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A Basildon Chronology
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1975   1976   1977   1978   1979
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1975

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The first tenants begin occupation of new houses at Great and Little Oxcroft in Laindon. This new housing estate, known as Laindon 4 and built by Basildon Development Corporation, was for 144 dwellings of various types. The area was previously residential and involved the complete clearance of all remaining High Road buildings from Windsor Road to Laindon Link. The corporation in preparation for the task ahead issued a Compulsory Purchase Order titled Laindon Neighbourhood No. 2 over six years earlier in January 1969.

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6th January

Dunton Hall in Church Road, Dunton is designated a Grade II listed building.

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6th January

Westley Hall in Homestead Drive, Langdon Hills is designated a Grade II listed building.

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6th January

Vange Hall in London Road, Vange is designated a Grade II listed building.

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6th January

Thatched Cottage in Dry Street, Langdon Hills is designated a Grade II listed building.

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6th January

Rose Cottage in Dry Street, Langdon Hills is designated a Grade II listed building.

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March

Properties on phase I of the Langdon Hills housing development at Valence Way completed. The new 556 homes for rent estate of 2, 3, and 4 bedroomed houses and flats, was built on a 33 acre site (13.37 hectares) by Basildon Development Corporation. Work on the construction began in November 1972 on land cleared of residential homes and shops comprising the former Milton Avenue, Osborne Road, Radcliffe Road and the eastern side of High Road. The properties were designed by Basildon Development Corporation's own Department of Architecture and Planning headed by Douglas Galloway and constructed by J.W. Coward Ltd. with assistance in the timberwork from The Potton Timber Engineering Co. Ltd. The terraced properties, many of which incorporate timber framed cladding, comprise Westmede, Stebbings, Mildmayes, Kiln Shaw Longwick, Fern Hill, Motehill and Puckleside and all connected to the (then) Rediffusion piped tv service. Vehicular access to the properties is via Valence Way. Heating and domestic hot water is provided by a district oil fired heating system located in a boiler house off Valence Way which connects to the homes through a series of underground ducts.

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March

Station House office complex, built alongside the new Basildon Station in Cherrydown (now Cherrydown East), completed. The eight-storey E-shaped building occupying 741,000 sq. ft. of floor space was built by Costain on behalf of Amalgamated Investment & Property Company at a cost of around £6,500 million. The main entrance is adjacent to the railway station at 8 Station Way. It remained empty until 1977 when it was renamed Trafford House following Ford Motor Company's occupation as the headquarters of their European Truck Division which lasted to 2010 when staff were transferred to their Technical Centre at Dunton. Following Ford's departure it remained unoccupied until a change of use was granted to convert the building into 384 residential flats, the occupation of which began in early 2016.

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June

Air Commodore Allen H. Mawer, D.F.C. succeeds Mr. Charles Boniface, C.B.E. as General Manager of Basildon Development Corporation. Charles Boniface had held the post since 1954 and acquired the name "Mr. Basildon" due to his commitment to the service of his job. His C.B.E. was announced in the Queen's 1st January, 1975 New Year Honours List.

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June

Basildon Council takes over the Ambassador Bowl bowling alley in Southernhay. The bowling alley had opened in 1962 with 26 lanes but following the takeover was reduced to the first ten lanes and renamed Basildon Bowl. The remainder of the building was partioned off by Coral Social Clubs as a bingo hall.

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1976

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Basildon Yellow Advertiser newspaper launched. Initially based in Northgate House the advertiser is delivered free to over 50,000 homes in a distribution network that includes Billericay & Wickford. The advertiser group is now based at Acorn House in Great Oaks, Basildon and combines advertisements with local news stories over 100+ pages and can also be accessed on-line at their own internet website. The paper was once owned by publishers Trinity Mirror (Southern) who in August 2007 sold it to independent family-owned Tindle Newspapers Ltd. Following the acquisition the front banner was revised to include its creation year and it continues to offer an additional advertising wraparound begun earlier in the decade.

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A new housing development on behalf of Guiness Trust is completed at Claremont Road, Laindon.

