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A Basildon Chronology
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1965   1966   1967   1968   1969
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1965

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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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Timberlog Lane (B1419) between Chittock Gate and Barstable grammar school is closed to through traffic just beyond the school entrance. The new cul-de-sac is given the name Timberlog Close. Access to the remaining northern end of Timberlog Lane - since renamed Craylands - is via a right turn off the existing realignment to Broadmayne, which had been lengthened to link up at a new roundabout with the A132 East Mayne.

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27th April

Ford Tractor Plant in Cranes Farm Road, Basildon officially opened. The first production models to be assembled are the Ford 2000, 3000, 4000 and 5000 series from the all new 6x range of tractors.

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18th 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 24 acre site was levelled and the Argos distribution centre now stands in its place.

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9th July

The Who (pop group) perform at Mecca's Locarno Ballroom in Market Pavement. The group appears there twice more on 18th March and 2nd September 1966. The Kinks had earlier played the venue on September 4th 1964, and in 1982, Culture Club, fronted by Boy George, would appear there, by which time the venue was known as Raquels.

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5th August

The New Towns Act, 1965 receives Royal Assent. This Act is a revision of the original 1946 Act.

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14th 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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1st September

Bluehouse County Infants' and Junior School at Leinster Road, Laindon opened. Mr. H.C. Goodwin is appointed Headmaster of the junior school and Mrs. J.L.G. Wilson is the infant schools' first Headmistress. In August 2003 the school closed and reopened from September 1st as The Phoenix Primary School and Nursery.

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1st 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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5th 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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24th November

Alma Hatt, LL.B., D.P.A., is appointed as the first Town Manager of Basildon Urban District Council. His appointment, the second of its kind in local government, followed many years as Clerk of the Council after succeeding Mr. A.D. Cheshire in 1944 but was cut short when he suffered a heart attack at work and died shortly afterwards in December at a London hospital. He is remembered in Billericay where a pedestrian pathway linking High Street with Chapel Street was named Alma Link.

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31st December

The Basildon town centre clock unveiled. Costing £4,800, this modern and possibly unique clock stands 34ft high atop a polished tubular stainless steel column. The 6ft diameter sphere, which is also manufactured from rolled stainless steel, has four faces making it visible from all points of the compass. Its outward appearance was designed by the chief architect and planner to Basildon Development Corporation, Douglas Galloway, while the clock's internal mechanism and hands are the work of clock specialist John Vernon. It was built by a London company Convair Time and Electronics Limited of Farringdon Road, E.C.1. 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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Pitsea Market is acquired by Basildon Development Corporation. The market in Station Lane, which had been in private ownership since opening in the 1920s, was sold as the corporation had plans to relocate it as it was currently on land proposed for a new flyover for the South Mayne 'feeder road', linking Basildon Town Centre with Pitsea.

 

Yardley of London cosmetics factory at Miles Gray Road becomes fully operational. This all new purpose built factory at 4 Miles Gray Road on the No. 2 Industrial Estate (now Pipps Hill), took over as the company's production headquarters following a decision taken some years earlier to relocate to Basildon from their former home at Stratford, east London. The entire site, covering around 19 acres, included outdoor recreational facilities, a boiler house and associated landmark chimney and an extensive car park. A four storey office block was later added in 1969. The company, famous for its English Lavender line of perfumes, had begun migrating its staff to Basildon the previous year, with many moving into recently completed housing estates.

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March

David H. Taylor is appointed as the second Town Manager of Basildon Urban District Council. He succeeds the late Alma Hatt who briefly held the post to December, 1965.

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31st March

Eric Moonman (40,013) elected Labour member of parliamernt for the Billericay constituency including Basildon. Mr. Moonman, who was born in Liverpool, won with a majority of 1,642 over his conservative opponent Edward Gardner, who had held the seat since 1959. He was standing in his second general election having previously fought the Essex seat of Chigwell in 1964; losing to conservative Jim Biggs-Davison by 3,721 votes. Labour win General Election. This election was notable locally in that it was the first time the count was carried out in Basildon; all previous counts in recent times having taken place in Billericay.

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31st March

Basildon Development Corporation 17th annual report for the period 1st April 1965 to 31st March 1966 announces their house building programme has exceeded 14,000 units. The building programme had commenced in 1950 with the first properties at Redgrave Road in Vange ready for occupation by June the following year.

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22nd April

Laindon Garage traffic police headquarters opened at Chaplin Close, Laindon. The new purpose built facility replaces the previous Arterial Road base, which had become cramped and out-of-date. Built at a cost of £68,000 it includes full workshop facilities and has a staff of around 25 officers of various rank. During the Fire Brigades Union strike of 2002/2003 a British Army Bedford RLHZ 'Green Goddess' was stationed there for up to eight days.

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30th 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 Bradly, who once lived at 50 Beeleigh East on the Fryerns estate, continues to be successful on the continent, particularly in Germany.

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August

Basildon Development Corporation revised Master Plan for a Basildon population of 140,000 by 2001 is submitted to the Minister of Housing and Local Government, Mr Anthony Greenwood. It was prepared by the corporation's chief architect planner Douglas Galloway in association with the chief engineer Mr. H.F. Bryant and the chief finance officer, Mr G.R. Rawes.

