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A Basildon Chronology
1935   1936   1937   1938   1939


A commercial refuse dump for household waste is established on marshland at Pitsea and Bowers Gifford. In 1929 during the consultation process the Billericay Rural District Council expressed no objections provided that the required conditions to prevent risk of nuisance were observed. Council approval was finally given early in 1935. The refuse, which is collected from London and the surrounding area, is either carried down the River Thames in open barges or from 1970 onwards, following a lease agreement with Basildon Council, transported by road. Three specially constructed wharfs with cranes at Holehaven Creek unload the waste to open top container trucks which transport it for landfill where it's then compacted by International Bulldozers. Sidings at Pitsea were also provided for rail transportation though these were later lifted. From around 1971 the site comprised 1,300 acres and lagooned areas of the site began receiving hazardous or toxic waste by which time the dump, or landfill site as it was now known, had become one of the largest in the United Kingdom. It was estimated that by 2001 some 30 million tonnes of refuse of various types had been deposited at the site. The site currently accepts around 300,000 tonnes of waste annually. Completed areas of the site are now closed off and landscaped as part of a marshland land reclamation scheme, though the remainder, which comprises around 593 acres to the east of Wat Tyler Country Park, will continue to receive waste until eventual closure, planned for 2025. Various companies have been responsible for the overall management of the site beginning with Land Reclamation Co. Ltd. through to the 1970s when waste management company Redland Purle of Rayleigh, Essex took over to December 1980, followed by Cleanaway and current operator Veolia, who have been given an extension to continue operating the landfill site through to closure.


Pitsea underline railway bridge reconstruction and road widening scheme completed. The bridge, designated 'Bridge 96' and located at High Road close to the border with Vange on the direct London to Shoeburyness rail route, dates from the opening of the line in 1888 and had become an accident black spot due to its short width and single pedestrian pathway. The cost of the work, carried out on behalf of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway Company, was estimated at around £23,000, which included new pedestrian pathways and some realignment to the existing A13 roadway. The bridge, which has a travelling height of 13ft 9" (4.19m), has since 1994 been owned and maintained by firstly Railtrack, and now Network Rail, following the privatisation of British Rail.


St. Michael's Mission Church at Green Lane, Lee Chapel opened. This small wooden built church replaced an earlier building with the same name built in 1930 on the south side of the L.T.S. railway at Salisbury Avenue. Part of the cost was met through a church grant of £35 from the Executive and General Committees. The dual purpose building survived to the early 1960s when it was demolished in preparation for the future Lee Chapel North housing development. St. Michael's Women's Fellowship were among the local community groups known to have held their meetings there.

4th March

Rosedale Theomonistic Church in Pound Lane, Laindon is certified as a place of worship. This small wooden built church located in Pound Lane between Dickens Drive and St. Nicholas Lane was short-lived and its registration was cancelled from 6th April, 1936. The building then became the Regal Social Club. A residential property now stands on the site of the former church and social club.

9th September

Nevendon Craylands Council Senior School opened. The school, situated in Timberlog Lane (later renamed Craylands), Nevendon, opened as separate schools for boys and girls, only becoming mixed in 1949. From 1949 to 1968 - when the school merged with Fryerns Grammar & Technical to become Fryerns Comprehensive - the school was called Craylands County Secondary School. Mr. Louis Allen Gredley, 1st and only Headmaster of the boys' school continued in the role following the 1949 merge through to his retirement in 1952. Miss Jane Mary Morgans was appointed Headmistress of the girls' school. The school was formally opened on Wednesday 9th October by Mr. William Owen Lester Smith, M.A., Director of Education, Manchester who had previously held the same post in Essex. The school closed in 1999 and the building, which had stood empty for over ten years was demolished in 2011 to make way for a new housing development.

21st September

The Laindon War Memorial unveiled. The memorial, commemorating those that died in the Great War (1914-1918), was placed in the grounds of the British Legion Hall in High Road, Laindon. It stood on the right side inline with the front of the hall on a simple layered concrete plinth. Its design is a simple circular column of blue pear Aberdeen granite topped with an ornate flat base upon which stands a cross. In the 1970s when the hall was demolished for new housing the memorial was removed and eventually resited in the High Road in front of the Laindon shopping centre. It now commemorates both world wars and is inscribed in capital letters: TO THE GLORIOUS DEAD 1914 - 1918 LAINDON AND DISTRICT 1939 - 1945 AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN, AND IN THE MORNING, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM. Although originally sited within the grounds of the British Legion Hall the war memorial was not the property of the Laindon branch of the British Legion but presented as a gift to the people of the district by Mr. Albert Eli Symes of Brentwood, who founded around 1892, the respected building & civil engineering company A.E. Symes Ltd, then based at Brentwood and Stratford. One of his daughters, Mrs Ivy McLachlan performed the opening ceremony aided by the Rector of Laindon, Rev. Michael Neville Lake and Rev. Tom W. Shepherd, of the Laindon Baptist Church.