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Tenants begin moving into properties on phase 2 of the Langdon Hills housing development at Valence Way. The new homes for rent estate of 2, 3, and 4 bedroomed houses and flats, was built by Basildon Development Corporation. Work on the construction began around 1974 on land cleared of all residential homes and shops comprising the former Milton Avenue, Nightingale Avenue, Victoria Avenue and the eastern side of High Road. The properties were designed by Basildon Development Corporation's own Department of Architecture and Planning headed by Douglas Galloway and constructed by J.W. Coward Ltd. with assistance in the timberwork from The Potton Timber Engineering Co. Ltd. The terraced properties, many of which incorporate timber framed cladding, comprise Debden Green, Breams Field, Manning Grove, Albyns, Lippetts Hill, The Hyde, Whitcroft and Rye Mead and all connected to the (then) Rediffusion piped tv service. Vehicular access to the properties is via Delmores and Valence Way. lHeating and domestic hot water is provided by a district oil fired heating system located in a boiler house off Valence Way which connects to the homes through a series of underground ducts.

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27th January

The Arts Centre in Towngate, Basildon re-opens as the Towngate Theatre. First opened in September 1968 the council run facility was given a make over including new seating and outdoor sign. The first evening's entertainment in the re-opened theatre was entitled The World of Giselle featuring the Royal Ballet company Ballet for All who performed excerts from Giselle and Les Sylphides. Admission prices: Adults 75p; Children 45p.

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6th April

Sainsbury's supermarket in Rectory Park Drive, Pitsea opened. The new store, opened in a purpose built building, has 24,541 sq ft of sales area and was a key part of a new Pitsea Centre regeneration project currently being undertaken by the development corporation. Sainsbury's chairman, John Sainsbury (later Sir) attended the opening. In 1992 another store opened at Cricketers Way, Nevendon on the former Carreras sports field in Nevendon Road. The Pitsea store eventually closed on 1st May, 1999 citing competition from nearby Tesco's and Lidl. The building remained vacant until 2000 when it was divided into two units, one of which was then occupied by German supermarket chain Aldi who opened a new store there in July. The building was later demolished as part of the second Pitsea regeneration project.

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26th April

Southernhay one-way road system comes into effect. Traffic travelling in a westward direction along Southernhay is now diverted into Clay Hill Road to join Cherrydown East into Station Way to rejoin Southernhay at its approach to Roundacre roundabout. Right turns into Fodderwick were also prohibited causing the removal of the bus stop which was resited in Southernhay. A bus only lane was introduced in Southernhay from 03/05/1976 in a westerly direction from the junction with Clay Hill Road to Station Way. The system is still in use today.

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12th June

Ilford Limited official open day held for a new office block headquarters at Christopher Martin Road, Basildon. The headquarters block, located on the No. 1 Industrial Estate at Nevendon, is the second aspect of the company to locate to Basildon - joining their colour processing plant, built on an adjacent site in Paycocke Road back in 1957. It was constructed from April 1974 on a 78,803 square feet site on previously undeveloped land.

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September

The A13 Pitsea to Sadlers Farm diversion completed. The new road is the continuation of the A13 Vange and Pitsea bypass which when opened in 1973 was joined to London Road 100 metres or so north of the Rectory Road junction. In 2012 the bypass was increased to 4 lanes in both directions.

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October

Pitsea Swimming pool in Rectory Park Drive opens. Situated opposite the Leisure Centre, the Basildon Council run facility offers general swimming and a lesson programme in its 25 x 12½m dimensions and maximum depth of 6 feet (1.8m). On 04/11/2012 Basildon Council closed the facility as the land was needed to allow a £30 million Pitea regeneration scheme to commence.

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November

The Triangle neighbourhood shopping centre in Langdon Hills opened. The new centre, situated between the High Road and Berry Lane, comprised five units, public toilets and a car park. A community centre was also built adjacent to the complex following the realignment of High Road. Three of the first traders to occupy units were Paul Lucy, greengrocer & florist, Martin's newsagents & post office and the Golden Gate Super Kitchen take away. A supermarket was also provided which later offered a video hire service. The toilet block was demolished sometime in the 1990s. In January 2013 a fire completely destroyed the centre which was then rebuilt to a new design with shops and upper floor flats.

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15th November

New Towns (Amendment) Act 1976 receives Royal Assent. The Amendment Act paved the way for the transfer of corporation owned housing to the local housing authorities.

