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A Basildon Chronology
1925   1926   1927   1928   1929


The 'new' Fortune of War Hotel public house opens. This public house, sited at the Laindon crossroads on the Southend bound carriageway side of the A127 London to Southend Arterial Road, was built to replace an earlier building known as the 'Fortune of War Inn' that still stands (though no longer a public house) at the northern end of High Road in Wash Road West, Laindon. During the 1980s it had a name change to The Hustlers before spending its final years as 'The Fortune'. It closed in August 2003 and was demolished during September/October 2003. The site now comprises residential homes and flats. In 1939 the Laindon crossroads was replaced with a roundabout which became known as the Fortune of War. In 1995 the roundabout was closed to right turns but the junction still bears the name of the former public house.


Essex County Council begin monthly clinic and treatment sessions at Manor Hall in High Road, Laindon. These are attended by a Health Visitor, School Medical Officers and district Nurses. In 1932 a permanent Combined Treatment Centre was built in Langdon Hills which came directly under County Council control in 1936.
(Source: Annual Report of the Medical Officer of Health, B.R.D.C., 1926.)


The first Pitsea Market is opened on land at Station Lane. The market survived at this site until 1969 by which time it had grown to 200 stalls and a hire charge of 10/- (50p) a stall per day. During this time it was operated by Basildon Development Corporation who moved it in February 1969 to the former Howard's field on the south side of the High Road where it remained until the late 1970s when it was moved again, this time to Northlands Pavement to the rear of the Railway Hotel public house and Broadway North shops on land abounding the former Northlands Park Drive. Ownership was later transferred to the Commission For The New Towns who in 1994 sold it to a private company. In 2014 as part of a second Pitsea town centre regeneration it was moved to a fourth location called Market Square, on the site of the former Railway Hotel public house demolished the previous year.

25th March

London to Southend A127 Arterial Road opened by H.R.H. Prince Henry. Work on building the new purpose built road, the first of its kind in England, began in 1921 and opened in stages. It was considered the longest length of road constructed since the Roman occupation and its cost was put at around £1¼ million. The Prince began the open day route at the Essex county boundary at Lea Bridge and ribbon cutting ceremonies were then held at Red Bridge, Wanstead; Harold Wood railway bridge and another at Rayleigh Weir where the Prince, 3rd son of King George V, then departed for Southend to conclude the event. Initially single carriageway through Basildon, it was later duelled and a cycle path added around 1937. In 1936 it became a Trunk Road as defined under the new Trunk Roads Act 1936. A realignment of the section between the Dunton Wayletts junction and the Nevendon A132 junction was proposed in the 1990s, but was rejected on a number of issues.


Roman Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart in London Road, Vange opened. It was located on the south side of London Road on the corner of Woodleigh Avenue. The Bishop of Brentwood, Right Rev. Arthur Doubleday dedicated the new church which was largely built due to the efforts of Rev. Father Snell, priest-in-charge. The church fell within the Billericay registration district and was registered on 5th July, 1926 for solemnizing marriages. The church was still active and conducting marriages beyond 1972 but would later close following plans to transform the area. The properties of Ryedene Close now cover the site where the church once stood.


St. Teresa's Church in High Road, Langdon Hills opened. This small Roman Catholic church built mainly of timber and painted white stood between Alexander Road and St. Davids Road. The chapel had been used for daily Mass at the British Empire Exhibition of 1924-1925 at Wembley before being transferred to Langdon Hills. It was later registered for the soleminizing of marriages; effective from 4th November 1949. The church survived until 1991 when a new church - known as the Church of St. Therese of Lisieux - was opened at Florence Way, Langdon Hills. Prior to its construction, from around 1915, Mass had been celebrated in a family home in Laindon by the Parish Priest of Billericay. The gardens of detached houses in Alexander Road now cover the site of the former church.


