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A Basildon Chronology
1920   1921   1922   1923   1924


The Laindon, Pitsea and Stanford-le-Hope Advertiser and Railway Time Table launched. The monthly publication was printed and published by E.J. Baigent and Son (later Sons) from their 'Laindon Press' in the High Road. Priced at 1d it ran to over 150 editions featuring advertisements, news stories, parish council meetings and in the 1930s the Picture Theatre's film programme, by which time the front banner had changed to Laindon Advertiser and Railway Time Table. Although surviving examples are rare a November 1923 copy numbered 40 suggests, if the monthly editions ran unbroken, that the 1st edition would be dated August 1920.



Theodore Rowe purchased a dairy and milk delivery round at London Road, Vange. The Rowe family, who originated from Poplar in east London, ran the business until 1952 when it was sold. The family name then continued in business by opening grocery shops at Bull Road, Vange, and later in 1962, Butneys on the Ghyllgrove housing estate, and into the 1970s with a shop at 45 Ballards Walk in Lee Chapel North, run by his son Arthur.


Vange Water Company Limited incorporated. The company, with offices in London at 2 Foster Lane, Cheapside, EC2, was founded by Edwin Cash, a local farmer and former publican, whose well in the parish of Fobbing was said to contain medicinal qualities. It was branded 'Farmer Cash's Famous Medicinal Vange Water' and sold for 2s 3d (12p) a bottle. The original well, which dated from 1898, was joined by another four, all sunk within close proximity of each other, with the fifth being enclosed in a concrete temple like structure. Although the wells were not actually in Vange, they were on the Vange Hall Estate. Unfortunately, for reasons never fully resolved, the venture appeared to run into problems around 1924 and by 1926 the entire site had been put on the market and the company dissolved. The decaying concrete 'temple', which now stands in the One Tree Hill Country Park, and some hard standing are now all that remains.


Bill Watson and Fred Hinton own the first bus in Laindon when they purchase a second hand open top double dekker. The first service, possibly begun in 1922, was to Billericay Hospital via Noak Hill. A second bus joined the fleet, which had become known as Hinton's Laindon & District Motor Services, but by 1924 they had sold out to Tom Webster of Old Tom Motor Services.


Tom Webster establishes a bus service from Laindon Station to Wash Road. Old Tom Motor Services, as his business became known, operated from premises at Manor Road in Laindon until 1936, when he sold out to 'New Empress Saloons Ltd.' - operators of the City services.

19th June

1921 Census statistics for Basildon district now stand at 4,489.



Vange Crystal Well Company finds success with its 'Vange Natural Medicinal Water', which it claims 'sells itself' and is in 'phenomenal' demand. The bottled water was drawn from a 350 foot deep well known as 'The Wonder Well' at Luncies Farm in Luncies Road, Vange. The well it was claimed, was on the main underground medicinal stream. The water was sold in blue labelled bottles at High Street chemists who purchased 12 to a case for 19/- to sell individually at 2s/3d a bottle. The company, which has its head office at 1 Wakering Road, Barking, Essex, claimed the mineral water had been famous locally for over 50 years. Its success prompted an advertising campaign that was extended to all parts of the country with a boast, clearly aimed at local rivals like Edwin Cash from Fobbing, that it was the only water taken direct from the only medicinal well actually situated in Vange, Essex. Despite all the claims and reported sales the venture was wound up the following year and the farm's tenant, Mr. Charles King, filed for bankruptcy in April 1925. The farm itself, which survived until the 1950s, was later acquired by Basildon Development Corporation and now the site of St. Basil's Roman Catholic Church.

15th November

Mr. Frank Hilder elected Conservative MP for the Essex South Eastern parliamentary constituency - including Basildon. Majority 2,063. Conservatives win General Election.

26th November

Vange War Memorial in Paynters Hill unveiled. High Sheriff of Essex, Col. Francis Henry Douglas Charlton Whitmore, C.M.G., D.S.0., J.P., of Orsett Hall, carried out the Sunday unveiling and the 1st Bishop of Chelmsford, The Rt. Rev. John Edwin Watts-Ditchfield undertook the dedication service to the 21 men from the district who fell in the Great War (1914-18). The service was attended by relatives and friends of the fallen. The memorial was made from Cornish granite and took the form of a wayside cross. The names of the 21 men are inscribed on its leading face. It was later removed to the front of St. Chad's Church in Clay Hill Road where it remains to this day.


