A Basildon Chronology|
1970 1971 1972 1973 1974|
Abbeyfield House sheltered housing scheme for retired persons in Barstable opened. Situated adjacent to Barstable Lower School at 200 Timberlog Lane
on land provided by Basildon Development Corporation the accommodation consists of 9 ground floor furnished flats, a community garden and care
assistance when needed. A second home called the Octagon at Bridge Street, Noak Bridge opened in the 1980s.
Barstable Community Centre in South Riding, opened. Built at a cost of £35,000, the facility
is used for a wide variety of functions for all age groups.
South Mayne, town centre to Pitsea feeder road completed. The new road, costing over £1 million and (later) designated A132,
is duel carriageway throughout linking the existing East Mayne and Broadmayne roundabout to a new roundabout at Pitsea with junctions for the railway
station and High Road. The road, which is clearway (from 01/08/1973) in each direction with no intermediate junctions, necessitated
the relocation of Pitsea market to a new site south of High Road. It was built on behalf of Basildon Development Corporation
who designated it 'Road 2' on their Basildon Master Plan. Its main feature is a flyover which crosses Pitsea High Road.
Robert McCrindle (later Sir) (47,719) elected to serve as Conservative member of parliament for the Billericay constituency including Basildon. Robert
McCrindle's election to parliament was his third attempt having previously been unsuccessful at Dundee East in 1959 and Thurrock in 1964. He won with
a majority of 3,954 over the Labour candidate and former M.P. Eric Moonman, who had held the seat since 1966. Conservatives win general
The first Traffic Warden, Betty Morriss, is employed. Employed principally to work in Basildon town
centre, the warden is soon joined by others where their mandate is to 'assist' the motorist
rather than book the offender.
Basildon United F.C. opening game at The
Stadium, their new ground at Gardiners Close (formerly Rectory Road), against a West
Ham United XI. The friendly match, held on a Tuesday with a 6.30. p.m. kick off, was
watched by a 3,600 crowd that included West Ham stars Jimmy Greaves and Geoff Hurst. West Ham
won the game 4-0. They are also granted full senior status by the Essex FA. In August 1971 the
club, along with local rivals Billericay Town became founder members of the Essex Senior League
which they have since won a record five times. An additional ground feature, added in 1971, was
a 100ft long prefabricated clubhouse complete with licensed bar which opened on 27th April. In the
2000s the ground's name became the Hive and United, whose nickname then was the U's and is now the
Bees, can still be watched there today though there is growing uncertainty over the future of the
ground due to landowner English Partnerships (now Homes and Community Agency) regeneration plans
for the area. The clubs' manager at the time of the fixture was Allen Young.
Kingswood Play Centre opened. The new centre
in Clay Hill Road was built at a cost of £15,600 and opened by Basildon Council's Chairman,
James Lyon. It was the first permanent building built for use in the Council's Play Leadership
scheme for children up to 14, with all equipment available for use free of charge. A Council
run playgroup was soon established which continued through to December 2004. From January 2005
this became privately run and known as Kingswood Pre-School. There is also an enclosed outside
play area within the grounds.
Century cinema in High Road, Pitsea closes. Opened as the Broadway in 1930, it became the Century
on 15th February 1955 following a takeover by Granada, who following closure changed its use to bingo and
renamed it Granada Social Club. It was later taken over by brewery company Bass and in 1991
renamed Gala as part of the Gala Bingo chain of clubs. In 1997 Bass sold its bingo concern and
though the Gala name continued its current owner, Gala Coral, closed the club on 27th July,
2009 due to a company reorganisation that also saw other Gala clubs closed throughout the
United Kingdom. The building is still a prominent feature of the Broadway though its future at present is uncertain.
Basildon Round Table hold their sixth annual Firework Fiesta and bonfire at Laindon Link, Lee Chapel North. All the proceeds were put towards
an adventure playground planned for Church Road, Fryerns near the site of Moat House School.
