Basildon History Basildon History Basildon History Basildon History Basildon History
A Basildon Chronology
1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969

1960

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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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16 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 Hill Road, 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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4 March

H.R.H. 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 B.D.Corp. Chairman Sir Humfrey Gale.

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29 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 in accomodation that includes a committee room. Some departments would remain there until the early 1990s.

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2 April

Trinity Methodist Church in Clay Hill Road, Vange opened. Services had previously been held in nearby Gordon Hall when the New Town Methodist Church merged with the Free Church in 1954.

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13 April

Laindon High Road Secondary School open-air swimming pool opened.

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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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17 October

Nevendon Service Station in Honywood Road, opened. The garage on opening sold Shell petrol and on site car servicing.

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3 December

Arne Court, Laindon, old people's accommodation opened. The new Council run complex off Holst Avenue was opened by the Council's chairman 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 much of the workforce has relocated to Basildon from their North Circular Road factory in London, N.W.2. The factory was later modernised with additional buildings but was eventually closed and demolished in 2007.

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Fairhouse County Junior School in Long Riding opened. Miss P.M.B. Green is the first appointed Headmistress. The school is now known as Fairhouse Community Junior School.

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The Staneway railway bridge linking Laindon Link with Lee Chapel South opened. The bridge, known as 83A, over the British Railways run Fenchurch Street to Shoeburyness rail route was built of 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. 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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February

F.W. Woolworth & Co Ltd. open a shop at 23 Town Square, Basildon. Prior to opening, the popular store, later known as Woolworths, sold its goods from a specially adapted mobile van 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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25 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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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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18 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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23 April

Population Census for Basildon district; 48,047.

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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 and was Vice-Chairman for the previous two years.

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3 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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19 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 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

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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1 October

The Commission For The New Towns (CNT) established under provisions in Part II of the New Towns Act, 1959. They were 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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6 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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1962

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The first shops open at Kibcaps, off The Knares at the Lee Chapel South neighbourhood centre.

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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 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 purpose built alley in Southernhay was 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 opened. Mrs C.M. Kirby is the first appointed Headteacher. The school is now known as Fairhouse Community Infant School.

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January

Springfield County Infant and Junior School in Honeypot Lane 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. The first Headmaster was Mr. Geoffrey Whitehead. In September 1968 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 during the 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 became the Basildon Lower Academy accommodating students between the ages 11-14.

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15 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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15 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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18 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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7 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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7 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, 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. 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.

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1 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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17 September

Cranes Farm Road is opened to traffic. The new 'feeder' road linking Upper Mayne with Timberlog Lane (now East Mayne) was built to serve the two industrial estates and the future tractor plant site.

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26 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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10 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 local 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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16 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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11 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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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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Bull Road, Vange and a 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 its junction with Church Road.

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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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Great Oaks Clinic in Great Oaks, Basildon opened.

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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.

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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.

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The first Essex County Council run Day Nursery opened. Situated at the main shopping centre at Fryerns 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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9 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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23 May

Holy Trinity Catholic Church Hall at Roundacre, Laindon Link, 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 discos and various other activities. It is still in use and now called S.P.A.C.E. for young people.

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29 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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29 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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3 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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6 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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10 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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26 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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2 December

Basildon Police Station in Great Oaks becomes operational. Construction company Costain were involved in its construction. Prior to its opening a small temporary single storey station was constructed in Great Oaks and in use from the early 1960s. In 1984 a mobile police station was placed in Town Square adjacent to Market Pavement and this later moved to the East Square steps where it remained until the mid 2000s.

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1964

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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 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 by CDA Communications around 1995 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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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 increased to various other sites around the district up to 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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29 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 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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15 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 clinic facility at Craylands County Secondary School in Timberlog Lane.

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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.

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1 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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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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15 April

15th Century farmhouse Laindon Hall in Church Hill destroyed by fire.

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27 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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11 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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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. 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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1 September

Blessed Anne Line Roman Catholic Primary School in Wickhay opened. The school, built in Lee Chapel North at Wickhay, was named after the English martyr Anne Line. 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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19 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 Infant' & Junior School renamed Janet Duke in honour of the former headmistress's 31 years service.

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3 October

The 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. A children's Saturday morning film show was another attraction running in to the 1970s.

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15 October

Mr. Edward Gardner Q.C. (later Sir) (35,347) re-elected Conservative MP for the Billericay constituency including Basildon. Majority 1,592. Labour win General Election.

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3 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.

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1965

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Basildon Development Corporation revised Master Plan for a Basildon population of 140,000 published.

