Basildon: An introduction and brief history
The town of Basildon is located in the county of Essex, 26 miles east of London. It also gives its name to the
Borough which includes the nearby towns of Wickford and Billericay. The correct pronunciation
Basildon was originally designated a 'New Town' following the New
Towns Act of 1946. This was officially confirmed in 1949 and a Government appointed Basildon
Development Corporation was formed and given the task of transforming the designated area into
a modern town. The pre-existing towns of Laindon, Pitsea and Vange, together with Lee Chapel
and parts of Dunton, Langdon Hills and Nevendon were all absorbed into the new development. Up
until development began Basildon had been little more than a small rural village with a scattered population in
1931 of just 1,159.
Basildon was created primarily as an 'overspill' town to relieve the
overpopulated areas of east London, and also to provide essential services and modern
accommodation for the existing population of over 22,000, of which
many were living in properties below the Housing Act standard.
By 1951 the first new tenants
moved into newly completed homes in Redgrave Road, Vange.
Development continued throughout
the 1950s, '60s, '70s and into the 1980s when the development corporation was finally
The town has continued to transform with many new additions in recent years like
the Festival Leisure Park and The Icon apartment block as well as the new Sporting Village which
boasts the only 50 metre swimming pool in Essex.
Basildon is no longer referred to
as a 'new town' and having passed its 60th birthday looks ahead to the future with much promise.
The town is bisected by the direct London (Fenchurch Street) to Shoeburyness rail route with stations at Laindon,
Basildon and Pitsea, which is also the junction for Tilbury and Grays. Services are operated by C2C.
The Basildon district is served by a number of different bus operators. These include Arriva, First,
Clintona and Wickford based Nelson's Independent Bus Services (Nibs).
Basildon is served by two primary routes; the A127, which borders the town on the northern extremity and
the A13, which for the most part skirts the southern housing developments of Vange. Both roads connect
the town with Southend-on-Sea and the London orbital M25 motorway. The A127 is also called Arterial Road
and continues beyond the M25 junction into the London Borough of Havering where it becomes the A12
following the Gallows Corner flyover. The A13, which begins in east London, is also the most direct route
for the Thurrock Lakeside shopping complex.
Basildon: Some facts & figures
The population statistics for Basildon, which includes
Laindon, Langdon Hills, Pitsea and Vange are: 102.400 (Source: 2001 Census).
The overall population of the Basildon Borough which includes Billericay, Bowers Gifford,
Crays Hill, Great Burstead, Little Burstead, North Benfleet, Ramsden Bellhouse, Shotgate and Wickford
is 174.500 (Source: 2011 Census).
The population of Essex at the time of the last Census count on 27th March,
2011 was 1,393,600. Basildon is the largest populated borough in the county and covers an
area of 42.5 square miles (110.02 kilometres). 70% of the district is rural with much of this designated as
open farmland. There are eight parish and town councils in the Basildon Borough. These are:
Billericay, Bowers Gifford & North Benfleet, Great Burstead & South Green, Little
Burstead, Noak Bridge, Ramsden Bellhouse, Ramsden Crays and Shotgate.
Basildon Borough Boundaries To the east it borders the District of Rochford, to the west it
borders the Borough of Brentwood, to the south the borough has a boundary with the Unitary Borough of Thurrock and
in the south east it borders the Borough of Castle Point
and to the north it borders the Borough of Chelmsford.
Earliest Reference Basildon was
first mentioned in the Domesday survey of 1086 as Berlesduna and being in the Barstable
Hundred, but for centuries was little more than a small village before being designated a new town. Its small population was mainly
centred around the area of Church Road, close to Holy Cross Church. Variant spellings of
Basildon through the years have included: Batlesdon, Basseldon and Bassendon. The name
Basildon is of Saxon origin meaning Beorhtel's Hill. It covers an area roughly 7.818
acres. The highest point is at Langdon Hills, notable also as the second highest point in
Essex at 384 feet (117.0432 metres) above sea level and the lowest point at 5 feet (1.52400 metres)ia
at Bowers Gifford marshes.
Local Area History
If you are interested to learn about local history there is a Basildon
History website that covers the following areas: Basildon - Dunton - Laindon - Langdon Hills - Nevendon - Pitsea - Vange. Click
the link below or anywhere on the signpost image.
Click Here For Some Local History Basildon Timeline
1855 - Pitsea Railway Station opened.
1949 - Basildon is officially designated a 'new town'.
1953 - 1,000th new home built at Denys Drive, Fryerns.