The parliamentary seat of Billericay is abolished and replaced by a new Basildon constituency. The new constituency seat replacing Billericay, which was
created in 1950, now covers both Basildon and Billericay. It survived to 1997, the only change coming in 1983 when another Billericay seat was formed,
and following another boundary change became Basildon and East Thurrock. The first general election to take place in the new Basildon seat was on 28th
February, 1974 when Labour's Eric Moonman won with a resounding 10,667 majority.
Laindon Post Office opened. The new Crown post office located at 20 Laindon Centre was built at
a cost of around £17,000 and replaces the former High Road building which had opened in 1952. Leader
of Basildon Council, Cllr. Geoffrey Allard carried out the opening duties in the presence of Head
Postmaster John Lacey.
The Joker public house at the new Laindon Shopping Centre is officially opened. Alan and Sheila
Smithyes, formerly of Plumstead Common, are the first landlord and landlady of the Truman run
pub. Charles Boniface, General Manager of the development corporation, performed the opening
ceremony. The new public house with entrances off the main paved shopping centre has upper and
lower split level features with the lower being known as the Harlequin bar. It closed in February 2017
and was demolished during 2019 as part of a regeneration project by the centre's owners Swan Housing.
St. Teresa's Church Hall at High Road, Laindon
completed. The hall, which was built on the site of the former doctors surgery annexe and residential
house called Hiawatha, was paid for in part by various fund raising activities organised by the catholic
church of the same name in Langdon Hills. Amongst its uses was as a meeting place for the Laindon
Women's Co-operative Guild. The club, formed around 1940, relocated here the same year from the
British Legion Hall. In the early 1990s a new catholic church hall was built at Florence Way, Langdon
Hills. In 1995 Basildon Community Housing Association (BCHA) applied for a change of use which was
successful and the following year opened an area neighbourhood office. The hall was then renamed
Phil Morris House, after the Association's former Chairman, and used by BCHA - later becoming Swan
Housing - until around 2007. The building then fell out of use, and following a successful planning
application was demolished in 2012 for a new Swan Housing residential development called Century Place.
The Painted Wagon public house opened. This new public house
was built as part of the larger Great Oaks House development that also included the A.B.C. cinema and Tesco
supermarket. It was later renamed the Jolly Wagonner before a further name change to The Oasis through to eventual
closure around 1999. The building then remained unoccupied for around 17 years when it became a Roadhouse diner from May
2016 to July 2017. Following that businesses closure the building has remained empty ever since.
Basildon Council take delivery of a brand new civic car. The Ford Grosvenor, based on the Ford
Zodiac mark IV and converted by Coleman Milne, cost almost £3,000 and featured a stretched body
and seating for seven.
Mr. Arthur Oswald Kelting succeeds Mr. William Balch as Chairman of Basildon Development
Population Census for Basildon district; 80,252.
