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A Basildon Chronology
1930   1931   1932   1933   1934


The Basildon Operatic Society founded as St. Mary's Athletics Club by the choirmaster at St. Mary's Church, Langdon Hills Mr. William "Pop" Holland. "Pop" Holland, of Berry Lane, and members of the choir performed their first production, Gilbert and Sullivan's "Pirates of Penzance" at St. Mary's Church Institute Hall. In 1933 the company changed their name to Laindon and District Amateur Operatic Society which they used until changing to Basildon Amateur Operatic Society in the early 1960s. Their present name dates from the 1990s. Early pre-war performances were held at Laindon High Road School and later Laindon Community Centre and the Arts Centre at Basildon, which from 1968 became their base for many years.


St. Michael's Mission Church in Salisbury Avenue, Lee Chapel opened. This small church was in use to 1935 when a new church with the same name was built to the north of the railway in Green Lane. A church Sunday school was established here and the Berry Athletic Boxing Club were also known to have used the building for training purposes. It survived to the late 1960s. Mandeville Way now passes through the former course of Salisbury Avenue.


Billericay Rural District Council builds its first houses in Laindon. The twelve three bedroomed semi-detached houses at Green Lane were the first rental properties to be constructed in Laindon on behalf of the local council. Around 1933 following the opening of Markhams Chase Primary School the road was renamed Markhams Chase, and later still in 1963, during the construction of the Lee Chapel North housing developments, the original course of the road was diverted away from St. Nicholas Lane to a new junction with Ballards Walk. This left the houses in their own cul-de-sac which was then renamed Weymarks, which it remains today. The houses, originally numbered 1-12 inclusive, are now over 80 years old having survived Basildon Development Corporation's 1950s/1960s demolition programme, though following the council's right-to-buy some are now in private ownership.

28th March

The Broadway Cinema in High Road, Pitsea opens. With seating for 700 and a stage the theatre was able to provide variety shows as well as a varied film programme. During the 1940s it became part of the local Radion group of cinemas, and by 1954 had been acquired by Granada Theatres Ltd. who renamed it Century in February 1955. It closed as a cinema in October 1970 and was in use as a bingo hall until July 27th, 2009 when current owners Gala Coral decided to close their Pitsea club. Outwardly the buildings appearance remains little altered from when it was first built. It was designed by the architect team of A.J. Varndell and L.A. Green.

9th May

(Irene) Joan (Marion) Sims, 09/05/1930 - 28/06/2001, born at Station House, Laindon. The popular actress of Stage, Screen and T.V. was the only child of Gladys (née Ladbrook) and John Henry Sims, the station master and lived at Station House until 1952 by which time her acting career, (which had included 1940s "Langdon Players" productions), was well established. She appeared in over 70 films and is perhaps best remembered as a regular member of the 'Carry On' team, appearing in 24 of the 30 films made between 1958-1992.

1st August

The Laindon Recorder newspaper first published. This popular weekly broadsheet paper continued through to 1953 when it became the Basildon Recorder; switching to tabloid size around 1957. It was once owned by Essex Publishing Company of Wanstead but is now part of 'Echo Newspapers' and called 'Basildon Billericay Wickford Recorder'. In the 1950s it was available every Wednesday, changing to Friday following the merger with the Basildon Standard, and remains so today being available either at selected outlets or delivered free to households in the borough.

13th October

St. Nicholas Church Hall destroyed by fire. The hall, which was built in 1923, was of wooden construction and heated by a large combustion stove with the chimney pipe exiting through the roof. It stood at the top of Church Hill (St. Nicholas Lane) adjoining the grounds of St. Nicholas Church in what is now the church car park. The fire is alleged to have originated in the stove's chimney pipe which overheated causing the roof to ignite. At the time of the fire, and on that day, the hall had been in use for many years as an annexe to the nearby Laindon Council School. There were no casualties. During the Second World War a pill box was constructed close to the site of the former hall. This was later removed either during the 1980s or 1990s. A new brick built church hall was constructed the following year in Doves Hill, off Pound Lane.



The new St. Nicholas Church Hall completed. The brick built hall stood at the top of Doves Hill, a short steep unmade turning off Pound Lane. It replaced an earlier wooden built parish hall destroyed by fire the previous year. A foundation stone was laid in November 1930 by Mrs. Alexandra Brooks of Goldsmiths, Langdon Hills. The hall was in use for various activities including playgroups, wedding receptions and as a rehearsal facility for musical and majorette groups etc., though not as the previous hall had done, as a school annexe. It survived through to the late 1980s or early 1990s but had been a constant target for vandalism due to its remote location. Following its demolition the land upon which it stood has now been left to nature.


