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The story of Basildon & District as they were 1937 - 1947 - Part 4
by Thomas Edwards

OLD VANGE

     As we walk along past Craylands School on our right side is a row of about twelve Victorian houses where tall elm trees shaded the land. In the rear of these houses were fruit trees, a tempting sight for the nearby schoolboys. On our left is a house called "Craylands" which stands in its own grounds. Then there follows some fields until a bend in the road takes us to "Stacey's Corner". On the left bend stand four Victorian houses with open fields behind them, and on the right a very large Victorian house stands in its own grounds. So we continue to "Stacey's Corner" which was a coal yard and on the right is Mopsies unmade road leading to fields to Basildon.

     Stacey's Corner is another bend which leads us directly towards Vange passing on our right side some shops and bungalows also on our left more bungalows until we come to Ivy Road which was unmade leading to gypsy caravans in open fields.

     So we continue passing more bungalows on either side until we come to Fairview Road which was laid out in 1935 with nearby Gordon Road. These were modern thirties bungalows which were bombed during the later years in the Second World War not without loss of life. We now pass Parkington Stores on our right before we come to Gordon Road and also on our left we pass Luncies unmade road and the "Welcome Cafe". Then we reach the railway bridge which we travel over and come to another junction at "Gale's Corner" and Timberlog Lane goes on towards Vange. On our right side is Bull Road leading towards Basildon and Langdon Hills. Just on our right is Gale's Corner Post Office and on our left are bungalows with the unmade road called Kent View Road leading to Vange. Gordon Hall Methodist Church is Victorian.

     We pass on towards Vange with some more bungalows on our left and right. As we near Vange itself we come on our left to an open field which served as a fairgound during the summer months, then a small cafe which was built in the First World War serving tea. On our right we passed more bungalows until we came to the junction of the end of Timberlog Lane and the beginning of the A13 or High Road, London Road, Vange itself. The right hand leads onwards to Grays while the left hand onto Southend and directly across facing us is Wharf Lane leading towards Churchill Johnsons sawmills and Vange Creek. On the right side of the junction is the Church Hall built in 1931 and then a row of shops. On our left is the "Barge Inn" a public house which stood there for about 400 years or more. The present Barge is early Victorian but somewhere near it stood the old Barge which was burnt down many years ago.

     We then turn to the left side of the A13 and walk towards Pitsea. On our right is Mills grocery shop which also serves fish and chips. Then we come to an unmade road with Vange Scout Hall and a few isolated bungalows.

     Then Vange High Street begins. On our left is Saunders Bakeries and the Co-Operative stores. Some high Victorian houses are next. The shops continue on our right until we reach an unmade road and on the corner stands within a shop Vange Post Office then more shops until we come to another unmade road called Whytewater Avenue where I used to live in the early thirties. On the left is a few more shops then Kent View Road which leads from Gale's Corner.

     We come now to more open space until we reach the Salvation Army Hall in Aldrige (Woodfield Road?) unmade road.

     On our right we leave the shops behind and reach Vange Fire Station then the Labour Exchange and finally the Working Men's Club and all is open ground with an underground air raid shelter until we reach Chestnut Road and the overhead railway bridge.

     On our left we pass the Salvation Army Hall and Hawthorn unmade road and a few shops then we come to the overhead railway bridge through which the road leads towards Pitsea. The railway bridge was heavily defended during the war with a pillbox on the left side and mine traps in the road. A barbed wire barrier was swung across the road and a nearby machine gun post was placed on the Pitsea side.

Click here to read on

Page added: July 2003
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