 by then Chairman of Basildon Development Corporation, Lt Gen. Sir Humfrey Gale. Pagel Mead was later renamed St. Martin's Square.

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16th November

The Van Gogh public house opened. Situated in Paycocke Road on the Nevendon Industrial Estate the new public house and restaurant is unusual in that is on the first floor above lower business premises. Film, radio and television star Richard "Stinker" Murdoch was amongst the guests on the opening night. It is named in part after the 19th century dutch painter Vincent Willem van Gogh. Live entertainment was a regular feature which peaked in the late 1970s with a weekly Thursday evening promotion called "Upstairs at Turkans". Future stars Alison Moyet and Martin Gore were regulars in their respective bands, namely The Vandals and Norman and the Worms. The first proprietor of the new Free House is Mr. Johnny Blake who also serves as a town councillor for the Barstable Ward. From around 1984 the venue went through a succession of names begining with The Factory (Discotheque) which then became Hats Nightclub followed in the 1990s by Monroes and finally Piccadilly Night Club to closure around the early 2000s.

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11th December

Southend Waterworks Company open a new reservoir at Staneway, Lee Chapel South. The covered reservoir, located off the course of the former Green Lane, was the first of two in the area, the second being built on an adjacent field in the early 1990s, and is now owned and operated by Essex and Suffolk Water.

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1963

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Shops at the Bull Parade neighbourhood centre at Clay Hill Road, Vange begin opening. The 8 shop units comprising odd numbers 453 to 467 Clay Hill Road were built by Basildon Development Corporation to serve the ongoing housing developments in the Vange area. Work commenced on the single storey block of 7 units and one detached to the rear of the main development the previous year on a site adjacent to the Bull public house, which had been rebuilt on a new site in 1961. Among the first to open were Seely butchers at No. 459, Beaumont's newsagent at No. 461 and R.L. Statham greengrocer and fruiterer at No. 457. The new shops replaced a small row of 5 shops in the former Bull Road (now clay Hill Road) which had previously served the area from at least the 1940s.

 

The number of councillors elected to serve on Basildon Council is increased from 28 to 29. (County of Essex (Basildon Urban District - Number of Councillors) Order, 1963). The additional councillor - when elected - will represent the Central Ward. The proposal was carried at a council meeting held on 2nd August, 1962.

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Cranes Farm Road pedestrian bridge opened. The bridge linking Honeypot Lane in Ghyllgrove to the Cranes Farm Road cycle path routes was built primarily for cyclists working at either of the two industrial estates. It was later removed and replaced with a subway, which still exists today.

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Bull Road, Vange and the southern section of Timberlog Lane between Basildon Bridge (Gales Corner) and the junction with High Road/London Road, Vange is renamed Clay Hill Road. Clay Hill Road prior to the change had ended at the junction with Church Road. The move was not without controversy as it necessitated changes to the existing numbering sequence in Clay Hill Road which was not only reversed but also changed from odds to even.

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Basildon Boys Club founded. The clubs' headquarters in Fairview Road was built at a cost of £10,000 and formally opened by the local MP. Edward Gardner, QC., on 7th January 1964. Table tennis, billiards and boxing equipment were some of the activities available at the new hall which was also used by the Basildon Drum and Trumpet Corps for their rehearsals. The club is still active though now based at Barleylands where football has become their predominant activity.

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Her Majesty's Stationary Office, (H.M.S.O.) in The Gore, Basildon opened. The new offices and block was constructed by Richard Costain Ltd. Prior to opening from around 1958 the office had been at Bowlers Croft on the Nevendon industrial estate. Around 1987 the office relocated, though still within Basildon, to Luckyn Lane on the Pipps Hill industrial estate. The Gore address was later renamed Regent House and became home to Basildon Jobcentre, Unemployment Benefit and a government H.M. Customs and Excise (HMCE) department until 2016. There are plans to convert the building to residential flats.

