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The story of Basildon & District as they were 1937 - 1947 - Part 7
by Thomas Edwards

BACK TO BASILDON

     Now we return to Gale's Corner and begin the end of our walking tour to go back to Basildon where we started out.

     Right on the right side of Bull Road where the junction is is Railway Cottages named after the Railway behind them and one of them was a workhouse in Victorian times.

     Next came shops, then "The Bull" public house and Southview Road unmade road, also more shops then two old houses. On our left is Gales Corner shop, a somewhat huge gloomy one and then about four fields of which one was used as a fairground.

     Modern bungalows and roads of the thirties stretched along and beyond and towards Vange until we come to a few more fields. Also on our right were very few bungalows until we reach the junction leading to Langdon Hills and Church Road.

     So we take Church Road on our right and turn into the area of Basildon. Here at the junction around us on both sides of the road are fields and bungalows until we approach the railway bridge.

     On our right we come to an unmade road of St. James; nothing is on the other until we cross over the railway bridge. Here on our right is a small Post Office and shop and a concrete road which leads to Gordon Road. Also along this side is a built up bungalow area of the thirties. On our left side are different bungalows of different shapes leading up to "Joeatta" Poultry Farm, the first farm on the outskirts of Basildon and on our right we pass two open fields then about four houses built in the thirties and leading onwards to more poultry farms and fruit trees.

     On our left passing "Joeatta" Poultry Farm is the unmade road called "Honeypot Lane" where there was a murder commited. Then follows a shop, two more poultry farms, then a bungalow then some open fields with Holy Cross Church in site.

     On our right we pass one poultry farm and then open fields with two old wooden cottages and the unmade road leading up to the Moat House Farm. Then we reach Holy Cross Church so our walking tour of Old Basildon and District is over.

MY COMMENTS ON BASILDON

I have a lot to say against the New Town of Basildon and also some for it. But having lived in the area all my life I must confess that I am sorry that I could not mention Laindon which also forms a part of Basildon. Although I was born within sight of St. Nicholas Church I did not live there, but we moved to Vange in the early thirties; then to Nevendon then finally back to Vange where I am living now.

Laindon never attracted me much, I saw the High Road now and again and also as a boy nearly got killed by a bomb in Lee Chapel which were fields then.

Basildon would have looked better if it were carefully laid out and planned. However there was a reckless mad rush in 1948 to build a New Town and in that mad rush it destroyed its own soul by destroying nearly or almost all its historical buildings and landmarks which is a shame and a crying pity for future generations.

I wondered why often the town centre kept changing itself (it has changed itself six times already)!

Still, I lived and witnessed the changes around me and came through it all. But unfortunately Old Basildon together with Nevendon has been completely swept away for ever; also the farms and green fields. Perhaps in God's good time ahead of us we will witness the end of Basildon New Town!

FINAL WORDS

Old Basildon and Nevendon were never like plotlands in Laindon (Dunton); they were solid brick or asbestos permanent homes. As such they were denied the right compensation for them. It is absurd for the New Town to dismiss these homes as shanty towns or shacks. As many a true old Basildonian would say "Who are you trying to kid Guv'nor?"

Title: The story of Basildon & District as they were 1937 - 1947 by Thomas Edwards.

Source: Local Studies section - Basildon Central Library, St. Martin's Square, Basildon.

Comments: This account is reproduced in its entirety, unedited and unabridged.

Unfortunately Thomas' account of Basildon & District as they were 1937 - 1947 was undated but had been in the 'local history' section at Basildon Library for many years prior to appearing on this website in 2003. He also contributed to A Century of Basildon by Marion Hill, published in 2000.

Thomas John Edwards passed away on 17th October, 2006 and is buried in the churchyard at St. Peter's Church, Nevendon.

Page added: July 2003
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