The level crossing at the western approach to Laindon railway station known to have been closed off. The public/occupation crossing, which was believed to date from the opening of the line and station in 1888, linked High Road (via a pathway and steps) and Denbigh Road (later Wrexham Road), adjacent to the since demolished terrace of 8 railway staff cottages, to a pathway and track that led to Berry Lane (this location since renamed Berry Close due to development), of which the latter section would later take the name Beatrice Road. The extinguished right of way, which crossed 3 lines (one of which was a short siding), was previously maintained by the line operator London, Midland and Scottish Railway. Its closure necessitated a re-routing of the footpath on the southern side, some of which would then run parallel with Bristow Road, to a new exit to High Road via some white painted wooden steps, the design of which had a short flat area mid way up to off set the steep incline. The steps, and much of the footpath were later lost in the late 1980s during the construction of Mandeville Way, although new replacement concrete steps were provided for pedestrian use.

26th April

Population Census for Basildon district; 12,968.

8th August

Laindon Baptist Church in High Road, Langdon Hills, opening ceremony held. The church was originally on the opposite side of High Road next to the Nightingale Parade shops. The new site had been secured back in 1923 with a £200 loan which was paid back through fund raising activities organised by Pastor Charles E. Becket. There is a stone on the front exterior wall inscribed with the words: To The Glory Of God This Stone Was Laid By Rev. T.W. Shepherd On Behalf Of The Church May 25th 1931.

3rd October

The Memorial Church at One Tree Hill, Langdon Hills opened. It replaced a small wooden mission hall that had been used for approximately 50 years that once stood in Dry Street. A stone laying ceremony also took place before the official opening where Mrs. Church, the daughter of Mr. T.W. Cook, of Leigh on Sea who paid for the building, opened the church door with a special key. In the 1950s a church hall was added along with other additional facilities through the years. Rev. T. W. Shepherd of Laindon Baptist Church attended the ceremony where he read prayers. Today the church is classed as Interdenominational with no affiliations to any particular Christian denomination. From 26th October, 1933 the church was duly registered for solemnizing marriages. At that time it stood in the Parish of Fobbing.

27th October

Mr. Victor Raikes (later Sir) (30,436) elected Conservative member of parliament for the Essex South Eastern constituency - including Basildon. He took the seat with a majority of 10,370 from Labour's John "Jack" Oldfield, who held it from May 1929. Mr. Raikes had previously stood twice at Ilkeston in Derbyshire in 1924 and 1929, where he was beaten on each occasion by Labour's George Oliver. Conservatives win General Election.



Land at Westley Heights, Langdon Hills is purchased by Essex County Council for use a public open space. Further acquisitions included Hall Wood in 1933, parts of One Tree Hill (60 acres and a cottage) in 1934, Great Sutton Wood and Old Hill in 1944 and Coombe Wood in 1955. In 1973 much of these areas were declared Country Parks.


Langdon Hills resident Sonny Firman establishes a milk delivery service. The Langdon Hills milk round business was founded by Sonny Firman and run from the Model Dairy at Westley Hall, Homestead Drive. Advertised as S.R. Firman "The Reliable Milk Service", the family run business began with a horse and cart and eventually grew to take in much of the surrounding area. The business survived into the 1970s, when as Firman's Diaries, it was taken over by Whife & Sloper of Hazeldene, Markhams Chase, Laindon.


Pitsea Baptist Church in London Road opened. Its origins are believed to have begun as a breakaway group from the Pitsea Congregational Church. Ernest Lassetter was the (Honorary) Pastor from around 1934. The chapel stands behind a residential property off a small pathway off London Road between Fairleigh Road and The Bull public house. It is long and rectangular in design and had seating for around 150 people. It is not yet known if it was licensed for marriages. It is believed to have closed sometime in 1962. The building is still in existence and is privately owned - now accessed from a driveway - having been converted to a carpenter's workshop which it remained for many years and may still be a workshop of some description today.


Holy Cross Church Hall in Rectory Road, Basildon opened. The parish hall, which stood close to the junction with Church Road, was built under the guidance of the Rector of Laindon-cum-Basildon, Rev. M.N. Lake. A service for the laying of the foundation stone had earlier been held on 20th August. The hall, Church Road junction, and that section of Rectory Road is now lost to the Tractor Plant factory, completed in 1964.


Langdon Hills Wesleyan Church extension completed. The original building dates from 1907 when the Nightingale Mission Church moved across High Road from Nightingale Hall. The enlarged church, which was built at a cost of around £1000, survived to 1956 when a new Methodist church was constructed to the rear of the building. Nineteen foundation stones decorate two of the outer walls, one of which was laid on behalf of the trustees on 18th June, 1932. The former church is now used as a church hall.