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1st 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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6th 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 January 2002 when the school became a primary again after the infant and junior schools amalgamated.

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16th November

The number of electoral Wards within the Basildon district is increased from 9 to 14. The number of elected councillors to serve on Basildon Council is also increased from 29 to 46. (County of Essex (Basildon Urban District - Wards and Councillors) Order, 1966). The first elections were held on 20th May, 1967.

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1967

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G.P.O. (General Post Office) 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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Parker Morris Standards of minimal living space in new build homes within all United Kingdom 'New Towns' becomes mandatory. This was extended in 1969 to include council housing.

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Properties on the Laindon I, II and III housing development completed. The new 950 home estate of rented accommodation comprised of 2, 3, and 4 bedroomed houses and flats, was the first to be constructed in Laindon by Basildon Development Corporation. Work on the construction began in October 1964 on land cleared of pre-new town dwellings, some of which were below the housing standard. The properties were designed by Basildon Development Corporation's own Department of Architecture and Planning headed by Anthony B. Davies. The were built from a new building material developed in Sweden called 'Siporex' and had already been trialled on a small 18 home estate at Lee Chapel North. The main contractor was Richard Costain whose Costain Concrete Company under licence pre-cast the sections at its cement works in Scotland before transportation to Laindon to be assembled on-site. The properties comprise Danacre, Northey, Rising Grove and Spurriers. The properties proved problematic over time with costly structural repairs leading to the entire estate - with the exception of 4 blocks of conventional built flats - being demolished in the mid 1990s and replaced with conventional housing.

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6th 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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14th February

The revised 1965 Basildon Development Corporation Master Plan public inquiry begins. This inquiry held at Laindon Community Centre, Aston Road lasted 9 days. It was held by T.F. Thomson, Esq., L.R.I.B.A., Dist.T.P., M.T.PL, F.I.L.A., a Department of the Environment Inspector.

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5th 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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8th June

Sir John Ruggles-Brise, Lord Lieutenant of Essex, cuts the first sod at the Nether Mayne site planned for Basildon Hospital. Plans for a hospital had been at the discussion stage for a number of years as the town's growth had put additional strain on existing services at Orsett and St. Andrew's at Billericay. Although its location had been resolved since the 1950s its size and costing was subject to amendments which held up its construction, which was eventually completed in 1973.

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22nd 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. They joined the Grays & Thurrock Thames-side Combination league followed by the Greater London league for season 1968/69. Home matches until 1970, when United acquired their own ground at Gardiners Close, were played at Gloucester Park Bowl. Armada Sports, whose nickname was the Pirates, had formed earlier in 1963.

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1st 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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18th September

The George Hurd Day Centre in Fauners, Kingswood, 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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12th 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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25th 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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8th November

Nether Mayne pedestrian footbridge centre section positioned into place. The steel bridge linking Kingswood with Lee Chapel South had its main centre section lifted into place by a large crane causing the road to be temporarily closed to traffic. The whole structure, which cost £10,000, was eventually completed and open to pedestrians in December and remains in use to this day.

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13th 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 closures were initially experimental but proved permanent and the Laindon building was later demolished in 1970 when Victoria Road was shortened and closed off to accommodate a new roundabout at its former the junction with St. Nicholas Lane. The Pitsea building was also later demolished and replaced with police houses, though years later a new police station opened on the same site.

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December

Two 10 & 8 storey tower blocks in Laindon named Royal Court opened by Basildon Urban District Council. The two blocks, which stand off Brook Mead, were originally conceived as three blocks; the plan later being 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 (Dunnies) 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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29th December

Basildon Development Corporation's revised Master Plan to increase the population within the designated area receives Government approval from Anthony Greenwood, MP, Minister at the Ministry of Housing and Local Government. The corporation had proposed an increase from 106,000 to 140,000 which the Minister accepted in principle with the deletion of two proposed housing developments at Hawkesbury and Kingston Ridge, reducing the total by 6,600.

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1968

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Millhouse Junior School in Tavistock Road, Laindon opened.

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Properties on the Crudens estate at Rectory Road, Pitsea completed. The new flat roofed development corporation housing estate was built along the west side of Rectory Road between Wickford Avenue and Winifred Road. It comprises Bryce Way, Curzon Walk, Harley Walk, Balfour Way and Addison Pavement and is a mix of houses and maisonettes. In the 1990s the build quality was causing concern leading to the entire estate undergoing a refurbishment programme that included pitched roofs to all properties and changes to the road layout between the properties. Following this it was renamed the Castles estate with new street nameing taken from British castles.

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Northlands Infant School in Winifred Road, Pitsea, opened. Mrs. Gladys Stewart is appointed the first Headmistress, a post she remained in through to her retirement in August 1979. From September 2015 the infants' were amalgamated with the junior school to become Northlands Primary School and Nursery.

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Tenants move into newly built properties on the Vange 3C estate. The estate, comprising rented accommodation of 2, 3 and 4 bedroomed houses and flats, was constructed on behalf of Basildon Development Corporation. New street names introduced include Oldwyck, Polsteads and Swanstead. Unfortunately the estate got off to a bad start as the following year tenants began complaining of damp, which would require expensive remedial work.