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The Owl and Pussycat public house in Clay Hill Road opened. The new public house and off licence was built alongside the neighbourhood centre and serves the Kingswood area of Basildon. In the 1980s it was renamed Lears after the English artist, author and poet Edward Lear (12/05/1812 – 29/01/1888) who in 1871 published a nonsense poem called The Owl and the Pussycat from whose title the pubs original name derives. The change though was shortlived and the pub reverted back to its original name.

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The Basildon Players amateur dramatics group formed. Still active today, their roots can be traced back to the Langdon Players. Founder member Jack Lockheart later became chairman in 1970.

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The first Essex County Council run Day Nursery opened. Situated behind the main Fryerns shopping centre off Church Road, the new nursery building cost £25,000 and has places for up to 50 children under the age of five, supervised by 14 members of staff.

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7th January

Great Oaks Service Station in Great Oaks, Basildon opened. The new petrol filling station, vehicle service centre and car showroom was operated by Holmes & Smith as a Basildon division of the main business based at London Road, Southend-on-Sea. The company, which was also a main dealer to the Rootes Group (Hillman, Humber, Sunbeam) and later Chrysler organisation, would remain at Great Oaks until the 1980s. They also operated a second garage at Whitmore Way offering similiar facilities.

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February

Roundacre Service Station in Nether Mayne, Basildon completed. The new petrol filling station, vehicle service centre and car showroom was initially run by Southend Motor and Aero Company who sold second hand cars and new Austin and other B.M.C. models. It was later taken over by Normand Garages Ltd. who were a main dealer of Vauxhall / Bedford models. In the 1980s the workshops and car showrooms were demolished to create a larger forecourt which now includes a car wash and a larger payment kiosk which doubles as a food convenience store. It is now one of only two petrol stations in the main town centre area and run by BP.

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9th March

Mundy House, residential care home for the aged and infirm, at Church Road, Fryerns is officially opened. The Essex County Council run retirement home is set in two acres of extensive grounds and has accommodation for around sixty people. It took in its first residents in 1962 and has a permanent on-site warden. Government Health Minister, Enoch Powell, MP., was the guest of honour at the opening ceremony. It is named after Edgar Arthur Mundy who lived at Hadleigh and served for years as an Essex County Councillor and County Alderman.

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23rd May

Holy Trinity Catholic Church Hall at Long Lynderswood, Lee Chapel North, Basildon opened. The new building, for use as a temporary church with seating for 300 and built at a cost of around £14,000, is situated on the fringe of Lee Chapel North adjacent to Long Lynderswood. The Bishop of Brentwood, Bernard Patrick Wall officiated the dedication service and the Very Rev. Canon Michael John Mckenna took the first Mass service. A regular Sunday service began in May, having previously been held at Kingswood community hall, and this lasted through to 1972 when a new church hall was built in nearby Wickhay. In 1980, and on the same site, a new church and presbytery was completed and now called the Most Holy Trinity. The former church hall at Roundacre remained unused for a number of years and suffered neglect and vandalism and possible demolition before being taken over by Basildon Council and renamed Roundacre Youth House. During this time it was used as an entertainment venue for live bands, stage productions, youth disco's and various other activities. It closed during the 2010s, having become S.P.A.C.E. for young people, and was demolished during October 2017 when the site was acquired by Basildon Council as a potential site for a residential block of flats.

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29th May

Basildon Swimming Club founded. Basildon Sports Council initiated an inaurgural public meeting at Timberlog County Secondary School where An Acting Committee was formed. Gwyn Thomas was appointed Acting Chairman and membership, although small on the night within three weeks and further public meetings had risen to over a hundred. The sports council also gifted the club with £5 to assist with initial administrative expenses. From 1968 the club were based at Gloucester Park swimming pool until it closed in 2011. In 2010 they amalgamated with another Basildon swimming club called Phoenix to become Basildon & Phoenix Swimming Club. The club is now based at the Basildon Sporting Village in Gloucester Park, Basildon.

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29th June

Manor Junior School swimming pool opened. The new pool which was built at a cost of £1,300 has a depth of 3ft and was many years in the planning. 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games bronze medalist swimmer Elizabeth (Liz) Long was the special guest invited to perform the opening ceremony.