15th January

Salvation Army Hall at Northumberland Avenue, Laindon is certified as a place of worship. The building, which stood on the eastern side close to the Winston Social Club, was in use until 1969, though possibly later, despite a new hall being opened in January 1969 at Fauners in Kingswood, Basildon. Its certification was cancelled on 05/05/1971. It was demolished around the turn of the 1970s.

24th February

Salvation Army Hall at High Road, Pitsea is certified as a place of worship. This building, which stood at the junction with Woodfield Road, survived to the early 1970s. Its certification was cancelled on 05/05/1971.

27th February

All Saints' Church Hall at No. 7 Timberlog Lane (now Clay Hill Road), Vange opened by the Lord Bishop of Chelmsford, Dr. Henry Albert Wilson. The local MP, Victor Raikes and the Lord Bishop had laid the foundation stones on December 12th, 1931. St. Paul's Mission Church were later to use part of the hall which was built at a cost of £1,200.

8th June

Elim Pentecostal Church at High Road, Langdon Hills certified for worship. The church was built facing the High Road between Vowler and Florence Road with a detached house either side. It survived to 1977 and a new church was built in Vowler Road on the existing enlarged plot which opened around 1978. Prior to opening the Pentecostal Mission was based at Avondale Hall in the High Road.

30th September

Laindon Combined Treatment Centre at Bristow Road, Laindon opened. A proposed Combined Treatment Centre had received approval from Essex County Council's Public Health & Housing and Education Committees in September 1931. The estimated cost was put at £1,500 and the following month the County Architect invited tenders for its construction. Prior to completion from 1925 Essex County Council had use of Manor Hall in the High Road which was attended monthly by a Health Visitor, School Medical Officer and district Nurses. Chairman of the County Council, Alderman John H. Burrows performed the official opening duties. The centre, which was constructed in Bristow Road (later addressed as Florence Road), survived to August 1971 when services were transferred to Laindon Health Centre, which had just opened. It was demolished soon after and the site then remained unused until around 2006 when plans were approved for a residential block of flats. The block, associated access road and parking spaces now cover the site and that of the remaining undeveloped portion of the former Bristow Road.



Laindon railway station overbridge extended. The bridge, officially designated Bridge 78 which dated from the station's 1888 opening, was rebuilt and extended with an additional span to incorporate 4 railway tracks as part of a proposed quadrupling of the line between Upminster and Shoeburyness. In the event the scheme failed to materialise and only one additional track was laid to the south side of the existing layout. In the 1990s the pedestrian path on the east side of the bridge was closed off and a new steel framed pedestrian and cycle bridge was put into place, which remains in use to the present.


Langdon Hills water tower known to exist. It stands at the summit of Langdon Hills close to the Thurrock border on the east side of High Road in its own plot between the residential properties Silsden (since renamed Green Pastures) and Trevelyn. It was built by F.R. Hipperson & Son, public works contractors, for the South Essex Waterworks Company to serve the growing population in Langdon Hills and Laindon. The white eight sided windowless tower stands around 50ft tall with a short centrally built six sided crown and mast that has windows and doorway atop a raised square enclosed platform area from where a number of communications aerials are affixed. It was renovated in 1956 at a cost of over £2,669 and serving up to 2,250 locals with a daily consumption of around 50,000 gallons rising to between 60,000 and 70,000 during peak months. In 1970 the water company merged with Southend Waterworks Company to form Essex Water Company who in turn merged with Suffolk Water Company in 1994 to form Essex and Suffolk Water, who currently own and maintain it.


Vange swimming pool known to be in existence. The privately run open-air public swimming pool was situated at Riverside Farm, Wharf Lane on the south side of the Pitsea to Tilbury rail route. It was fed with sea water pumped from the tidal Vange Creek and had a diving board, water shute and open-air changing rooms. The public could swim with no time limits from as early as 7 A.M. till late - the pool was floodlit nightly - and enjoy refreshments and games in the pool's pavilion. For much of its life it was one of only two public swimming pools in the district - the other being at Buttsbury - and survived to 1952 when it closed following an alleged public health scare relating to the quality of the water. It was later filled in sometime in either late 1962 or 1963 after the farm had been purchased by Basildon Development Corporation as a potential recreation centre which failed to materialise after the farm was destroyed following a fire. The site is now covered by the Kierbeck Business Park.


The London bound up platform at Laindon Railway Station was converted to an island to allow trains to 'wait'. A third line passing loop was installed to serve the new platform 1, which in 1957 became the main platform for London bound trains with the former up main becoming reversible. All platforms were also extended to 700 feet to accommodate full length trains. The total cost of the works exceeded £30,000.