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Joe Morgan, Labour councillor for the Barstable Ward, is appointed as the first Leader of Basildon Council.

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18 June

Standard Telephones and Cables (S.T.C.) open a purpose built factory at Miles Gray Road on the Industrial Estate No. 2. The governments Postmaster General The Rt. Hon. Anthony Wedgewood Benn MP. carried out the opening duties at the new factory which was built at a cost of £2½ million. The company, which began as Western Electric in 1883, moved to Basildon from Henley Road, North Woolwich where they had occupied a factory since the turn of the century. They became S.T.C. in 1925 following a takeover by ITT. In the 1990s the site was levelled and the Argos distribution centre now stands in its place.

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9 July

The Who (pop group) perform at Mecca's Locarno Ballroom in Market Pavement. They appear again there in 1966 on 18th March and 2nd September. The Kinks had played the venue in 1964, and much later in 1982, Culture Club, fronted by Boy George, would appear there, by which time the venue was known as Raquels.

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5 August

The New Towns Act, 1965 introduced. This Act is a revision of the original 1946 Act.

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14 August

Kingdom Hall in Tylers Avenue, Laindon dedicated. The new hall, costing £2,500, was built and funded by voluntary contributions from local members of the Jehovah Witness congregation. Previously meetings were held in a hall in Laindon High Road.

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1 September

Bluehouse County Infants' and Junior School at Leinster Road, Laindon opened. Mr. H.C. Goodwin is appointed Headmaster of the junior achool and Mrs. J.L.G. Wilson is the infant schools' first Headmistress. In 2003 the school closed and reopened as The Phoenix Primary.

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1 September

Chalvedon County Comprehensive school in Wickford Avenue, Pitsea opened. Chalvedon is the first Comprehensive school to open in the Basildon District. Mr. Robert Ford is appointed the school's first Headmaster.

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5 November

Basildon Round Table hold their first charity Firework Fiesta on a site adjacent to Laindon Link in Lee Chapel North. The display attracted around 2,000 people who saw around £50 worth of fireworks set off. The event would continue here through to the early 1970s before transferring to Markhams Chase Recreation Ground and then finally moving to Gloucester Park, where it remained until 2013 when due to building work it was held at Northlands Park, Pitsea.

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31 December

The Basildon town centre clock unveiled. Costing £4,800, the modern and possibly unique clock sits around 20ft high atop a polished tubular column. The stainless steel sphere has four faces making it visible from all points of the compass. It was designed by clock specialist John Vernon. Unfortunately the clock has proved problematic with all four faces often out of synchronisation, and had rarely, if at all by the 2000s, told the time. It was also fitted with chimes but the mechanism may have been disabled due to technical faults as it hasn't been heard in years. In late August early September 2007 the clock was taken down as part of a refurbishment of Town Square that also saw the removal of the High Pavement escalator. It was then sent away for repair and returned to the town centre on Tuesday 30th March, 2010 at its new location in St. Martin's Square.

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1966

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31 March

Eric Moonman (40,013) elected Labour MP for the Billericay constituency including Basildon. Majority 1,642. Labour win General Election.

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22 April

Laindon Traffic Police building opened at Chaplin Close, Laindon. The previous headquarters at Arterial Road were considered cramped and out-of-date compared to the new £68,000 purpose built building.

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30 April

Graham Bonney becomes the first Basildon pop artist to have a hit record. His recording of the song 'Supergirl', released by Columbia records on 18th February, spent five weeks in the UK top 40 peaking at No.19. His subsequent releases failed to chart, but the former Basildon boy, born Graham Bradley, who once lived at Beeleigh East on the Fryerns estate, continues to be successful on the continent, particularly in Germany.

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1 September

Bardfield County Primary School in Clay Hill Road, Vange, opened. Miss I. Whenn is the first appointed headmistress at the school which has two infant and two junior classes for the 117 children, many of whom transferred from Swan Mead and Pitsea schools. For many years the school was run as an infant and junior until 2002 when the school became a Primary again after the infant and junior schools amalgamated.

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1 September

Chowdhary County Infant School in Markhams Chase, Laindon opened. Mrs. V.P. Griffiths is appointed as the schools first Headmistress. The school is named after a popular local doctor Dharm Sheel Chowdhary (1902-1959), who for over 25 years kept a practice at High Road, Laindon. In 1979 the infant and junior schools merged becoming Chowdhary County Primary.