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1977

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Church Walk House in Church Walk, Basildon completed. Three storey building built for occupation by Basildon Development Corporation as their property housing office on an area of waste ground when Pagel Mead was realigned to the west of St. Martin's Church. Its primary use for the public was as a rent office for residents with a corporation tenancy though there was a single cashier for Basildon Council tenants. The Citizens Advice Bureau were, for many years, also based there when the ground floor waiting area underwent a conversion during the 1980s. Basildon Council became the occupant on a lease arrangement following the Commission for the New Towns transfer of properties in 1994 although rents were transferred to the Basildon Centre. The Council later vacated the building around 2008/09 and as of 2011 is now the home of New Campus Basildon run by SEEVIC College.

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The first units on the Laindon North Industrial Estate are let. This new industrial estate was built over woodland and former residential properties that comprised Archer Road and Victoria Crescent. Dick Barnes' slaughterhouse, built years earlier off Victoria Crescent, survived the new development and was given a Stannetts address. Soft drinks company Alpine and Laindon based G.A. Collinson Fencing were among the first businesses to rent unit space at Newlands End and Stannetts respectively.

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Briscoe County Infants' and Junior School at Felmores End, Pitsea opened. The school was built to serve the Felmore housing developments then under construction. In 2002 the two schools amalgamated, becoming Briscoe Primary.

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Merrylands County Primary School in Cumberland Drive, Laindon opened. The school was built to serve Laindon West where private housing and new development corporation housing estates (Laindon 8/9) were either under construction or planned.

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Eversley County Primary School in Crest Avenue, Pitsea opened.

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16th century Great Chalvedon Hall in Tyefields, Pitsea purchased from its final residential owners by Basildon Council. It would subsequently find use as a public house.

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Ford Motor Company take over the Station House office complex in Cherrydown East as the headquarters of their European Truck Division. The building, which Ford renamed Trafford House, had lain empty since its completion in 1975. Up to 800+ workers were employed here through to 2010, when Ford transferred the Truck Division to their Research and Engineering site at Dunton, Essex. The pathway linking the front entrance to the rear entrance of Basildon railway station was later given a roof supported by brick pillars, though this was subsequently removed around 2015.

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June

Properties on the Chalvedon 3 housing development off Ashlyns and Pitsea Road completed. The new 1375 homes for rent estate of 2, 3, and 4 bedroomed houses, flats and maisonettes, was built in three phases on a 98½ acre site (39.9 hectares) by Basildon Development Corporation and is one of the largest in the town's short history. Work on the construction began in June 1975 on scrub land and former residential areas where homes predated the new town. The properties were designed by Ahrends, Burton and Koralek on behalf of Basildon Development Corporation and constructed by C.S. Wiggins & Sons Limited. The terraced properties comprise Beambridge/Place/Court, Broomfields/Mews/Place/Court, Wickford Court/Place/Mews, Moretons/Mews/Place/Court, Travers Way, Chalk End, Cheshunts, Wimbish End/Mews/Court, Mill Green/Place/Court, Walthams/Place, Malgraves/Place and Eastbrooks/Place/Mews and all connected to the (then) Rediffusion piped television service. Vehicular access to the properties is via Ashlyns, Pitsea Road and Wickford Avenue.

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12th April

Building contractors Coward begin work on the Felmore 1 housing development in Pitsea. The properties were the work of the architects Ahrends, Burton and Koralek on behalf of Basildon Development Corporation.

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June

Street parties were held throughout the town in celebration of the Queen's Silver Jubilee. Some of the many streets known to have participated include Woolmergreen, Shepeshall, Jermaynes and Falstones in Lee Chapel North, Rising Grove, Danacre and Spurriers in Laindon, Ardleigh in Lee Chapel South, Addison Pavement and Halstow Way in Pitsea, Elm Green in Chalvedon, Rochester Way in Craylands, Codenham Green in Kingswood, Butneys in Ghyllgrove, Redgrave Road in Vange, and Frettons and Long Riding in Barstable.

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31st July

Dunton County Primary School in Lower Dunton Road closes. The school, which opened in early 1929, had suffered a fall in pupil numbers being deemed uneconomic to run. Following closure the building became a secondary tutorial unit for displaced pupils until around 1988 and is now a privately owned residence called Dunton Grange.

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September

Local fanzine "Strange Stories" begins publication priced at 20p. Mainly covering the local music scene with gig reviews, it ran to 20 monthly editions through to 1979. It was succeeded by a new magazine entitled "Some of That", which offered a wider topic whilst retaining the local musical aspect of Strange Stories.

