The Laindon School (formerly Laindon High Road County
Senior) was opened in 1928.
The school, originally opened as Laindon High Road
Council School, initially provided education for mixed children of school age before becoming
solely secondary in 1933 when Markhams Chase Council School (now Janet Duke Primary) opened. The
schools' name then became Laindon High Road Senior School through to the 1950s.
Amongst the new admissions at the time of opening were 70 children transferred from Laindon Council
School. At the time of the transfer of Janet Duke Primary to the Markhams Chase site a further 50+
children below senior school age were transferred to Laindon Council School (now Laindon Park).
The schools' first Headmaster was Mr. George Radford, who remained in charge until
his retirement in December 1949. His assistant from February 1933 was Janet Duke who taught at the school and who had
charge of the Junior and Infants prior to the opening of Markhams Chase school later that
year. The schools other Headmasters were: Mr. Jack H.J. Woodward (1949 - 1962), who later took charge
at Woodlands Boys' School, Mr. W. Day (1963 - 1966), Mr. Arthur H.J. Chadband (1967 - c.1988), Mr.
Newton (1980s - 1990s), Mr. Brian Gillman (1990s - 1996) and Mr. Michael (Mike) Feehan (January
1997 - August 1998), the schools' last Headmaster (Acting), though by then the post had become Head Teacher. In
1966, following the departure of Mr. Day, Mrs D. Clark was appointed Acting Head.
Sometime around the 1950s the school dropped the "Senior" to became Laindon High Road County Secondary. The education standard at this
time for the majority of mainstream secondary schools
other than Grammar was Secondary Modern. The reorganisation of local education in Basildon from
September 1968 introduced Comprehensive education for all schools in the new town.
years the school has seen various building additions; the most recent in the late sixties, with
each department now being known as a block - the original school becoming L block. T. Block
(temporary) with demountable classrooms was added in the seventies and dismantled when the land
was later sold for a private housing development. In 1931 local landowner and coal merchant Mr.
William Gibbons gave permission to the school for the use of his field for football. Early on
the school also housed the areas library until it relocated sometime in the 1940s to an empty
shop at the southern end of the High Road.
A pupil House Championship was held each year
which from at least 1934 - and possibly from the time the school turned senior, used the names and associated colours Hillsmen (yellow), Plainsmen (blue),
Shoresmen (green) and Townsmen (red). This would later change sometime after July 1968 to include the following:
Fry (Elizabeth Fry), Elgar (Edward William Elgar), Slessor (Mary Slessor), Penn (William Penn), Austen (Jane Austen) and Curie (Marie Curie).
Two later name changes occurred. The first, around the mid 1960s, when the "High Road" wording was removed, and the second in the 1980s when the
word 'The' was added, which it remained until closure. In fact the school's red coloured nameboard at closure simply read 'The Laindon School'. The schools' motto
during the final years was 'Positive attitudes
From the mid 1970s onwards a number of Basildon infant and junior schools began experiencing a fall in pupil numbers. Several
schools like Bryn, Dunton, Nevendon, Springfield and Chowdhary did close and this reduced the numbers applying for places at the town's secondary
schools. In Laindon, both Nicholas and Laindon had seen pupil numbers drop causing concern at Essex County Council who proposed an amalgamation
of the two schools which resulted in the creation of The James Hornsby High School, (named after the last schoolmaster to teach in the St. Nicholas Church annexe).
The Nicholas site was considered the best location for the new school and the Laindon school
finally closed in July 1998.
From September 1998 the school became a temporary home for the James Hornsby High School while the
former Nicholas site in Leinster Road underwent extensive re-furbishment over a two year period. The
last day of education, this was brought forward to allow more time to transfer to the Leinster
Road site, was Friday 7th July, after which the school closed for good.
The swimming pool, opened in
April 1960, was for many years 'open-air', finally receiving a roof in 1972.
The former sixth
form block would later be used by the "Schools Out" pre-school nursery and "First Steps
The future of the school buildings and playing fields appeared undecided for many years with
much of it boarded up. That was until May 2007 when the bulldozers moved in to begin demolition
of the site, including the 1970s built caretakers house, in preparation for a new housing
development to bear the name Radford.
The original school building facing the High Road
was of pre-new town vintage, and joins a long list of notable demolitions to have taken place
since the towns inception.
Building work on the new housing development known as Radford Park
began soon after the schools demolition. This was by property builders Bellway Homes, who acquired
the site from Essex County Council. The former Archer Road school playing field was also lost
to the eventual development.
Notes of interest:
(1) In 1926 the County Education Authority acquired a site at Laindon along the side of the High Road for a new School. Billericay Urban District Council's
Dr. Joseph Douglas Wells, O.B.E., M.B., B.Ch., Medical Officer of Health, stated in his annual report: "The site chosen is not the best one which was available. It is on a
main road which gets a very great deal of motor traffic up and down it, and this constitutes a danger to the children running out from the School. The site
is low-lying, and in the winter very wet indeed. A good bridge is required to make entrances and exits across the wide ditch in the roadside, thus adding to
the expense of the School."
(Source: Annual Report of the Medical Officer of Health, B.R.D.C., 1926.)
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