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1967

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G.P.O. purpose built automatic telephone exchange at Long Riding, Basildon opened. On opening the exchange handled 3,500 lines which had increased to 10,000 by 1972. The three-storey building was later refurbished and an additional storey was added around 1980. The new exchange was built as an addition to the manual exchange at Winstanley Way, Basildon which employed telephonists for all directory enquiries, service faults and emergency service calls.

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6 February

Bader House in Witchards, Kingswood opened. This special occupational day centre for the physically handicapped was named after Douglas Robert Steuart Bader, a disabled world war two R.A.F. fighter pilot. Council Chairman Arthur Baron Burn officiated at the opening ceremony.

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5 June

British Rail withdraws the goods service from Laindon Station. A goods yard had existed at the station since the line opened serving a number of local businesses with coal and building materials. Following closure most of the track in the sidings was lifted though the original goods shed remained, albeit in derelict condition, until the late 1980s when a permanent car park was created wiping away all traces of the former goods yard.

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22 June

Basildon Golf Course off Clay Hill Lane in Kingswood is officially opened. Chairman of both the council and the development corporation, Arthur Baron Burn and Sir John Macpherson respectively were in attendance. The 164 acre par-72 municipal course is also home to the privately run Basildon Golf Club. The course had actually opened on 10th May with Chairman of Basildon Council, Arthur Baron Burn, making the first drive, and Sir Richard Bonallack taking part in the first game.

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August

Basildon junior football club Armada Sports renamed Basildon United. First game is a pre-season friendly on August 19th against Bowers United at The Gun ground in London Road, Bowers Gifford. Home matches until 1970, when United acquired their own ground at Gardiners Close, were played at Gloucester Park Bowl.

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1 September

Chowdhary County Junior School in Markhams Chase, Laindon opened. Mr. Peter Jones is appointed as the schools first Headmaster. In 1979 the school became a primary after merging with the infant school but closed in 1996 following a gradual fall in pupil numbers.

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September

The George Hurd Day Centre in Fauners, Basildon opened. The new purpose built centre, which cost £40,000, was built and eventually run by Basildon Council. Services provided include subsidised hot meals and a wide range of social and recreational activities for the district's senior citizen's. The centre is named after the former Vange resident and Labour councillor George Hurd (d.1966 aged 78), who held a seat in Pitsea from 1963 to 1966 and had been chairman of Vange & Pitsea Old People's Welfare Committee. In 2008 the centre was rebuilt in Audley Way off Ghyllgrove.

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12 October

Ford Motor Company open a Research & Engineering Centre on 268 acres of land at Dunton. Costing over £10 million to complete, Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson, as special guest of honour, carried out the opening duties. The new centre, built where Southfields Farm once stood, even has its own test track facility. It brought together some 2,500 engineers and technicians who had previously worked at scattered locations. On 24th July, 2007 H.R.H. Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, was guest of honour at a ceremony to mark 40 years of the centre.

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25 October

Kingswood Squash Club at Clay Hill Lane, Kingswood opens. Government Minister for Sport, Denis Howell, carried out the opening ceremony in the new £60,000 building which was designed by Ronald Cox, A.R.I.B.A. A.W. Hardy & Co. Ltd. of 714 London Road, Leigh-on-Sea were the main contractors involved in the construction. The club is now known as Club Kingswood and offers a variety of health and fitness activites from squash to swimming.

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November

The General Post Office (GPO) expand Basildon area code telephone numbers to include Laindon and Langdon Hills. A new telephone exchange in Northumberland Avenue becomes operational and the Laindon exchange in High Road (vehicle access from Vowler Road) Langdon Hills is closed and later demolished.

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13 November

Laindon Police Station in Victoria Road and Pitsea Police Station in Rectory Road both close with all operations now centralised at Great Oaks in Basildon. The Laindon building was later demolished when Victoria Road was slightly shortened to accommodate a new roundabout at the junction with St. Nicholas Lane. The Pitsea building was also later demolished, though years later a new police station opened in Rectory Road.

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December

Two 10 & 8 storey tower blocks in Laindon named Royal Court opened by Basildon Urban District Council. Originally conceived as three blocks, the plan was later revised to provide 18 three bedroomed flats and 36 two bedroomed flats with the smaller block having 14 three bedroomed and 28 two bedroomed flats. An enclosed play area and underground garages were also part of the development. Later a shop opened and the flats become known as Block A and B. Basildon Council also established a Laindon/Lee Chapel North area office; active in 1991 and probably earlier. In the late 2000s following years of antisocial behaviour and general bad feeling towards the blocks a new development scheme to replace the two blocks with new housing was given the go ahead and by December 2010 the last residents of Royal Court had vacated. Demolition, though initially set for mid 2011, finally began in October, 2011 with both towers removed from the skyline by December.