1957 - Gloucester Park parkland opened.
1958 - First Town Centre shops and Basildon Market opens.
1962 - Brooke House, the town's tallest building completed.
1962 - Mother and Child Fountain in Town Square unveiled.
1973 - Basildon Hospital opens.
1984 - Wat Tyler Country Park in Pitsea opened.
1989 - The Basildon Centre in St. Martin's Square opened.
1997 - Festival Leisure Park opened.
1999 - Westgate Shopping Park opened.
2008 - The Icon luxury apartment block in Southernhay completed.
2010 - Basildon District Council becomes Basildon Borough Council.
2011 - Basildon Sporting Village opened.
Basildon town centre is a large pedestrianised shopping precinct that includes the Eastgate
indoor shopping centre - home to Debenhams department store, H.M.V. and a host
of other top retail names - and the recently completed Westgate Shopping Park. At Pitsea is
Tesco Extra, and there are also a number of retail parks like Pipps Hill and Mayflower.
The town also has two markets. Basildon, which operates every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and Pitsea,
which operates every Wednesday, Friday (second hand only), Saturday and Sunday.
Festival Leisure Park
Located in the north of the town off Cranes Farm Road is the Festival Leisure Park. Attractions
began opening in 1997 and now include a 12 screen cinema, David Lloyd health and fitness club,
Hollywood Bowl, New York New York, Jumpin Jaks (now JJ's), Liquid, Envy, McDonald's, Pizza Hut,
Fitness First, TGI Friday's American bar and restaurant, a Travelodge Hotel and many
more. The leisure park is affectionately known locally as Bas Vegas.
The Towngate Theatre located in St. Martin's Square provides a wide range of entertainment
that includes theatrical productions and live attractions from popular groups to stand-up
comedy. The main auditorium has seating for over 550 and the Mirren Studio seats 150 though
both figures can be comfortably exceeded when used in flat floor configuration.
Industry and Employment
There are four main industrial estates, or enterprise parks as they are now known, in the
town. These are at Burnt Mills, Nevendon, Pipps Hill and
Southfields. Two small estates exist at Laindon. Motor vehicle manufacturer Ford continue to
have a strong presence in the town with a Technical Centre and test track at Dunton. Case New
Holland provide employment for a large workforce at their tractor plant based at
Cranes Farm Road and general goods retailer Argos located to a new purpose built distribution centre at
Gloucester Park is the largest park with an area covering around 250 acres. Situated at the
northern end is the Basildon Sporting Village where indoor facilities include a 50 metre
international size swimming pool, large sports hall, a regional gymnastics centre, fitness
centre, multi purpose studio, climbing wall and a café. Amongst the outside attractions
are an athletics stadium, six floodlit five-a-side artificial pitches, twelve national standard
netball courts, cricket and football pitches and a fishing lake. Annual events held in the
park include a firework display and 'Basfest', a free festival of arts and music held there since 2001.
Countryside walks can be enjoyed in over 450 acres of Nature Trail beginning at Dunton Hills
in the south-west corner, continuing through the woodland of Lincewood to Marks Hill and
finally to Willow Park. Langdon Hills Country Park with its views of the Thames and beyond is
another popular attraction, as is the Wat Tyler Country Park at Pitsea. Set in 125 acres
of unspoilt countryside, the park boasts an adventure playground, marina, art and craft
shops, sculpture trail, tudor houses, visitor centre and a 10.25" miniature narrow gauge railway.
Basildon also has an 18 hole municipal golf course covering 164 acres.
Politics: Since 2010 Basildon has elected two members of parliament. Stephen
Metcalfe (Conservative) represents the Basildon South & Thurrock East constituency and
John Baron (Conservative) represents the Basildon & Billericay constituency. The borough
also has 42 publicly elected councillors led by Tony Ball. The current encumbent Mayor is Mo Larkin.
Since 1999 the Basildon Borough area now falls within the East of England European Parliamentary
constituency represented by the Labour M.E.P. Richard Howitt.
Postcodes: Postcodes covering the Basildon area: SS13, SS14, SS15 and SS16.
Telephone dialling code: Dialling code for the Basildon area: 01268.
Basildon is twinned with Heiligenhaus in Germany and Meaux in France and has an international
relationship with Gweru, a city in Zimbabwe.
If you require contact information for some of the local services and amenities available, you might find the Basildon
resources webpage useful. There is also a Site Map to
help with navigation.
Important Information: This domain name and website, otherwise known as Basildon.Com, is privately owned and maintained and is not
affiliated in any way with any local authority or borough council.