Properties on the Laindon 5 housing development off Laindon Link and Hatterill completed. The new 1364 homes for rent estate comprised of 2, 3, and 4
bedroomed houses and flats, was built on a 79¼ acre site (32.1 hectares) by Basildon Development Corporation. Work on the construction began in
October 1968 on land cleared of residential homes, some of which had stood in the former streets Cumberland Road, Norwich Road, Hertford Road, Preston Road, Buckingham
Road and Diss Road. The properties were designed by Basildon Development Corporation's own Department of Architecture and Planning headed by
Douglas Galloway and constructed by three different contractors. These being: Thomas Bates & Son Ltd, C.S. Wiggins & Sons Ltd. and Gilbert Ash
(South Eastern) Ltd. The properties comprise Laindon Link, Brendon, Handley Green, Newberry Side, Mellow Purgess and Somercotes. An old peoples
warden controlled sheltered housing scheme (Somercotes Court) along with a small parade of shops was completed in 1973. The estate was later
renamed 5 Links though for years was dubbed 'Alcatraz', after the former American island prison, due to its myriad of high walls and dark alley ways. In
the mid 1990s a long term regeneration of the estate began and some areas have been demolished and gradually replaced with new
A.B.C. (Associated British Cinemas) cinema in Great Oaks, Basildon opens. Love Story (ABC 1)
and On the Buses (ABC 2) are the first films shown at the new two screen complex. ABC 1, with
seating for 644 and larger panoramic screen, was also used for the popular ABC Minors 'Saturday morning
picture shows' which ran from 09/10/1971 at 10am throughout the 1970s and early 1980s. The smaller
ABC 2 seated 455. Opening prices were: Adults, 55p and 45p, Children, 30p and 25p. Two members of
the 'On the Buses' cast, Doris Hare and Anna Karen, were special guests at the opening. Another feature
of the building is the concourse restaurant and coffee lounge which was later converted to a third 92 seat
cinema utilising a new video system of projection which opened on 5th July, 1979. In 1981 the cinema
extended its screening programme to include an over 18s Friday or Saturday late night show from 11:00pm. Sometime
between August and December 1986 it became Cannon when owners EMI sold out to the Cannon group in a
takeover involving all of ABC's operational cinemas. This lasted until 1994 by which time Cannon,
who were then part of MGM Cinemas, opted to close the cinema citing competition from Thurrock's new
Lakeside Warner Brothers and UCI multiplexes. Later in 1994 cinema chain Robins took over but competition
from a new UCI 12 screen cinema opened at the Festival Leisure Park in 1998 proved too great and
the cinema closed for good in December 1999.
Basildon College of Further Education opens in Nether Mayne. The college, constructed on a
20 acre site, opened ahead of schedule and the first term, which commenced on the 13th
September, featured a wealth of courses including a novices 'computers in business'
lesson. In August 2001 following a merger with Thurrock it was renamed Thurrock and Basildon
College and following another merger, this time with Southend Campus, became South Essex
College from 1st January, 2010.
Laindon Health Centre officially opened by Alfred Morris Esq., M.P. The Labour M.P. for Manchester Wythenshawe was joined in the opening ceremony by
Urban District Council Chairman, Joe Morgan; Chairman of the Health and Welfare Committee, Councillor John Costello and Town Manager David H.
Taylor. Prior to opening, a small surgery had operated at a house called Montgomery in New Century Road and at the Laindon Clinic in Florence Road,
where services were transferred to the new health centre. Basildon Council architects Kenneth S. Cotton and Adrian Neaves were responsible for the
design, which cost more than £180,000 to build and commenced in March 1970. Thomas Bates & Son Ltd of Church Road, Harold Wood were the main
building contractors used in its construction. The facilities, which are on two levels, came into use during August and include over 10 consulting rooms.
Pitsea railway station refurbishment becomes operational. Among the new British Rail funded changes is a
modern single story entrance and ticket office, built at a cost of around £20,000, which replaced
the former station house and booking hall buildings that dated back to the 1800s.
Basildon Round Table hold their seventh annual Firework Fiesta and bonfire at Laindon Link, Lee Chapel North. A 15ft guy atop
the bonfire was lit by Council Chairman Joe Morgan and additional entertainment was provided by the Basildon Drum & Trumpet
Corp. £200 of fireworks were let off at what turned out to be the final fiesta at Laindon Link as the field was sold off as a site for the
future Parklands housing estate and Most Holy Trinity catholic church and hall. Admission was 10p for adults and 5p for children.