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December

Link, Basildon District Council's free quarterly information newspaper begins distribution. The first edition is delivered to around 37,000 homes in the district. It was soon produced every month but cuts in the 1980s reduced this to 9 editions over the year by which time circulation had increased to 65,000 homes. In the 1990s Link was replaced with the District Diary which in December 2010 became the Borough Diary reflecting the council's new status as a borough.

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29 December

Basildon Development Corporation's revised Master Plan for 134.000 population gets Government approval.

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1968

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Blessed Anne Line Roman Catholic Infant School opened. The first Headmistress was Miss Brenda Doherty who remained in charge until the early 1990s when she retired. Her successor was Gillian Durnian. Sometime in the 1970s the schools' name was shortened to Anne Line and changed again to St. Anne Line which it remains today. In the 2000s a detached classroom was added which from January 2007 became a nursery. A small addition to the infant block was also completed in 2008.

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Millhouse Junior School in Tavistock Road. Laindon opened.

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Northlands Infant School in Winifred Road, Pitsea, opened. Mrs. Gladys Stewart is appointed the first Headmisress, a post she remained in through to her retirement in August 1979.

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1 January

Mr. William M. Balch, F.R.I.C.S. succeeds Sir John MacPherson as Chairman of Basildon Development Corporation. Sir John retired on 31/01/1967.

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10 April

A new 33⅓ metre Championship size swimming pool at Gloucester Park in Broadmayne opens. Built to a depth of 12½ft and featuring 3 diving boards, the facility also includes a second teaching pool, spectator gallery and a 1st floor cafe. Public toilets serving the park were also incorporated into the design. The official opening was held in June by which time over 100,000 had used the new facility. In the 1990s the cafe was moved downstairs and a gym called The Pulse Fitness Centre eventually opened on the 1st floor. The pool closed on Sunday 24th April, 2011 when the Basildon Sporting Village, which included a new 50metre swimming pool, was completed opening the following weekend 30th April, 2011.

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May

The Murryfield sports pavilion in Gloucester Park officially opened. The pavilion, which was built at a cost of around £30,000, was a joint venture between Basildon Council and the Murryfield Real Estate Company.

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19 May

The Basildon Hebrew Congregation Synagogue at Park Lodge in High Road, Langdon Hills opened. The Congregation had previously held services in various local halls over a 12 year period. In attendance was local labour MP. Eric Moonman and the Chairman of Basildon Council Coun. Arthur Baron Burn. The congregation later transferred services to a house called "Whiteways" in Basildon Road, Laindon until approx. 1994 when they merged with Southend and Westcliff Hebrew Congregation.

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June

St. Paul's Methodist Church in Ballards Walk, Lee Chapel North officially opened & dedicated. The methodist movement in Lee Chapel North began in 1962 when a small congregation formed during the early years of the estate's construction under the title St. Paul's House. A youth club, Sunday School and mid-week fellowship were soon established and Sunday services were held in constructor's Gilbert Ash's canteen. A foundation stone, seen to the left of the front entrance, was laid on 7th October, 1967 by the Chairman of the London North East District of the Methodist Church, Rev. Frank C. Eden and Rev. John Tiarks, Bishop of Chelmsford.

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19 June

Gloucester Park Swimming Pool officially opened. Chairman of Basildon Council Arthur Baron Burn carried out the opening duties. The championship size pool was designed by Council architect Kenneth Cotton.

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10 July

Basildon Natural History Society established. The society, formed by a group of voluntary enthusiasts dedicated to the study of the areas fauna and flora and green issues, hold regular meetings and have undertaken many projects where the aim is the conservation and preservation of woodland for future generations to enjoy. Mr. Vic Wiseman was the first Chairman.

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September

Millhouse Infants School in Tavistock Road. Laindon opened. The new school was built to serve the growing population on the north side of Laindon and as a replacement for Laindon Park where pupil numbers were just 60 at the time of opening. The council intended to reduce pupil numbers at Laindon Park with the eventual aim of demolishing it. In the event Laindon Park remained open. The first appointed Head Teacher was Mrs. E.M. Cockshaw. The schools' playing field was laid out over a previously residential road called Ashleaves Avenue.

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1 September

Local reorganisation of secondary education along comprehensive lines introduced. Two immediate changes implemented are the mergers of Barstable Grammar & Technical School and Timberlog County Secondary School to form Barstable Comprehensive, and Fryerns Grammar & Technical School and Craylands County Secondary School to become Fryerns Comprehensive School.

