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A Basildon Chronology
1905   1906   1907   1908   1909


Central Hall at Wash Road, Laindon opened. This small undenominational chapel standing almost directly opposite Barleylands Road on the corner of Central Park Road was built to serve the local plotland community which had sprung up around the turn of the century. The chapel was still in use until around the late 1960s early 1970s, though the congregation was in sharp decline following Basildon Development Corporation's property clearance programme that resulted in a new community being created called Noak Bridge. The church, which during those times became isolated and run down, was later saved and completely renovated and is now unrecognisable from its original structure. It also bears a new name; Noak Bridge Christian Centre.


12th January -
8th February

Mr. Rowland Edward Whitehead elected to serve as Liberal member of parliament for the Essex South Eastern parliamentary constituency - including Basildon. Majority 2,060. Liberals win general election.

6th May

Essex County Automobile Club hold a 'hill climb' competitive race at Langdon Hills. The race, using Old Church Hill with its reportedly 1 in 8 incline, briefly became an annual event before returning in 1922 and was last run in May 1923.

23rd August

The Honey Pot Lane, Basildon tragedy. The double shot gun murders of Albert and Emma Watson by a neighbours son Richard James Buckham, 20, took place in a field farmed by the Buckham's. The Watson's lived in a small two roomed wooden clad bungalow in Honey Pot Lane, an unmade road in the parish of Basildon. The Buckham's lived close by in the same road at Sawyer's Farm, theirs being brick built. That summer, by all accounts, had been very hot with searing temperatures which led to an acute shortage of water, normally collected in water butts off property drain pipes, and it was this that had led the husband and wife to trespass into the neighbouring field to steal water from a 'pond hole' to keep their poultry healthy. They were allegedly 'caught in the act' complete with pails by Buckham, who after challenging them is said to have shot them both from close range. Buckham, along with his younger brother Robert, were both later arrested and charged with the murders. At the subsequent trial held during November at the Essex Autumn Assize the jury found Buckham, who had admitted to killing the couple in self defence, guilty and on the 14th November the judge sentenced him to death by hanging. Despite a plea to the Home Secretary Herbert Gladstone to exercise clemency on the grounds of temporary insanity the execution went ahead on December 4th at H.M. Prison, Springfield, Chelmsford, Essex. His executioner was Henry Albert Pierrepoint from Clayton, Yorkshire, father of later hangman Albert Pierrepoint. His younger brother Robert, though a party to the murder but claimed not to have actually witnessed it, was acquitted at the trial. The Watson's were buried at Great Burstead cemetery on 28th August. The story of the double murder quickly became national news and the bungalow and surrounding fields were besieged by journalists and photographers eager to learn more of the facts. Postcard views of the Watson's bungalow and the 'pond hole' were also soon available taken by well known Chelmsford postcard publisher and photographer Fred Spalding, who was also a witness at the trial.



Nightingale Mission Church at High Road, Langdon hills opened. The Mission Church, which was founded in 1903, previously held their services across the High Road at Nightingale Hall. In 1919 it became a Wesleyan Church through to the 1930s when the building was enlarged by half again. Soon after, the Wesleyan Church re-united with the Primitive Methodist Church and the United Methodist Church to form the Methodist Church of Great Britain, which it remains today. The commemorative foundation stone was laid on April 1st 1907 by Isaac Levy Esq., late of Primrose Lodge, Langdon Hills. In the 1950s a new church was built to the rear of the original building and given a royal opening in 1956. The former church then became a church hall and survives to this day, part of which is now well over a hundred years old.


The General Post Office (G.P.O.) announce plans to extend its telegraph service to Basildon.

9th October

A sale of plots forming the River View Estate at Vange held. The sale, conducted in a marquee erected near the Barge public house, comprised land on the south side of High Road between Ramsey Drive and Freshwater Drive. A typical 120 x 20ft plot was priced at £8. Much of the land was made up of the former Shonks Farm.

20th November

St. Mary the Virgin Mission Hall and Church Institute in High Road, Langdon Hills opened. The building, which was built in association with the church of St. Mary's and All Saints, includes a sacrarium and a harmonium. Its cost, including additional furniture, was around £500 of which £50 was bequeathed by the late Rector, Rev. H.W.L. Robinson. On the front wall is a foundation stone inscribed with the words: To The Glory Of God This Stone was Laid By Miss G.F. Garnham On 7th September 1907. The building is now known as St. Mary's Church Hall.



The Southend Waterworks Company's network of mains water supply now extends to the following parishes: Bowers Gifford, Downham, Great Burstead, Laindon, Nevendon, North Benfleet, Pitsea, Ramsden Bellhouse, Ramsden Crays, Vange and Wickford. Water is stored at Thundersley reservoir with a second reservoir at Billericay nearing completion. The supply is fed from pumping stations at Bowers Gifford, Fobbing, Pitsea.


The Cottis family establish a bakery and confectionery business at Laindon. The business, run by John Godfrey Cottis, who would later serve on Laindon Parish Council, also included shops at Billericay, Langdon Hills and from the early 1960s Kibcaps off The Knares at Lee Chapel South. In the 1990s a street name on the new housing estate at Great Berry in Langdon Hills was named Cottis Close as a reminder of their past ties with the area.


1st March

Pitsea Council School in the High Road opened. The school opened as a Council school and later became Pitsea County Infant & Junior. In September 2003 the infant school was renamed Len Wastell after the popular long serving school governor.

24th October

Pastor George Smith Read establishes the Laindon Baptist Church at the Old Nightingale Hall, Langdon Hills. The hall had previously been the Nightingale Mission Church which moved across the road to a new building in 1907. The baptist church remained here until 1931 when a new church was built in the High Road adjacent to St. Davids Road.

Text researched and written by William Cox, 2001 with revisions and additions 2002-2017.
Copyright © 2001-2017, B. Cox - Basildon History Online. All rights reserved.

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