Marks & Spencer (M & S) opens a new retail store at No. 1 Town Square. This major British chain store retailer selling clothes
and food took occupation of the second largest shop unit in the Development Corporation's new Block S project, built on the
remaining unused land abounding Town Square. With over 2000 sq ft. of floor space spread over three floors the building dominates the
western end of Town Square. The upper third floor was later extended to the full length of the building. In the early 2000s
the first floor was closed to customers, though later reopened along with a first floor restaurant with a large window overlooking
Tesco's supermarket in Great Oaks, Basildon opens. Tesco's open a brand new store below the recently opened ABC cinema
complex. The supermarket chain already had a presence in the town with shops at East Walk and
Market Pavement. Disc Jockey & T.V. host David Jacobs carried out the opening ceremony. Tesco
later vacated the building following the success of a new Pitsea store opened in 1978. In
1984 after a period of being empty the shop was divided up into separate retail units and given
the name Liberty Hall in recognition of a previous building that once stood nearby prior to the
new towns' conception. Later in the 1990s QD (Quality Discounts) store took over the building when the Liberty
Hall enterprise closed down.
The council run Arts Centre (later Towngate Theatre) in Basildon Town Centre stages its first Christmas Pantomime. The pantomime,
Jack and the Beanstalk, was written by Alan Gale and produced by Clifford Hensley. It ran until Saturday 8th January and included
among its cast Barry Wade and Brownie Dene, who played the part of Jack. The Christmas pantomime became an annual event
with many famous actors and celebrities like Charles Hawtrey, Joe 'Mr. Piano' Henderson, George Layton and Alan Browning appearing in future productions.
Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church Hall in Wickhay, Lee Chapel North opened. This new multi-functional church hall was built to replace the smaller church
sited close by at Roundacre, Long Lynderswood adjacent to Laindon Link, which had opened in 1963. The cost of the new hall, which included an on site
car park, was put at around £50,000. The site, which was previously used as a recreational field with two permanent football goals, was made available
by Basildon Development Corporation. A permanent church and presbytery were later built on the same site; opening in 1980.
Unemployment Benefit Office and Employment Exchange at Great Oaks, Basildon opened.
New Basildon Town Square shops, office and leisure complex called Block S reaches completion during
the year. Built between Marks & Spencer and No. 19 Town Square, the new development is linked to
the town via an escalator and stairway. Caters supermarket and Russell's Jeweller's were the
first new shops to open in the block, which would later include Taylor's department store, The
Highway public house, Sweeney's discotheque and the Jackpot Bingo Club. The office complex was
named Northgate House.
The first homes on the new Woodlands Estate, Kingswood Road, Kingswood completed. The 240 home
development, a mix of bungalows and split level houses with flat roofs, was built by Nationwide
Homes Ltd. on an 18 acre site. The design architects were Peter Phippen, Peter Randall and David Parkes.
Ashleigh Centre at Whitmore Way, Fryerns opened. The new £114,000 Basildon Council built learning
facility supports mentally handicapped children of secondary school age. It was funded by Essex
County Council and can offer support and guidance for up to 120 trainees. Some of the first trainees
transferred from nearby Elmbrook School, which then became a primary age only school for mentally
handicapped children. The centre is now called Ashleigh Wellbeing & Activity Centre helping adults
with learning disabilities.
The Thalian Theatre Group formed. Basildon based amateur dramatics company with regular stage
performances right up to the present. Their first production was Kevin Laffan's Zoo Zoo
Widdershins Zoo, performed at the Arts Centre (later renamed Towngate Theatre), Basildon on
Friday 15th & Saturday 16th September. Their name is derived from the Greek goddess Thalia - the Muse of comedy
and pastoral poetry. Founding members include Michael Betteridge, who is the first elected chairman,
and Derek Bill, who also directed their first production.
The former Nevendon School House in Nevendon Road is demolished. The school, which was built in 1886, had been a private residence since closing
in 1927 when the current school opened (since closed in 1983). It had been run by the National Society and could accommodate around 30 children. It
stood west of St. Peter's Church on the bend leading towards Burnt Mills Road next to the former Carreras sports pavilion. Some of its grounds now form
the course of Cricketers Way; built in the 1990s, with the rest being left to nature.