1st April

The Ministry of Transport publishes the definitive list of Class I and Class II roads. The process of designating Class 1 (A routes) was completed during 1922 and Class II (B routes) by February 1923. Road A13, London to Shoeburyness, was included in the list along with road B1011, the course of which ran from Rectory Road in Pitsea to Wickford via Burnt Mills Road and Nevendon Road. Essex County Surveyors were then tasked with the job of erecting signposts bearing the new numbers.

6th December

Mr. Philip Christopher Hoffman elected to serve as Labour member of parliament for the South-East Essex parliamentary constituency - including Basildon. Majority 1,600. The General Election produced a hung parliament. The Conservative party won the most seats (258) but the first ever Labour government was formed which lasted until October 1924. In winning the seat Mr. Hoffman became the first Labour candidate to represent this constituency in parliament.



Gifford House, a large residential home is built in London Road, Bowers Gifford. The property, built originally for the Rector of Bowers Gifford, John Shaw Bryers and standing in one acre of land, would later acquire singular importance in the Basildon New Town story following acquisition, through a compulsory purchase order, and occupation by Basildon Development Corporation in 1949. Rev. Bryers, who was married with a daughter, lived there until his death in January 1945 aged 70. During the Second World War it was used as a military hospital and prior to the corporation's ownership had been unoccupied after the Council had evicted squatters. During the corporation's occupation it was much altered and housed over 150 of their workforce. It remained their headquarters until 1984 and was further used by their successor the Commission for The New Towns through to 1995. The house was demolished in 2002 and is now the site of Bowers Gifford Care Home.


1st Pitsea and Vange Scout Group formed. They are now based at 1970s built Riverton Hall in Bardfield, Vange and also acknowledged as the oldest scout group still in existence in the Basildon area.


Langdon Hills Women's Institute formed. The Langdon Hills branch of the Women's Institute began their activities at the "Hut Club", a wooden building in Samuel Road used for social events. In 1933 they moved to new headquarters at the former Baptist church at Nightingale Parade, High Road, which they intended to purchase. This appears not to have happened and by 1935 they were once again meeting at the Hut Club where they remain to this day.


A Post Office is established at Henderson's General Stores in Lower Dunton Road, Dunton, between First and Second Avenues. Run as a family concern, a further store & cafe opened at the grassed junction of Hillcrest Avenue and First Avenue in a house called 'Everest'. Although both had closed by the mid 1960s, Everest, which stood on the Dunton Hills estate, was among the last properties to be demolished (following a fire), during the final wave of Development Corporation compulsory purchase orders issued in 1984.


The first Vange telephone exchange entries begin appearing in the Southend Group section of the General Post Office's south east England edition. Rev. Bryers, Bishop's garage of London Road, Campbell's of Station Lane and Saunders bakery were some of the first to get a Vange number.

3rd July

An auction of plots on the Dunton Hills Estate off Lower Dunton Road is held. The auction, conducted in a marquee on the estate, was for the first portion of 183 plots. These were being offered as choice freehold building land on former agricultural farmland. A typical plot measured 120 x 20ft with frontages to First, Second and Hillcrest Avenues.

18th September

First edition of the Laindon Weekly News newspaper appears. Priced at 1d, it is believed to have only lasted 3 or 4 editions. The proprietors, E.J. Baigent and Son of High Road, Laindon, also produced the monthly Laindon Advertiser and Railway Time Table.

14th October

St. Michael's Church Hall in Rectory Lane (now Rectory Road), Pitsea, opened. The new hall, which stands on the north west corner of Wickford Avenue, was built under guidance of the Rector, Rev. Ernest William Grevatt and financed in part by local fund raising events. The Bishop of Chelmsford, (Frederic Sumpter) Guy Warman performed the opening ceremony. It survived to at least the 1980s before being replaced with a single row of terraced housing.

29th October

Mr. Herbert William Looker elected to serve as Unionist member of parliament for the Essex South Eastern parliamentary constituency including Basildon. Majority 5,911. Conservatives win general election.

4th December

The number of children enrolled in education within the parishes of Bowers Gifford, Dunton, Laindon, Pitsea and Vange as of 4th December is as follows, (maximum accommodation is shown in brackets): Bowers Gifford (70), 62; Dunton (40), 47; Laindon (138), 126; Pitsea (264), 336 and Vange (181), 198. The figures for Langdon Hills are currently unknown.
(Source: Annual Report of the Medical Officer of Health, B.R.D.C., 1924.)

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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