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2nd July

Craylands County Senior School swimming pool opened. The open-air pool, situated in the quadrangle, was opened by the Headmaster Mr. Edward Haynes. It still appeared to be in use in the late 1970s but at the time of the schools' closure had been filled in.

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3rd July

Basildon town centre Crown Post Office in East Square opened. The new purpose built building cost around £190,000 and was formally opened by the Assistant Postmaster General, Raymond Llewellyn Mawby, MP. The main building also initially housed Inland Revenue on three of its five floors. A temporary post office, located in an East Square shop unit, had prior to opening been in use from about 1960. The main Crown post office in High Road Laindon had been Basildon Head Post Office since 1954 and on opening reverted back to its original Laindon name.

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6th July

South Essex Motors service station opens in Cherrydown, Basildon. The Ford main dealer complex includes an Esso petrol station, car showroom, workshops and parts department. The dealership was later renamed Essex Ford. In the late 1960s a seven storey office block was added to the site. This new building remained unoccupied for many years until being given the name Essex House, and was home to among others Social Services, before being demolished in the late 1990s.

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7th September

Bowers United's new football ground at Gun Meadow, Bowers Gifford officially opened. The club, which was founded in 1946, had been forced to move from their previous home to the rear of the Railway Hotel, Pitsea, which was wanted by the development corporation for a town centre regeneration scheme. The move was announced the previous year and had involved a financial settlement of £1,000 to secure the location and pay for facilities. The club's President Roger Howard, son of the late Pitsea dairy farmer and landowner Harold Howard, was the special guest to cut the ribbon, after which a special match against a Basildon Football League XI took place, which Bowers went on to win 2-1.

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10th September

Nicholas County Secondary School in Leinster Road, Laindon opened. First Headmaster appointed is Mr John Goodier. An indoor swimming pool was a later addition, which opened on 1st October 1968, as was a long rectangular three story block, completed in the late 1960s. The school would survive in name to August 1998. After an extensive refurbishment programme the school reopened in September 2000 as the James Hornsby High School.

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26th September

The Castle Mayne public house opened. The new pub, sited at The Knares in Lee Chapel South, was designed by noted architect Ernest Brander Musman of Musman and Cousens. Its name originates from a crenallated farm house, occupied and in use as a dairy farm until the 1950s by Mrs. Mary Ellen Chattaway, that once stood close by. The opening ceremony was attended by members of the Whitbread Brewery Co. and the General Manager of Basildon Development Corporation, Charles Boniface, who unfurled a Union Jack to reveal the pub's forecourt sign. The brewery company chose the name from a number of suggestions submitted by Tom O'Connor, senior engineer of the development corporation. Incorporated within the building was an off-licence. The Lounge bar has a stage which regularly features live entertainment throughout the year.

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October

Shops at the Lee Chapel North neighbourhood centre at Ballards Walk completed. The 10 shop units comprising odd numbers 29 to 47 Ballards Walk were built by Basildon development Corporation to serve the then ongoing housing developments within the area. Work began on the 10 units, 9 of which are in a single row and the other being detached on a side approach walkway, earlier in the year with the first shops opening in November followed by others in December. Among the first to open were Peters Hair Fashions at No.29, Harrington the Butcher at No.35, a branch of Forbuoys newsagents at No.39 and Burles hardware and sub-post office at No.43. Wally Broughall shoe repairer was the first to occupy the detached shop at No.47, which in the 1980s became Adam's Fish Bar.

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December

Ghyllgrove Community Centre at Butneys, Basildon completed. Situated adjacent to the shops, the centre was provided by Basildon Development Corporation as a social centre for the new community, recently established at Ghyllgrove. The licensed building was later named the Barnet Centre and regularly features live entertainment and other social activities.

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2nd December

Basildon Police Station becomes operational. Located adjacent to Basildon town centre in Great Oaks, the rectangular three-storey block was built at a cost of £162,819 by construction company Richard Costain. Prior to its opening a small sub-station opened around 1960 in a bungalow at Church Road, Basildon followed by a wooden temporary single storey station, constructed c.1962 adjacent to the present site in Great Oaks. In 1967 all operations were centralised at Great Oaks following the closure of Laindon and Pitsea's stations. In 1984 a mobile police station was placed in Town Square adjacent to Market Pavement. It was later moved to the East Square steps where it remained until around 2007.