3rd April

Manor Mission in Manor Road, Laindon, opened. The Mission, which was founded after the First World War as an undenominational church, had secured the site the previous year from a local landowner. It was built at a cost of around £600 by A.M.A. Portable and Permanent Building Works Ltd of Laindon. Prior to opening, services had been held at Manor Hall, a small building in the High Road. County Councillor Alfred Brooks, J.P., of Goldsmiths, Langdon Hills performed the opening ceremony.

2nd August

Langdon Hills Recreation Ground in New Avenue, Langdon Hills opened. The Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Lord Lambourne carried out the opening ceremony. The park, which is owned and maintained by the local council, was later expanded with the addition of tennis courts on land that had been dense woodland. A later feature, added in 1948, was a child's paddling pool and fountain, though this would be filled in sometime in the 1980s.


The number of new houses recorded in each parish for the year ending 1926 was 410. Each parish taken individually is as follows: Basildon, 20; Dunton, 17; Laindon, 164; Lee Chapel, 43; Nevendon, 6; Pitsea, 93 and Vange, 67. The statistics for Langdon Hills are currently unknown.
(Source: Annual Report of the Medical Officer of Health, B.R.D.C., 1926.)



The Jolly Cricketers public house in Nevendon opened. It replaced an earlier pub of the same name that once stood in Nevendon Road. It was resited to take advantage of the recently opened A127, Southend Arterial Road. Its direct position facing the London bound carriageway of the A127 changed in the early 1970s when the Nevendon flyover was constructed though for many years could still be accessed via Nevendon Road. It remained open until 2002 and was later acquired for redevelopment. A fire in 2003 destroyed much of the building which was demolished soon after in September 2003. Business units have now replaced the former pub.


Pitsea Congregational Church in Rectory Park Drive opened. Previously services were held at the former congregational hall in London Road, Bowers Gifford. The new church building, situated in the civil parish of Pitsea, from 14th November, 1927 was registered for solemnizing marriages. Sometime around 1958 the church ceased to be used as a place of worship and from 25th February, 1959 the church was no longer registered to perform weddings. The branch, which had now become Pitsea and Basildon Congregational Church, relocated in January 1960 to new purpose built premises at Honeypot Lane, Basildon. The Rectory Park Drive building then fell into a bad state of repair and was demolished in 1962.


Phoenix Hall in High Road, Laindon known to have existed. The hall, which was capable of holding over 100 people, was available for the private hire of concerts and dances, and had a Lending Library attached. The women's section of the British Legion were regular users as were members of the British Legion Sports Club along with other local organisations. The hall had a secretary which suggests there may have been a committee but little else is known about it including its location in High Road. It was probably built from wood and may have had weatherproofing in the form of corrugated sheeting. It stood until 1929 when it was destroyed in a fire.


Nevendon Council Primary School in Burnt Mills Road opened. The new school replaces an earlier National Society school opened in the 1880s that stood in Nevendon Road. Building contractor T.J. Bailey of Chelmsford was awarded the building contract.


The Railway Hotel public house in High Road Pitsea opened. The Railway Hotel was built as a larger replacement for an earlier pub, also called the Railway Hotel, which dated to 1859 and stood further east. Local landowner and founder of Howard's Dairies Harold Howard provided the site and the public house, which was built in a mock Tudor style, was opened by brewers Ind Coope & Allsopp. Its facilities included a banquet hall and from August 1928 a bowls green. It closed in 2006 and remained empty until 2013 when it was demolished to provide a new site for the market as part of another Pitsea regeneration.

12th March

The Laindon and Lee Chapel Hall officially opened. Herbert Looker, Unionist M.P. for the South East Essex constituency was guest of honour and performed the opening ceremony. The idea for a new hall, to commemorate the safe return of Laindon men from the Great War (1914-1918), began in 1919 with the eventual aim to place a stone within the grounds in remembrance of those that did not return.

6th June

A Laindon carnival is held. The carnival, which was organised by the Laindon Philanthropic Society, may have been one of the earliest carnivals to take place in Laindon. Prizes were given for the best fancy dress and original dress and to those with the best decorated vehicle and one-horse tableau, and for the best original vehicle. Mothers also received an award for the best looking baby. The days activities also included sporting events and a concert. The Laindon carnival would become an annual event, excepting the period 1940-1950 which included the war years, until being superseded by the Basildon Carnival, which launched around 1957.