Automated car parking barriers installed at public car parks in Basildon town centre as charges are
introduced for the first time. Introductory charges as follows: 2 hours 4p, 4 hours 10p and over 4
Laindon Shopping Centre enters private ownership. The centre, comprising 48 shops, an office block,
public library, public house and two car parks was sold to London property company Wellfare Insurance
Limited for an amount in excess of £1,300,000. Former owners Basildon Development Corporation opened
the centre in late 1969 as a permanent replacement for the High Road shops forced to close by the
Corporation's own plans to transform Laindon. Included in the 99 year lease is an agreement that
all tenants will pay the Corporation 10% ground rent for the same period of time.
The first service at the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints in Laindon Link, Laindon
held. Building missionary David Sneddon from Wickford was heavily involved in its construction
which began earlier in the year in January. Its cost at the time of opening was put at around
£32,000. The church was registered for solemnising marriages on 2nd August, 1972.
Bluehouse Farm Community Centre in Laindon Link, Laindon officially opened. Built on a site close
to the former Bluehouse Farm at a cost of £92,000, the new centre offered a licensed bar, stage facilities
and adjoining hall for use in the council's Play Leadership Scheme and as a children's nursery. The
centre was a joint venture between Basildon Council and Basildon Development Corporation. In February
2014 the nursery hall was destroyed by fire in an arson attack. As of 2015 the hall remains gutted
and may be demolished from the rest of the centre.
St. Anselms Roman Catholic secondary school in Ghyllgrove, Fryerns opens. For the first five years the school's intake was
restricted to boys with the school becoming mixed from September 1977. Principal intake is from the two existing Roman Catholic
junior schools in Basildon; St. Anne Line and St. Teresa's. Brother Mark was the first appointed Headteacher. From 1st September
1996 the school was renamed De La Salle after the Brothers upon whom which the school was founded.
Essex Centre Hotel in Pipps Hill Road South (now Waterfront Walk) officially opened. The hotel,
the latest in Centre Hotels UK chain, boasts executive features, 120 bedrooms (148 by 2005) and
fine views overlooking the newly created Aquatels recreational lake. The new hotel, which cost
over £½ million, is part of a larger leisure scheme called Aquatels Recreation Centre which
would also include a zoo, ski-slope, 9 hole golf course and driving range, Pipps Hill Country Club
and the Treble Chance public house; named after businessman Reg Treble who conceived the project. Builders
Costain were involved in its construction. It later became Crest Hotel, Forte Post House, and is
now a Holiday Inn.
The first Basildon town centre multi-storey car park in Great Oaks is completed. Built on five
levels with parking for 1,100 vehicles, the car park has lifts, a toilet block and a ground
floor security office. A later addition on level 3 was a pedestrian bridge spanning Great Oaks
which was removed in the 2000s.
Basildon Round Table hold their eighth annual Firework Fiesta and bonfire at Markhams Chase Recreation Ground, Leinster Road,
Laindon. The fiesta had transferred here from Laindon Link when the field near Staneway was sold off for development. To
supplement the display a large fire with Guy Fawkes on top was lit and refreshments were available on site.
Basildon town centre roads Great Oaks, Pagel Mead and Towngate are now open to one-way traffic
only. The Urban District of Basildon (Town Centre, Basildon) (One-Way Traffic) Order, 1972. By
the early 2000s only Great Oaks still exists and continues as a one-way only route.
The first occupants began moving into houses on the Lee Chapel North 7 development. This housing
project, funded in part by the private sector, would eventually comprise 172 dwellings of either
three or four bedrooms when finally completed in 1975. From this total 20 would transfer to council
ownership. The estate, comprising Rise Park, Raphaels and the continuation of Wickhay, was partly
built over formerly residential Elizabeth Drive, woodland and a football pitch once used by Lee Chapel
North F.C. Its layout, which is mainly designed around a central 4 acre landscaped woodland, gave
it its name of Parklands. It was built by Globe Construction Company Ltd of Felsted, Essex who retained
ownership of peripheral land and the central woodland known as Rise Park Open Space. House prices
with freehold were offered at £9,750 for a three bedroomed mid terrace house to £10,850 for a four bedroom end terrace house.