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1964

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Basildon Urban District Council transfer some of their departments to temporary demountable style buildings at Fodderwick in the town centre. The site, which was later expanded, would remain in council use until the 1990s when it was finally cleared for the Westgate Shopping Park development.

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Pitsea Congregational Church hall at Rectory Park Drive, Pitsea demolished. The church had fallen into a state of disrepair after being sold when a new building doubling as a church and hall along with a manse was built at Honey Pot Lane in Basildon in 1960.

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Television manufacturer and broadcasting company Rediffusion London Ltd. begin installing a cable and piped television service into all Basildon Development Corporation homes. This new 'aerial less' service utilised the basement of the town centre tower block Brooke House which also provided the necessary height for the aerials which were erected on the roof. The system was designed to eliminate the appearance of "unsightly" television aerials and thus giving the new housing estates a less cluttered look and was still being installed in new homes well into the 1980s. The system, which was relayed to a wall mounted channel selector box marked A to L, proved very popular being extended to Urban District Council tenants from 1967. The service also included BBC radio stations and, from 1978, Radio Basildon. The selector box choice was as follows: A-BBC1, B-BBC2, C-ITV (London), D-ITV (Anglia), E-G (BBC Radio (from 30/09/1967 Radio 2, 3 and 4)). By the late 1970s this had become A-Radio Basildon (later Sky 1 TV), B-BBC2, C-ITV (Southern) and from 1982-Channel 4, D-ITV (Thames + LWT), E-BBC1, F-ITV (Anglia), G-Radio 4, H-Radio 2 and I-Radio 3. In the late 1980s the service was taken over by Metro Cable followed around 1995 by CDA Communications, based at Bentalls, but by the early 2000s with the advent of underground cable networks, satellite communications and a relaxing of aerial rules had all but rendered the service obsolete.

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Land at Marsh Road, Pitsea purchased by Basildon District Council. The land was later used for tipping, water recreational purposes and light industry. It is now the site of Wat Tyler Country Park

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Basildon Urban District Council establish a nursery at Pound Lane, Laindon. The nursery site, of around three acres, had been acquired this year from a single land owner as a replacement for the council's former site at Selworthy Nursery, Kennel Lane, Billericay which was wanted by South Green Primary School for their new playing field. In the late 1990s the council closed the nursery and developed the land into a small housing estate built around Nursery Gardens.

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The Five Bells roundabout at Vange becomes operational. The existing course of the road, which forms part of the A13 route, was retained and a new Fobbing junction created off a new straight section linking London Road to Southend Road. By virtue of the two straight lengths the roundabout was oval in shape with an open water culvert running diagonallly through the majority of the centre land. In the early 1970s an additional junction was created when the A13 Vange and Pitsea bypass opened. Another A13 bypass completed in May 1993 saw the road re-routed west of the Five Bells from Morley Hill and an underpass and three smaller roundabouts were created which replaced the existing roundabout.

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The Play Leadership Scheme for children up to 14 introduced by Basildon Council. The first centre opened at Fryerns and soon sites at Ghyllgrove, Laindon and Wickford were operating. The schemes popularity later prompted the council to build permanent centres at Clay Hill Road (Kingswood), Laindon Link (Markhams Chase), Roodegate (Gloucester Park), Worthing Road (Laindon), Kent View Road (Vange) and Mill Green (Chalvedon). It continued to run well into the 1980s but was later replaced with a new Playweb children's holiday club scheme for those aged between 5 and 12.

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7th January

Basildon Boys' Club's headquarters in Fairview Road, Barstable officially opened. Work on the new headquarters began in May 1963 and was completed by around November at a cost of £10,000, largely by a volunteer workforce. Local MP, Edward Gardner, Q.C. performed the official opening duties on behalf of the club, which was founded the previous year. The new building, known as Pembury Hall, served the club for years along with the local community where it was available for hire to organisations and individuals. It was later destroyed by fire in November 2002, by which time its address had changed to Clayburn Circle. The site is now covered by three-storey blocks of residential flats called Pembury Place.