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1978

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Mr. Douglas Galloway, R.I.B.A. succeeds Air Commodore Allen Mawer as General Manager of Basildon Development Corporation. Mr. Galloway, who became the fourth and final General Manager, joined the corporation in the 1950s as an architect and later in the 1960s succeeded Anthony B. Davies as Chief Architect Planner. He held the General Manager's post until 1986 when the Development Corporation was wound up. He then took up a post with the Commission for the New Towns and was also responsible for the design of the belltower which stands in St. Martins Square, Basildon.

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Riverview Community Centre at Clay Hill Road, Vange opened.

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Basildon (Felmores) Bail Hostel at 1 Felmores, Pitsea opens. It is run by Essex Probation Service.

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Chalvedon Centre shops at Chalvedon Square open. The small centre was built to serve the recently completed Chalvedon 3 housing development and features shop units with above flat accommodation and a community centre.

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Grevatt Lodge, Rectory Road, Pitsea completed. Built as a private sheltered housing scheme for older people, the care home comprises 32 flats of mobility standard. It is run by Springboard Housing Association. It received renovation works in 2007. The Lodge is named after Rev. Ernest William Grevatt, the former Rector of Pitsea from 1924 - 1936. In 1928 he purchased the land on which St. Gabriel's church now stands.

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The number of councillors elected to serve on Basildon Council was reduced from 46 to 42. (District of Basildon (Electoral Arrangements) Order 1978). The first elections were held on 3rd May, 1979. This number continues to the present. The 14 voting Wards continued unchanged until 2002 when an additional 2 Wards were created.

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January

Tenants begin moving in on the Northlands estate at Pitsea. The new 257 home estate was designed by the National Building Agency and built on behalf of Basildon District Council.

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11th January

The third Pitsea Market site in Northlands Pavement opened. A market at Pitsea was first established in the 1920s at Station Lane. This relocated in 1969 to a large field site on the southern side of the High Road during the construction of the South Mayne flyover. This new site, to the rear of the Railway Hotel public house and Tudor Buildings/Broadway North shops, was partly created on a former sports field to the rear of the pub and demolished residential properties that stood in St. Nicholas Avenue or Northlands Drive (now Northlands Pavement), which now separates the two sides of the market.

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April

Chalvedon Community Centre in Beambridge (now 1 Chalvedon Square) opened.

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10th April

Laindon Link Busway comes into use. Laindon Link was constructed in the late 1950s and functioned as a direct route linking the Roundacre roundabout at Basildon with the High Road at Laindon. Following the construction of the 5 Links housing estate a new road called Hatterill came into use and in the early 1970s Laindon Link was 'stopped up' close to the cycle path adjacent to the Bluehouse school playing field. The development corporation in consultation with the council and Eastern National Omnibus Company, who wished to reinstate services along the route, reached agreement on opening a short 250 metre length of road between Tyler Avenue and the Little Totham Path cycle path for buses and emergency vehicles only. This arrangement continues to the present with the exception from 2002 of unrestricted vehicular access to new build Laindon Link properties on the eastern side of the busway. The District of Basildon (Laindon Link, Basildon) (Prohibition of Driving) Order 1978.

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26th July

Tesco's Superstore in Pitsea opens. The new store, located off Station Lane, has 49 checkouts, an upper floor restaurant, outside gardening centre and petrol filling station. It is built adjacent to the site of the original Pitsea Market which had relocated some years earlier to allow for the South Mayne flyover construction. A new road called Hazelmere, essentially a continuation and realignment of the former Hazelmere Drive, linking the High Road to the station end of Station Lane (later Pitsea Hall Lane), was constructed with two entrance/exit points to the store's car park. The former market site is now covered by part of the Tesco car park. In 1997 the store was upgraded to become the first Tesco Extra to open in the UK and one of the largest within the company. An upper floor for clothing and electrical goods was added in 2006 bringing the total retail area to above 100,000 sq ft. In October 1993 the main Pitsea Crown post office in the Broadway relocated to within the store in a move considered controversial (by some) at the time. In the early 1990s the petrol filling station was relocated to the western end of the site from its former eastern location adjacent to the garden centre and in the same decade for a short time the outside car park was used for a Sunday boot fair. Scottish singer and television child star Lena Zavaroni appeared at the store on this day to promote her new album release Songs are such good things and sign autographs.

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20th August

First major use of Gloucester Park's bandstand with all day "Rock Festival" headlined by local band "The Opposition". Also appearing, unscheduled, were Basildon band "The Vandals" whose lead singer was Alison Moyet who later went on to national success firstly as a member of Yazoo before embarking on a solo career.