9th September

Gospel Temperance Hall, Woodfield Road, Vange opened as a meeting place for a branch of the Independent Order of Good Templars. In attendance was the District Chief Templar Bro. George Chaplin. The hall was provided by Mr. Charles Campbell, a member of the Pitsea Lodge.

19th September

St. Alban's Hall Mission Church in Church Road, Basildon opened. The Archdeacon of Southend, the Venerable Percy Matheson Bayne carried out the service of dedication. The new hall, of timber construction, was built partly with money from the sale of the old hall that stood in Rectory Road close to the Basildon rectory and money from the Bishop's Appeal Fund. In the 1950s the Basildon Residents Protection Association regularly held their meetings there. It was later demolished in the creation of Basildon new town.


Markhams Chase Council School opens. The new school, opened for mixed juniors, was built to alleviate overcrowding at the Laindon High Road Council School which, from its 1928 opening, had provided places for all children of school age. The first Headmistress Janet Duke spent 31 years in charge before retiring after the summer term in 1964. In October 1964 the School was renamed Janet Duke County Infant & Junior in honour and recognition of all her years of service. In September 2010 the school became Janet Duke Primary.

5th October

St. Margaret's Mission in Basildon Road, Laindon is certified as a place of worship. The registration however was short-lived being cancelled within the first two years of opening on 22nd May 1935.

20th October

Laindon Baptist Church school hall opened. Mrs. S. Halley of Leigh opened the new hall which cost £635 and stands within the church grounds facing St. David's Road. Years later in the late 1970s the hall and church were linked when an extension was completed.



St. Peter's Church at St. Nicholas Lane, Laindon opened. The wooden built church was erected on the north side of Nicholas Lane - almost opposite the Church Institute (St. Peter's Hall) - and between Hiawatha and Claremont Road (which originally ran off St. Nicholas Lane). It fell within the parish of Laindon-cum-Basildon. It was demolished around 1969 though special occasion services continued in 1970 at St. Peter's Church House, 91 New Century Road, Laindon.


Anne Boleyn Mansions at Pitsea Broadway completed. The mock Tudor building was constructed on behalf of local dairy farmer Harold Howard whose initials H.G.H. and date are inscribed on the front brickwork. It has been part occupied by Lloyds - later Lloyds TSB and now T.S.B. bank - since the completion date.


The British Legion Hall in High Road, Laindon opened. Built at the north end of High Road just beyond Laindon High Road senior school on a generous plot, the new hall became the headquarters of the Laindon branch of the British Legion. The following year a war memorial was erected within the grounds. In 1940 the legion carried out renovation work including new heating such was the success of the hall which had seen seen their membership rise to 76. The hall was also used by other organisations such as St. John Ambulance Brigade and the Temple of Light Spiritualist Church held their services there from approximately 1946 to 1973 when their own church, which had been under construction from 1965, was finally completed. The building was demolished in 1975 and two privately owned detached houses were later built on its site. The war memorial was later resited in High Road alongside the Laindon Shopping Centre.


Alfred D. Cheshire is appointed Clerk to the Billericay Urban District Council. Mr. Cheshire succeeds Mr. C. Edgar Lewis who held the post from the formation of Billericay Rural District Council in 1895.

1st April

Billericay Urban District Council, formally Billericay Rural District Council, constituted. Formed as a direct result of the 'Essex Review Order, 1934', the administration was responsible for the following parishes: Basildon, Bowers Gifford, Great Burstead, Little Burstead (until 1938 transferred to Thurrock Urban District), Laindon, Lee Chapel, Nevendon, North Benfleet, Pitsea, Vange and Wickford. Parts of Langdon Hills, previously in the Orsett Rural District, were also transferred to the new district. The administration of the district was divided into 8 Wards represented by 23 publicly elected councillors. Council meetings, previously held in Brentwood, were conducted from a building at 108 High Street, Billericay.

3rd April

Mr. Harry Egerton Bebington, conservative councillor for Ward No. 3 (Laindon), is unanimously elected as the first chairman of Billericay Urban District Council. Mr. Matthew Land, conservative councillor for Ward 8, is elected vice-chairman.

6th June

A whirlwind struck areas of Laindon and Dunton. The violent whirlwind reportedly struck close to midnight and completely destroyed five recently completely, though unoccupied, bungalows in an area of Dunton. Other properties had their windows blown in and many more were left without their roofs. The whirlwind also damaged telegraph poles, fences and uprooted trees.

17th December

Pitsea Combined Treatment Centre at High Road officially opened. The centre, which is built on behalf of Essex County Council, is located within the grounds of Pitsea County Primary School. Mrs. Alexandra Brooks, deputising for her husband Alderman Alfred Brooks, performed the opening ceremony. The centre is now known as Pitsea Clinic.

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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