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15th February

Basildon Ambulance station in Great Oaks opens. The opening ceremony was performed by the Chairman of Basildon Council, Councillor Alf Dove. The station had previously been attached to the area clinic adjacent to Craylands County Secondary School in Timberlog Lane (later Craylands).

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29th February

Ford Motor Company open their new Tractor Plant factory in Cranes Farm Road on a 100 acre site. Tractor production began later in the year and the plant was officially opened on 27th April 1965. Its 125ft "onion" shaped water tower, holding 200,000 gallons, has since become a local landmark. Prior to opening, the company's Dagenham site had been home to tractor plant production since 1933. In 1986 following an amalgamation with Sperry New Holland the operation became Ford New Holland and from 1991 Fiat New Holland when Ford sold off the remaining interest in their tractor division. Today it is owned by Case-New Holland (CNH) after a business takeover of Case Corporation in 1999.

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20th March

Great Oaks Clinic in Great Oaks, Basildon Town Centre, opened. The purpose built Essex County Council run clinic is the first new permanent health facility to serve the new town. It replaces a health centre opened in February 1958 in temporary accommodation at 119-121 Honeypot Lane, Fryerns. Facilities at the new clinic include a dental surgery and child's play area.

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April

Basildon Central Library opens in Fodderwick. The new library provided by Essex County Council opened in a temporary building attached to other temporary demountable style buildings for use as offices by Basildon Council. Mr. N.D. Humphries was appointed as chief librarian. The library later moved to a new temporary detached building, also located in Fodderwick, before moving again, this time to a permanent location in the newly completed Basildon Centre in Pagel Mead (later St. Martin's Square) in 1989.

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1st April

Sir John Stuart Macpherson, G.C.M.G. succeeds Sir Humfrey Gale as Chairman of Basildon Development Corporation. Sir Humfrey retired on 31/03/1964.

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9th April

Basildon councillors hold their first meeting in the new temporary council chamber at Fodderwick in the town centre. Meetings were previously held at Keay House (later renamed Southgate House) in Town Square. Although temporary, this arrangement would last for 25 years to the opening of the Basildon Centre in 1989.

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April

The Plough and Tractor public house at 186 Great Knightleys, Lee Chapel North opened. In attendance at the official opening was Major A.G. Mann, managing director of the brewery company Mann, Crossman & Paulin. A large "Manns" sign adorned an outer wall for many years. It was built by J.M. Hill & Sons Ltd of either Wembley or Ampthill. Included in the design was a stage for live attractions, an upstairs 'Hayloft Bar', and an off licence, which later closed in the early 1980s. For a time in the 1980s the main saloon area was halved, creating an extra bar, and around 1987 the pub had a name change, becoming The Stores for a number of years into the early 1990s, but has since reverted back to its original name. Mr. & Mrs. Gerry and Joan Stovell were the first publicans.

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15th April

15th Century farmhouse Laindon Hall in Church Hill destroyed by fire. The building was empty at the time and listed on the Ministry of Works buildings of historic interest list.

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July

Douglas Galloway, R.I.B.A., succeeds Anthony B. Davies as Chief Architect Planner to Basildon Development Corporation. One of Anthony B. Davies lasting achievements was the construction of Basildon's highest building Brooke House, completed in 1962 and now Grade II listed. Douglas Galloway had joined the corporation eight years earlier and would go on to become one of its most significant employees.

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27th July

Prime Minister of the day, Sir Alec Douglas-Home visits Basildon town centre. He was escorted around the town by Council Chairman, Percy Saunders, local MP. Edward Gardner, Q.C. and Development Corporation Chairman, Sir John Macpherson.

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11th August

The Bull's Eye public house in Southernhay, Basildon opened. Run by brewers Cope's Taverns the pub features two ground level bars and an upper level ballroom capable of holding 250 people. The upper ballroom also doubles as a 200 seat dining hall. The upper level was later extended and the restaurant was run as a Mr Toby Carvery. The name of the pub was suggested by Norman Hack of St. Michael's Avenue, Pitsea who entered it in a name-that-pub competition held in March 1963 by brewer's Charrington and the Basildon Recorder newspaper. Around 1999 it was renamed The Beehive, coincidentally one of the suggestions in the original name-that-pub competition. In 1999 the upper bar area became Colors Nightclub.