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1 September

Northlands Junior School in Winifred Road, Pitsea, opened. Mr. Leslie Inman is appointed the first Headmaster.

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21 September

The Arts Centre in Towngate, Basildon opened by Chairman of the Arts Council of Great Britain, Lord Goodman. The days opening entertainment began with a production of Susan Glaspell's "Trifles", performed by the Basildon Players, followed by a performance by the Basildon Choral Society. Basildon Operatic Society also performed and the first film screened was Czechoslovakian director Zdenek Podskalsky's "Never strike a lady". Built as a temporary theatre at a cost of £100,000 with seating for approx 500, it became the Towngate Theatre in January 1976 and lasted until the new permanent Towngate Theatre opened in April 1988. It was operated by the council and designed in house by a team of council employees including Ken S. Cotton, A.R.I.B.A. Vin Harrop was appointed as the first manager. Additional features included a fully licensed restaurant and an upstairs bar and a Towngate 2 facility with workshop and a stage for live performance.

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9 October

H.R.H. Katharine, Duchess of Kent visits St. Martin's Church in Basildon to officially dedicate the porch and modern sculpture of Christ by the artist Thomas Bayliss Huxley-Jones. It was his last completed work. The Duchess also visited the newly opened Arts Centre where she signed the visitors book.

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30 November

The Irish Club in Basildon Road, Laindon opened. The new club, created to serve the local Irish population, was formally opened by Councillor John Costello, the club's President, in surroundings previously known as Essex Country Club. Special guest at the opening was local constituency M.P., Eric Moonman. The building, which dates back to 1928 when it first opened as Laindon Park Country Club, was later taken over by Basildon Development Corporation who then rented it back to the club in the knowledge it would eventually be demolished.

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9 December

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Michael Ramsey visits Basildon. Dr. Ramsey addressed a large congregation at St. Martin's Church in the town centre. To date this remains the first and only time that an Archbishop of Canterbury has visited Basildon.

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1969

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The first shops at the new Laindon Shopping Centre begin opening. The complex would later include a public house, and also house the local library until the early 2000s.

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Pitsea War Memorial at the Station Lane junction with the High Road is moved to Howard Park. It was unveiled in November 1928 to the memory of the men from Pitsea and Bowers Gifford who fell in the Great War.

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25 January

The Salvation Army building in Fauners, Basildon opened. The new centre was built at a cost of around £25,000 and included an officers' quarters and a large lounge with television. At the opening ceremony builder Mr. J. Wiggins cut the tape aided by George and Amy Mansfield who helped run the old S.A. Laindon hall in Northumberland Avenue. Among others present were Council Chairman, Terry Chapman, Rural Dean, Rev. Arthur Dunlop and the Hadleigh Salvation Army Band.

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3 February

The Radion cinema (formerly Laindon Picture Theatre) in High Road, Laindon closes. The final film is the thriller 'Wait until dark' starring Audrey Hepburn. The building, which was situated on the corner of New Century Road and owned by former chairman of Basildon Council Bert Phelps, was then used for Bingo sessions before being demolished during 1969 as part of a road widening project that saw the creation of two roundabouts and a length of duel carriageway between Laindon Link and St. Nicholas Lane.

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19 February

The new Pitsea Market opens. Situated on the southern side of the High Road, the new 172 stall market, housed in four 30ft high domes marked A to D, replaces the original market site which was required to allow the new South Mayne A132 feeder road to link with Pitsea. The Wednesday and Saturday market was initially held solely within the domes until permission was given to allow traditional outdoor stalls to be used as well. The move to the new site was a temporary one which lasted to January 1978 when the market moved again, this time to the rear of the Railway public house and Broadway where it remains today.

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29 September

The Evening Echo newspaper launched. Covering daily news stories from the Southend, Canvey Island, Rayleigh and Basildon areas of Essex, the 'Echo', initially available in broadsheet, switched to tabloid size in 1984, and has continued to provide local news right up to the present. In the 1990s a Basildon edition became available, which from 29th November 2004 had become 'Basildon Echo' having lost its evening prefix as a result of being sold earlier in the day. From June 12th, 2006 its front banner changed again, this time to Echo, though from 17th May, 2010 the word Basildon in small light black capital letters returned and the paper now includes news from the Thurrock district. From 10/08/2009 its tabloid size was slighly reduced. The Echo also launched its own website in the 2000s offering on-line news stories and an archive as well as many other interactive features.

 
Text researched and written 2001 with revisions and additions 2002-2011.
Copyright © 2001-2011, B. Cox - Basildon History Online. All rights reserved.

Acknowledgements and Bibliography

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