Vange Health Centre at Southview Road officially opened. The Chairman of Basildon Council, Cllr.
John Costello performed the opening duties. It was designed by Billericay architect Ken Cotton, Dip. Arch., A.R.I.B.A.
The first phase of the A13 Vange and Pitsea realignment scheme is completed. The new duel carriageway
road linking the Five Bells roundabout at Vange to a temporary junction at London Road, Pitsea was
first planned in the 1950s. The new route, which was controversial and involved a flyover at Pitsea,
was not the first considered as a Basildon Development Corporation early 1950s draft outline plan
proposed re-routing the A13 over the railway through Vange marshes before crossing the line again
beyond Pitsea railway station. All even numbers: 2-48 comprising 12 semi-detached bungalows (24 properties)
in The Meads on the Riverview estate and three semi-detached council houses comprising 12 addresses
and odd numbered 1-11a in Merricks Lane were demolished to make way for the route. A second phase,
linking Pitsea with the Sadlers Farm roundabout, was completed in 1976.
The Heighway public house in Basildon town centre opened. The public house, built in the newly completed Block
S project at High Pavement, was one of a number of new social amenities to open within this development. In 1983 it became
the New Yorker, later becoming the Roof Garden before another change of name in 2010 to The Edge.
Langdon Hills former Army Defence Camp site put up for sale. The Old Church Hill camp was established around the early 1940s during the Second
World War and had been headquarters for many regiments including the 7th Army Group Royal Artillery (A.A.). Although the last regiments appear to have
moved out by the late 1960s the camp in June 1970 still had a caretaker, this being Mr. Michael Rock of Whitmore Way, Basildon. The camp appears to
have become unoccupied from c. /10/1971 and though most of the barracks had been removed the remaining ones had provided a temporary home for a
passing vagrant. By April 1973, with just a few surviving concrete structures, the parade area and main roadways left, the proposed disposal of the site
was undertaken by the Property Services Agency. The former camp site was later acquired and is now known as Bentley Farm.
Basildon Development Corporation authorise the creation of a temporary site for traveller families at
Terminus Drive, Pitsea. The site, with around 40 pitches and a joint collaboration with the district
council, was created on land adjacent to the new A13 flyover next to the direct London-Shoeburyness
railway line. Its aim was to reduce the number of small traveller encampments around the district
until a permanent site or sites could be made available.
Aquatels Zoo and Ecology Centre opened in Pipps Hill Close (formerly Rectory Road), Basildon. The Zoo grounds were later
extended when development corporation compulsory purchase orders were issued against Pipps Hill
Close homeowners. One of the occupiers fought a lengthy battle over compensation which eventually
reached a satisfactory conclusion. The zoo closed in the late 1970s and the main Ecology Centre and
reptile house building was later converted in the early 1980s into an entertainment establishment
called Festival Hall and operated by the Brent Walker Leisure group. The whole site is now lost to the Festival Leisure Park, which began opening
attractions in 1997.
Pipps Hill Country Club opened. Situated in Pipps Hill Road South, the country club formed part of the Aquatels business venture
that included the Essex Centre Hotel, Treble Chance public house and the nearby zoo and ecology centre. Its facilities, which
required membership, included fishing in the adjacent aquatels lake, squash courts, sauna, tennis courts, a small kidney shaped
indoor heated swimming pool and additionally on nearby ground to the east of the main buildings (which also incorporated the
Treble Chance), a 9 hole golf course and range, riding stables and a practise dry ski-slope. There was also a licensed bar and
outdoor verandah with tables overlooking a man made beach. The fishing lake, boat hire being another option, was also used at
select times for water sking.
Langdon Hills open spaces at Westley Heights and One Tree Hill are declared Country Parks.