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5th September

The Church of Saint Gabriel opens in Rectory Road, Pitsea. The new Church of England church was built as a replacement for St. Michael's Church on land that once formed part of Shophouse Farm. It was designed by Southend architect Donald M. Corder, A.R.I.B.A. and features a steel spire clad in fibre glass reflecting the three points of the trinity. Pinewood pews to seat 350 were obtained from a disused north London congregational church in Harlesden and a bell, cast at Whitechapel in 1866, was another additional find. Its unique 12-sided design are said to represent the 12 apostles. A foundation stone was laid the previous year on 21st September by Rev. E.W. Grevatt, the former Rector of Pitsea who purchased the land in 1928 on which the church was built. Its name already had an association with the area, St. Gabriel's chapel, now long since demolished, having once existed in Rectory Road. The service of consecration was carried out by the Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt. Rev. John Tiarks in the presence of Rev. Arthur Harvey, Rector of Pitsea. Rev. E.W. Grevatt was amongst the congregation. A.D. Jackson and Son were the contractors used in its construction. The first wedding took place on 26/09/1964.

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8th September

Blessed Anne Line Roman Catholic Primary School in Wickhay opened. The school, built in Lee Chapel North at Wickhay, is named after the English martyr Anne Line who lived (c.1563 – 27th February 1601). The school was later extended when a separate infant school opened in 1968. The first Headmaster was Mr James J.V. Fox, a former history teacher from nearby Woodlands secondary, who remained in charge until his retirement in 1988. The schools' name was later changed to St. Anne Line when Pope Paul VI granted permission for forty martyrs from England and Wales to be canonised on 25th October 1970.

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19th September

A new scout campsite is established called Kingston Ridge off Lee Chapel Lane, Langdon Hills. It becomes the new home of Basildon Scouts who previously, from 10/09/1961, had used a site in Pipps Hill Road, Laindon. The site of around 7 acres was acquired in 1963 through Basildon Development Corporation and initial occupation was on a three-year lease which was then extended. The area - much of it dense woodland and scrub - was cleared by members of the Local Association of scouts. Tom Parrinder, International Commissioner for Essex, officially opened the site on a special weekend attended by various scout and cub groups including Holy Cross. Others in attendance included council chairman Bert Saunders and the president and chairman of the Local Association of scouts Elizabeth Gregory and Derek Spurging. The site is still in use today.

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October

Markhams Chase County Infant' & Junior School in Laindon renamed Janet Duke in honour of the former headmistress's 31 years service.

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3rd October

Lee Chapel North Community Centre officially opened. The new facility at Ballards Walk attracted a large gathering which included recently retired headmistress of Markhams Chase primary school, Janet Duke, who gave out prizes. Basildon Development Corporation chairman Sir John Macpherson carried out the official opening ceremony. The hall soon proved popular with all age groups who enjoyed a varied programme of activities that included the senior citizens Darby and Joan Club afternoons and an early evening disco for the under 16s called Tuesday Club (later becoming Wednesday Club in the mid 1970s). A children's Saturday morning film show was another popular attraction which ran until September 1971 when the ABC cinema opened in the town centre.

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15th October

Mr. Edward Gardner, Q.C. (later Sir) (35,347) re-elected Conservative M.P. for the Billericay constituency including Basildon. His victory was the second over Labour opponent Rita Smythe, who reduced his majority to 1,592. Labour win General Election. The count, which was carried out at Billericay Senior School, marked the final time it was held in Billericay with all future counts taking place in Basildon. It was also the last time until 1983 that a woman would stand as a candidate.

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3rd November

H.R.H. The Queen Mother opens Southwood Court in Great Spenders, Basildon as retirement homes for the Printers Pension Corporation. Also in attendance was the president of the charity, the late Sir Billy Butlin, founder of Butlins holiday camps.

 
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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