14th November

Mr. Victor Raikes (later Sir) (25,912) re-elected Conservative member of parliament for the Essex South Eastern constituency. He won with a greatly reduced majority of 970 over Labour opponent John "Jack" Oldfield, who was attempting for the second time to win the seat back he took in 1929. Conversatives win general election.



The A127 London - Southend Arterial Road transition from single to duel carriageway reaches completion.


Old Tom Motor Services of Manor Road, Laindon acquired by City Coach Company Ltd. Old Tom's bus company was founded by Tom Webster of Wash Road, Laindon in 1921. He ran the company, which was based at Manor Road, Laindon, with his two sons Tom jnr. and Dick. At its peak he owned around 10 buses and operated a number of routes including a regular weekday service to Romford. The City Coach Co., who had a depot at Tylers Avenue in Southend, were one of the biggest independent bus operators at the time and would go on to run a regular circular route between Laindon Station and Pipps Hill via Church Road.


Vange Fire Station at High Road opened. The small station located at the corner of High Road and Freshwater Drive was manned by part-time volunteer's led by chief officer William Bishop. It operated as a section station attached to Billericay Fire Brigade who also provided the single engine, formerly stationed at Billericay.


The first properties on the Kiln Farm (Riverview) housing estate at Pitsea become occupied. The new estate, comprised of mainly two bedroomed semi-detached bungalows, is laid out along six roads with the entry one being Riverview located off the main A13 High Road. The other five are Claremont Drive, Avondale Road, Elm Tree Road, The Meads and the only cul-de-sac on the estate Woodlands Close. Years later from the 1950s onwards some of the properties came into development corporation ownership who then offered them for rent. Basildon Council later took over ownership of those properties when the development corporation's successor, the Commission for the New Towns, was wound down in the 1990s. In the late 1960s twenty four properties in the form of twelve semi-detached bungalows, even numbered 2-48, in The Meads were demolished to allow the A13 to be re-routed away from the High Road. This was completed by 1973 but the new road with increased traffic created a noisy environment for the properties in the immediate vicinity and it took until 2014 before high fencing was finally erected as a sound deadening measure. The estate is now considered to be in Vange.


A small Sub-Post Office and general stores opens at 171 Worthing Road, Laindon. The owners, Frederick and Annie Rogers ran the bungalow shop until the late 1960s. It stood on the north side of an unmade section about midway between Railway Approach and Dunton Drive. The shop, which also had an outside public telephone kiosk, also provided newspaper delivery 'paper round' jobs for local teenagers. This section of Worthing Road and all of its properties are now lost to the Presidents and Commonwealth housing estates, constructed in the early 1980s.


St. Margaret's Church of England Primary School in Bowers Gifford opened. The school, which was built in London Road, took its name from the local church which has served the area since the 14th century. Part of the cost of the school was met through various fundraising events organised by the church. A service of dedication at the laying of the foundation stones was conducted by the Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt. Rev. Henry Albert Wilson on Sunday 5th October 1935. The school is now voluntary aided with around 214 pupils.

4th April

The Regal Social Club in Pound Lane, Laindon opened. The new social club was housed in the former Rosedale Theomonistic Church, which had a short existence being only opened itself the previous year. Former Laindon resident Mr G.H. Madeley carried out the opening proceedings in the wooden built hall which had been renovated to include a bar, seating and games facilities. Yearly membership was 2s 6d (12½p). The club is fully licensed being supplied by London brewers Mann Crossman and Paulin. An elected general committee was formed of which Wash Road resident Mr P.A. Dyson acted as both manager and secretary to the new club. Other activites included outings and children's Christmas parties. The club was later listed in the June 1955 edition of the Post Office telephone directory under the name W.H. Nuth. Laindon resident Mr Nuth, known as Bill of St. Nicholas Lane, along with his wife Mabel had taken over the running of the club, possibly through to its eventual closure sometime around 1959. The building was later demolished and a residential property now stands in its place.

26th May

Proposals to divide the district into six electoral Wards returning 4 councillors for each ward are agreed at a council meeting held on Wednesday 26th May. Authorisation, which raised the number of elected councillors from 23 to 24, took effect from 1st April, 1937. (The Billericay Urban District (Alteration of Wards) Order, 1937). The first elections were held on Saturday 3rd and Monday 5th April, 1937.