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1st January

Mr. William Morton Balch, F.R.I.C.S., succeeds Sir John MacPherson as Chairman of Basildon Development Corporation. Sir John retired on 31/12/1967.

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10th 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

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. It was demolished in 2011 and replaced with a new single storey pavilion when the bowls green was re-acommodated from its former home at the southern end of Gloucester Park.

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14th May

Basildon Urban District Council apply to the Magistrates Court in Billericay for permission to close off Sparrows Herne on the Kingswood estate at its junction with Nether Mayne. Following permission access to Nether Mayne is now via a new curve into Lee Woottens Lane to a new roundabout, under construction during 1967, for the eventual opening of Basildon hospital and College of Further Education. The footpath into Nether Mayne was retained.
Highways Act 1959, Section 108 and 12th Schedule Stopping up of Highways.

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19th 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 house was registered as a place of worship until 02/07/1976 when the congregation 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 Methodist Meeting House was also established at 17 Delimands. The 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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19th 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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10th July

Basildon Natural History Society established. The Society, formed by a group of voluntary enthusiasts dedicated to the study of the areas fauna, 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. The initial idea for the Society came from founding member and secretary Peter Baldwin. Another founding member is Harry Peck whose surname was later given to an artificial pond created at the Marks Hill nature reserve in Langdon Hills. Mr. Vic Wiseman was the Society's first Chairman, which in 1983 became a registered charity.

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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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1st 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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1st September

Northlands Junior School in Winifred Road, Pitsea, opened. Mr. Leslie Inman is appointed the first Headmaster. From September 2015 the junior school was amalgamated with the infants' school to become Northlands Primary School and Nursery.

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5th September

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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21st 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 and Arts Centre 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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9th 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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29th November

Basildon Urban District Council receive permission from the Minster of Transport to close off Bells Hill Road (North) section from its junction with Nether Mayne. Following the closure only a footpath was retained and the remaining portion of Bells Hill Road to Sparrows Herne was renamed Clay Hill Lane.
Road Traffic Regulation Act, 1967. The Urban District of Basildon Bells Hill Road (North) / Nethermayne Junction (Prohibition of Driving) Order 1968.

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30th 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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9th 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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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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Laindon Industrial Estate off Durham Road reaches completion. The estate, coverering Wrexham and Denbigh Roads, was the first to be completed in Laindon by the development corporation and soon attracted many businesses, some already established within the Laindon area. J.H. Rawley plant hire were one of the first to move in along with Jeakins Removals, T.E. Collins ironmonger business and R.A. Turner, who had operated a scrap metal yard in Durham Road for many years.

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25th 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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3rd 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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19th 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 until January 1978 when the market moved again, this time to Northlands Pavement at the rear of the Railway public house and Broadway North shops. A further move, in 2014, saw it resited on the former Railway public house, demolished the previous year.

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March

Tenants begin moving in to newly completed properties on the Fryerns XI estate at Craylands. The 500+ home estate, combining two, three and four bedroomed houses and ground floor/upper floor maisonettes and flats, was built in two phases by contractors J.E. Lesser Ltd on behalf of Basildon Urban District Council. The layout consists of a series of short cul-de-sacs off two main feeder roads; these being Craylands and Lincoln Road. The street names, with the exception of Craylands, are derived from english cathedrals and include Chichester Close, Exeter Close, Hereford Walk, The Lichfields, Lincoln Road, Norwich Walk, Peterborough Way, Rochester Way, Southwark Path and Wells Gardens. Phase II, which consisted of 205 houses and 57 garages, was completed by the end of 1970. The estate is commonly referred to as Craylands, after the former Craylands Farm that occupied land on which the estate was constructed. In the 1970s additional properties were built at Canterbury Close and Chester Way.

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24th March

Whife and Sloper milk delivery business partnership incorporated. The new business, based at Markhams Chase, Laindon, was formed following a merger between W.J. Sloper & Son, formerly of High Road, Laindon, and A.T. Whife & Sons of Hazeldene, Markhams Chase. Both company's had a long history of serving the area that dated back, in the case of Whife, to the 1930s, and Sloper, to the mid-late 1900s. In 1979 the business took over Firman's Dairies of Langdon Hills customer base but eventually closed in 2003. Two semi-detached houses now occupy their former dairy and milk float yard.

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9th September

Fairview School in Fairview Road, Basildon opened. Located in the Barstable area of Basildon the special needs school caters for children from infant to senior age with learning disabilities. The initial intake admitted 14 children from ages six years to 13 years. The school survived to 1999 when it was replaced by a pupil referral unit and is now known as Fairview Children's Support Service Centre.

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29th 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. The paper is produced at owners John H. Burrows & Sons purpose built printing works at Newspaper House, Chester Hall Lane, Basildon. 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, which is now published by Newsquest Essex, also launched its own website in the 2000s offering on-line news stories and an archive as well as many other interactive features.

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December

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.

 
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.

Acknowledgements and Bibliography

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