Vange and Pitsea Working Men's Social Club at High Road, Vange opened. The site, which was purchased the previous year, was once part of the former Kiln Farm. The president of Aveley Working Men's Club, Mr. A. Sack, performed the opening ceremony which was followed by a concert and a game of billiards. The club is still active and a notable venue for live entertainment.

26th October

A purpose-built Sanatorium for children suffering from tuberculosis opens at Dry Street in Langdon Hills. The new health facility known as West Ham Sanatorium was opened by the Mayor of West Ham, Alderman Ernest James Reed, whose council had purchased the 100 acre site, including a large farmhouse. Years later in the 1950s the hospital closed and from the early 1960s to the 2000s the buildings found a new use - this time for dogs - as the privately owned Wootton House Boarding Kennels. In 1964 much of the grounds were purchased by Essex County Council for conservation.



Edward George Hickley establishes an electrical business from Hebron, Chestnut Road, Pitsea. The business would later become Hickley & Sons and expanded into motor repairs and garage services at their Elmcroft Works at Bridge Parade in High Road, Pitsea. The electrical business, which for a time was at Kiln Road, Thundersley, was in an adjacent shop offering radio/television sales and repair. Around 1960 further household electrical shops opened at 60 High Road, Vange and 2 Broadway North. The electrical outlet also later took over Unit E at the former Basildon Development Corporation/Commission for the New Towns housing maintenance premises & area rent office off Great Knightleys at Lee Chapel North when they vacated in the early 1990s. They survived until at least the mid 1990s. The former maintenance depot was later demolished and a small development of 7 residential houses named Swan Close was built in its place.

22nd March

The War Department purchase land at Marsh Road, Pitsea. The land, which included a wharf at Vange Creek and buildings previously used by the British Explosives Syndicate (later Nobel Explosives Company), would be used as a Sea Transport Supply Depot. The site was later purchased in the 1960s by Basildon Urban District Council who by 1984 had transformed the land into Wat Tyler Country Park.

7th May

Laindon High Road Council School opened. The school, situated in High Road, Laindon, originally took pupils of all ages until 1933 when a new primary school opened at Markhams Chase. The school became a secondary modern until the reorganisation of secondary education which changed its status to comprehensive from September 1968. The first headmaster was Mr. George Radford who remained in charge until retiring in 1949. The school closed in August 1998 and for two years became the site of the James Hornsby High School. When that school moved into the refurbished former Nicholas School the majority of the school remained unused and was finally sold by Essex County Council and demolished in May 2007. A housing estate built by Bellway Homes and named Radford Park now stands on the site of the former school.

28th July

Laindon Park Country Club opened. Local M.P. Mr. Herbert Looker officially opened the club, situated in Basildon Road, Laindon, which had a membership of around 200. The premises comprised a ballroom, provision for billiards, a verandah on three sides and a licensed bar. It was intended to open from 11:00am through to midnight including Sundays. Around 1936 the club had its first change of name becoming Basildon Country Club and a further change to Essex Country Club took it from the 1940s into the 1960s. In November 1968 it become the Irish Club through to the 1980s and possibly the 1990s when it reverted back to Essex Country Club and remained so through to closure and subsequent demolition for private housing sometime around the late 1990s. To the rear was a large field enclosed on three sides by thick woodland which was used by Laindon Cricket Club and as a football pitch and training ground.