The Treble Chance public house in Pipps Hill Road South opened. The split level pub, designed in
a Spanish Colonial style, was built as part of the larger Aquatels recreation project created by
businessman Reg Treble whose surname forms part of the pubs' name. It became a popular venue for
live entertainment and in the 1980s band nights known as the Onion Club were established. Philip
and Olive Woodger are the first publicans to take charge. The Quays public house now covers the
site of the former pub.
Basildon Hospital in Nether Mayne opens. A campaign for a hospital to serve Basildon had begun
as early as 1954. As the towns population grew resources at the two existing hospitals serving
the area namely; Orsett and Billericay's St. Andrews, were often stretched to full capacity. After
a number of lengthy delays and consultations construction work finally began on the 32 acre site
in 1967. The first person to receive treatment is Rita Morrell, aged 6, from Tilbury. Although
some sections of the hospital were not completed at the time of opening the maternity ward was
operational. Mrs. Jacquelyn Carter of St. James Road, Vange gave birth to the first baby, a girl
called Nina, on 02/04/1973 and the first boy, Chay, was born the following day to Mrs. Gillian Sims-Welford of
Benfleet. The cost of the hospital was put at around seven million pounds. The hospital has had a number
of name changes and is currently called Basildon University Hospital.
Basildon Aviary and Wildlife Zoo in London Road, Vange, opened. The Zoo, situated on a 4.6 acre
site close to Vange primary school, was one of two in Basildon opened in the 1970s. It closed in
November 2001 amid a blaze of bad publicity concerning the living conditions and general welfare
of its animal occupants.
Sweeney's Discotheque in High Pavement, Basildon town centre opens. Named after the fictional
19th century character Sweeney Todd, 'The Demon Barber of Fleet Street', the purpose built
disco has a capacity of 275 and cost around £30,000. It was incorporated into the new town square
Block S development completed the previous year; its location being down a flight of stairs below
a public house and above unit 9 Town Square. Terry Ray and Dr. Moonlight were among the
clubs resident DJs that also featured live entertainment, including an April 28th 1981 appearance from Basildon's own
Depeche Mode, and a popular Saturday morning disco for teenagers. It closed in 1988 when the
owners, a company called Tops Estates, offered the leaseholders a compensation deal to vacate early in order
to progress with a proposed scheme to roof over Town Square. The scheme failed to materialise
and the former nightclub is now occupied by the Basildon branch of Palmers Solicitors. A farewell
party was held on Saturday 29th October, 1988.
Temple of Light Christian Spiritualist Church at 8 Bedford Road, Laindon opened. Construction of the building had begun in 1965 following
approval of the plans and took over 7 years, with much of the funding coming through church activities and voluntary donations. The original
location of the church was to have been on land in the Falstones area of Lee Chapel North but this later changed when the Basildon Development
Corporation provided - at an annual rent of £50 - a site on a former residential plot at No. 2 Bedford Road. Prior to the opening date 'Temple of Light' services were held for
approximately 27 years at the British Legion Hall in High Road, Laindon. Laindon resident Tom Price, then aged 71 of Ferndale, Suffolk Road,
who worked part time for construction company Richard Costain Ltd., was heavily involved in its construction supported by another local and work colleague, (Alfred) George Edwards, then of Vowler,
High Road, Langdon Hills. Richard Ellidge, Vice-President of the Spiritualists’ National Union performed the opening duties. A Healing Sanctuary, begun in 1981, was completed
later in the decade.
Gloucester Park athletics track officially opened. Costing £22,000 and sited at the northern end
of the park, the 400 metre 8 lane all weather track was opened by the director of the National
Sports Council, Walter Winterbottom. A full programme of events to mark the opening began the
night before and included athletes from the German town of Heiligenhaus along with Basildon's
All England Schools' junior cross country champion, Eamonn Martin. The centre green has hosted
many local area football finals, where the venue is often referred to as Gloucester Park Bowl,
due to the hilly landscaping.
