maker since 1770, Yardley, named after founder William Yardley, relocated to Basildon in 1966 after more than 60 years at their former home at
105 Carpenters Road & 32 High Street, Stratford, east London.
Famous worldwide for their
English Lavender perfume range, the company occupied a large purpose built factory in around 19 acres of land
on the Pipps Hill No.2 Industrial Estate at 4 Miles Gray Road. The site included additional warehouse facilities, recreation area - incorporating tennis
courts and football pitch, a boiler house, large car park and from around June 1969, a 4 storey office block.
The buildings modern design earned it a Royal Institute of British Architecture award in 1975,
in the industrial and commercial category.
The company employed a large work force; many
local to Basildon, as well as those rehoused during the 1960s move. Yardley's move to Basildon
had been many years in the planning; having been announced locally in April 1963, and although
some aspects of the site were up and running from 1965 it wasn't until 1966 that the whole factory
was fully operational.
Unfortunately, Yardley incurred financial problems in the mid 1990s,
the result of which saw the company going into receivership in August 1998. This ended in the
sell off of the brand name to the German firm Wella and the complete factory site for re-development
as the Yardley Business Park. An on-site public auction took place over two days on 21st/22nd
April 1999 with over 2,000 lots on offer. Items auctioned included office, computer and packing
equipment, fork lift trucks and complete production lines for lipstick and mascara production.
Following closure, the
production area, canteen, club, office block and boiler house with its
landmark chimney, were all demolished as part of this redevolpment, although the main storage warehouse
was retained and refurbished during 2001/2002.
Most of the recreational land adjacent to Luckyn
Lane, along with parts of the main car park, had already been sold off prior to closure and redeveloped
as a small retail park. The Tile Warehouse was one of the first new businesses to open here in 1999.
Two famous ex
employees are Depeche Mode's lead vocalist Dave Gahan; a globally successful band
whose four original members all lived in Basildon at the time of their formation, and Alison Moyet,
who initially found fame as one half of synthpop duo Yazoo, before embarking on a successful solo career