18th November

The Pitsea War Memorial unveiled. It was presented to Pitsea by dairy farmer and landowner Harold George Howard, who also bore its cost, and sited on its own island in the centre of Station Lane at its junction with the High Road. The unveiling ceremony and dedication service was performed by guest of honour Sir Ernest Beachcroft Beckwith Towse V.C., K.C.V.O., C.B.E., (23/04/1864 – 21/06/1948) and the Rector of Pitsea, E.W. Grevatt. Erected to the memory of the men from Pitsea and Bowers Gifford who fell in the Great War, it takes the form of a figure representing life holding a torch of truth and carrying an olive branch in the other hand. The column on which the figure stands is of Cornish granite and the torch, held in the right hand, was illuminated at night. The memorial was one of a number of choices proposed that included a clock tower or monument and a recreation ground. The War Memorial was later moved in 1969 to Howard Park where it remains to this day.



A police office at the new Arterial Road at Laindon known to have existed. Sometime in the mid 1930s an office opened at Victoria Road which was later enlarged when a permanent station was built around 1939/1940. This would survive to November 1967 when it closed following centralisation of operations to Great Oaks in Basildon.


Dunton Council Primary School in Lower Dunton Road, Dunton opened. The new school replaced an earlier one - also in Lower Dunton Road - dating to 1843 that was considered no longer fit for purpose. It was built at a cost of over £4,000 by Messrs. T.J. Bailey of Chelmsford, who had earlier built Nevendon Council School. The school, which soon became a 'County Primary', survived to 1977 when falling pupil numbers forced its closure. It is now a private residence called Dunton Grange. The original school was later sold and is now a private residence and appropriately called 'The Old School House'.


Langdon Hills resident Joseph Toomey opens a new business selling motor cycles called Laindon Accumulators. In 1932 this had become the National Accumulator Service Station which was based in the High Road. From the same location the business expanded and on 1st January 1938 J. Toomey Motors Ltd became a registered company and later a main agent for Vauxhall and Bedford vehicles. The company, now one of the oldest family run businesses in Essex, is now based at West Mayne and part of the Laindon Holdings group of companies.

28th February

Eastern National Omnibus Company Ltd. registered as a limited company. The bus operator, which took over routes previously operated by National, first began introducing routes within Basildon in 1954. Earlier in 1951 a small depot for around 25 buses opened in Bull Road, Vange followed in 1961 by a new larger purpose built garage at Cherrydown (now Cherrydown East). In October 1986 the services routes were deregulated and the company withdrew from Basildon in 1990. A new company, Thamesway, then took over the Cherrydown depot and service routes.


The Laindon Picture Theatre opens in High Road, Laindon. Later renamed the Radion, it provided seating for 680 people and a stage where variety shows would often take place. The cinema would remain open until 1969 when the building was demolished to make way for the expansion of High Road between Somerset Road and St. Nicholas Lane from single carriageway to dual carriageway. A new Laindon library building now occupies the remainder of the original site.

30th May

Mr. John "Jack" Richard Oldfield elected to serve as Labour member of parliament for the Essex South Eastern parliamentary constituency - including Basildon. Majority 626. The general election produced a hung parliament. The Labour Party won the most seats (287) and a second minority Labour government was formed. This election was also notable as the first instance that women between the ages 21–29 were allowed to vote.

23rd October

Wesleyan School Church in Brackendale Avenue opened. The laying of the foundation stones, thirteen in all, took place on Wednesday May 22nd where the Rector of St. Michael's, Rev. E.W. Grevatt appealed for unity among the various bodies of the Christian Church. From 09/12/1930 the church was registered for the solemnisation of marriages. Around 1979 the church, now known as Pitsea Methodist, relocated to Oakdene Road (becoming Felmore Methodist Church) and from 09/06/1980 the church was no longer certified as a place of worship. The building is now Pitsea Mount Community Centre.


St. Nicholas' Church Institute in Nicholas Lane, Laindon opened. The small hall stood on the south side of Nicholas Lane close to the junction with High Road. The opening was performed by the Archdeacon of Southend, the Venerable Percy Baynes in a service conducted by the Rector of Laindon-cum-Basildon Rev. Michael Lake. In 1934 a small church was built on the opposite side of Nicholas Lane called St. Peter's and the hall became known as St. Peter's Hall. It survived to the 1960s and was used for a time as the Laindon Sub-Office for registering births, deaths and marriages.

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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