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30th September

Radio Basildon begin broadcasting from the basement of Brooke House in Basildon town centre. The new community based service utilised channel A of the Rediffusion piped television system installed in Development Corporation and Council homes. The station's manager was Clive Thomas and its home address, for collecting prizes etc., was a house at 74 Spurriers on the former Laindon 1, 2 and 3 (Siporex) housing estate. There was also an office in a prefabricated building at South Gunnels. Local talent were often given air time, both in the studio and at outside broadcasts, and the service even extended to live transmissions of the councillors monthly meetings held in the council chamber at Fodderwick. The station also received funding from the council and development corporation along with additional revenue from local advertising. The station's logo and on-air jingle was Radio Basildon...Getting closer to you. It closed down on Friday 14th August, 1987 and was not replaced. In 2007 a new community radio station, Gateway Fm, operating from Kelting House, Basildon, began trialing 28 day intermittant broadcasts on 87.7 FM. In February 2010 they were awarded a five year community radio licence. The station was renamed Gateway97.8 in September 2010 when 24-hour-a-day broadcasting was launched.

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1979

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Tyrrell Court sheltered housing complex in Crest Avenue, Pitsea completed. The development comprised of 35 studio and one bedroomed flats for the elderly.

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Firman's Dairies of Westley Hall, Homestead Drive, Langdon Hills closes. The business, which originated in the 1930s, was founded by Sonny Firman and run as a family concern. Milk deliveries were initially concentrated to the local area though later expanded to include the former Wager's Dairy customer base. Their customer base was acquired by Whife and Sloper of Markhams Chase, Laindon.

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John Byron is appointed as the fourth and final Chief Architect Planner to Basildon Development Corporation. He succeeds Douglas Galloway who had been appointed General Manager of the Corporation in 1978. One of Douglas Galloway's achievements in the post was the iconic spherical stainless steel clock, unveiled in Town Square, Basildon in December 1965.

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Felmore neighbourhood shopping centre at Felmores End completed. Among the first to open is Martin's combined post office and newsagent at No. 8.

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Maydells Court sheltered housing complex in Maydells, Pitsea completed. The development comprised of 48 one and two bedroomed flats for the elderly.

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Rydene Primary School in Ryedene, Vange opened. The new school was built to serve the new Vange housing developments and is of an open-plan split level design.

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February

Sir Reginald Eustace Goodwin, C.B.E., D.L. succeeds Mr. Arthur Kelting as Chairman of Basildon Development Corporation. Arthur Kelting would later give his name to a new office block built in Southernhay called Kelting House.

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March

Langdon Hills Community Centre opened. The new centre in High Road is built to serve the areas growing population following the completion of the Langdon Hills housing estate and other local developments. It was later used as a temporary post office following a fire at the nearby Triangle Centre and on 3rd September 2006 was itself badly damaged in a fire following a period of hire by the Basildon Islamic Centre who subsequently relocated. The centre, known as Triangle Hall, is now home to the Basildon and Laindon branch of the Royal British Legion.

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3rd May

Harvey Proctor (37,919) elected to serve as Conservative member of parliament for the Billericay constituency including Basildon. Mr. Proctor, who had unsuccessfully fought the Hackney South and Shoreditch seat in both of the 1974 elections, won the seat with a 5,180 majority over his labour opponent, three times election winner Eric Moonman, who was standing in his fifth and final election. The count took place in a sports hall. Conservatives win General Election.

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11th September

The Chalvedon Hall public house in Tyefields, Pitsea opens. Purchased in 1977 by Basildon Council for £35,000, the hall, also a listed building, was leased to brewery company Whitbread who converted it to a public house. Following the general decline in the pub trade, it closed down in 2008. It is now under new ownership and following a refurbishment opened to the public again on 22nd January, 2010.

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29th October

Basildon United F.C. hold their "Opening Floodlit Match". The Essex Senior League side, who play at the Stadium in Gardiners Close, had the six new floodlights erected at a cost exceeding £10,000 as part of a series of ground improvements that included new dressing rooms and a refurbished Social Club. The Bee's opponents for the "official" switch on, which got under way at 7:45pm, were League Division 1 side Crystal Palace F.C.

 
Text researched and written by William Cox, 2001 with revisions and additions 2002-2017.
Copyright © 2001-2017, B. Cox - Basildon History Online. All rights reserved.

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