S.X. Tool and Engineering Company Limited founded. The business was known to have two locations at Laindon; one, during the 1940s and later, to the south side of the London bound A127 Arterial Road, and the other at Pound Lane (now Pound Lane Central), as well as another site, possibly at Chadwell Heath. The company designed and manufactured press tools, jigs and special purpose machinery. The Pound Lane factory, located on the west side, was in operation from the mid 1960s and possibly earlier to 1975 when it closed down following a winding-up procedure (*) agreed on 09/10/1975. It occupied a large site that included an employees football pitch to the rear of its two main buildings, the first of which had the name S X Tools displayed in large white letters on the roof facing the entrance in. Following closure, the Pound Lane site was later cleared and remained undeveloped for many years before eventually being sold off for private housing.
(Source: London Gazette, 14/10/1975, Edition No. 46712 p. 12881.)

1st January

The parishes of Basildon, Bowers Gifford, Great Burstead, Little Burstead, Laindon, Lee Chapel, Nevendon, North Benfleet, Pitsea, Vange and Wickford are abolished and absorbed into a single Billericay parish. (The County of Essex, Urban District of Billericay (Union of Parishes) Confirmation Order, 1936).

1st March

A new sub-division Police Station at Pitsea opened in Rectory Road. This two storey building would survive until November 1967 when operations were centralised in Basildon at Great Oaks. The building was later demolished. Years later another police station opened in Rectory Road on the site of the 1937 building.

7th December

Nevendon Treatment Centre in Timberlog Lane, Nevendon opened. The new centre, which was designed in the style of the adjacent Nevendon Craylands senior school, was provided by the County Council to serve the wider community which was seeing a population growth following the land sales and on going plotland developments. It was built by A.E. Wright Limited of Knotts Green Road, Leyton who submitted the lowest tender of £3,237 around December the previous year. Vice-chairman of Essex County Council, Alderman Colonel Gilbertson Smith, T.D., D.L., performed the opening ceremony. An ambulance station was also established which would remain here until 1962 when a new station was built at Great Oaks in Basildon. The centre is now in Craylands and known as Craylands Clinic.



The Langdon Players amateur dramatics group formed. Although formed before the Second World War productions were suspended through the war years and continued on May 10th 1946 when they staged Quiet Weekend by Esther McCracken. The group, whose membership once included the television and film actress Joan Sims, staged many of their productions at Laindon High Road School. Two of their members, Chairman Ivy Jobson and Phil Lee, both from Langdon Hills, were still active in the group into the early 1960s. The group was eventually succeeded by the Basildon Players and is believed to have staged its final production in 1963.

22nd August

In anticipation of the potential for war breaking out in Europe Billericay Urban District Council appoints an Air Raid Precautions Officer. During late September the officer's office was busy with council staff distributing gas masks to the public. Trenches and underground shelters were also dug. The council also sought volunteers for the various branches of the Air Raid Precaution Services and instituted courses in first aid.

1st December

Billericay Urban District Council acquires land in Laindon for the purpose of open space and recreation. The parcels of land, known as Pound Lane Open Space and totalling around 2 acres, were purchased under the Public Health Act 1875 to create an environment for use as a public amenity. Further acquisitions took place later the same month and again in 1939 and 1952, where a small portion in the south east corner was bought under the Housing Act 1936 for the purpose of future housing. The land is now known as Pound Lane Recreation Ground. An application in August 2010 on behalf of a local resident applying for Village Green status was later rejected by Essex County Council in 2013.



Dunton Pumping Station in Lower Dunton Road completed.

12th July

St. Paul's Chapel, Vange opened. The chapel, located in Timberlog Lane (now Clay Hill Road), was created by converting part of All Saints Church Hall. It had seating for seventy and survived as a Mission Church until 1958 when a new C of E church, St. Chad's, was built on land adjacent to the church hall. The 3rd Bishop of Chelmsford, The Rt. Rev. Henry Albert Wilson performed the opening ceremony during a service conducted by the Rector of Vange, Rev. John Beauchamp Gordon.

3rd September

The United Kingdom and France declared war on Germany following the German invasion of Poland on 1st September. The war, known as World War II or the Second World War, lasted through to 1945. The Basildon area, with its close proximity to London, was often on the receiving end of a whole range of incendiary bombs as the Germans, under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, sought to overcome Great Britain. A total blackout was in force, and later as war intensified, Parish Invasion Committees were formed and a German Prisoner of War (POW) camp (No. 266) opened in Langdon Hills sometime around the end of hostilities on a field at the top of Dry Street. The POW camp viewed from above on an October 1946 ordnance survey photograph of Langdon Hills revealed approximately 28 huts spread out in three rows.

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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