Basildon Samaritans move to a new address at 16 Little Lullaway on the Lee Chapel North
estate. The development corporation owned bungalow predates the new town; being one of around
17 to escape demolition when the estate was first constructed in the early 1960s. Prior to the
move the Basildon Samaritans branch, founded in 1966, were based in a small detached single storey building numbered 35A in
The Fremnells, Fryerns. Sometime during the mid 2000s a full width extension was added to the rear of the
bungalow to create more offices. This was opened on 27th January 2006 by local MP Angela Smith.
Langdon Hills Primary School closes after 64 years. A new larger school, Lincewood Infant &
Junior, was built in nearby Berry Lane to replace the High Road site, which remained open until
the early 1990s as an annexe. The building is still used for educational purposes, now being an
Essex County Council run Children's Support Service Centre.
Gloucester Park Play Centre opened. The new centre was built at a cost of £38,000 for use in
Basildon Council's Play Leadership Scheme. In 2001, having also seen use in the 1990s as Parklands
Nursery, it became Parklands Women's Centre but was demolished in April 2011 when the Basildon Sporting Village opened
as the land had been sold to Barrett Homes as part of a residential development called Acacia Park.
Lincewood County Infant and Junior School in Berry Lane opened. The new school replaces Langdon Hills
primary whose facilities and lack of playing field were considered inadequate for the growing
local population. The first appointed junior headteacher was Mr John Wiggins, who had held the same post
at Langdon Hills. Mrs B. Jackson was the first appointed infant headteacher. In September 2003
the two schools merged to become Lincewood Primary.
Basildon Round Table hold their ninth annual Firework Fiesta and bonfire at Markhams Chase Recreation Ground,
Laindon. This annual event later transferred to Gloucester Park where it was held until 2012.
A1321 Broadmayne is upgraded to duel carriageway between the town centre Southernhay/Ghyllgrove junction and A132 South Mayne roundabout. Three
pedestrian footbridges linking each side of Church Road, Fremnells and Hockley Green and Timberlog Close with Craylands were also constructed as part
of the project as was a short stretch of Duel Carriageway at the northern end of Timberlog Lane between Timberlog Close and its Broadmayne Junction.
Two pedestrian footbridges crossing the A132 South Mayne and Pitsea Road at Barstable and Chalvedon are completed.
Essex House 7 storey office block in Cherrydown East, Basildon is finally let. The office block, built in the late 1960s within the grounds of South Essex
Motors (SEM) Ford dealership, had remained empty since completion in the hope a single entity might take occupation. A large 'to let' banner had been
displayed along the front facing windows. Among those to move in were Essex County Council for their Social Services area offices on two lower floors
and Basildon Development Corporation, who made use of another floor.
Long Riding from its junction with Church Road in an easterly direction is closed off to through
traffic. A short cul-de-sac for access to Fairhouse School is created from the closed off section
along with a new 49 metre curve to Church Road restricted to buses and emergency vehicles. The
draft traffic Order outlining the proposal was issued on 03/08/1973.
Eric Moonman (33,499) elected to serve as Labour member of parliament for the new Basildon constituency including Billericay. He won back the seat,
lost in 1970 to conservative Robert McCrindle who stood down to stand for the new Brentwood and Ongar seat, with a majority of 10,667 over conservative
Dr. Ronald Denney. The general election produced a hung parliament with the Labour party winning the most seats.
Longwood Equestrian Centre at Dry Street, Langdon Hills opened. The British Horse Society approved
riding school and competition centre was conceived by Philip Street. A special two day horse event
was held to mark the occasion of the official opening. It is now leased from the Homes and
Communities Agency, successor to English Partnerships.
Basildon Development Corporation's social house building programme, begun in 1951, totalled 17,814. 289 dwellings were also completed during the
same period for private sale. Industrial development, either by the corporation or under their aegis, stood at 1,201.
Robert Mitchinson is appointed as the third Town Manager of Basildon District Council. He succeeds
David H. Taylor who held the post from March 1966.
Basildon Urban District Council becomes Basildon District Council (Local Government Act 1972) (English
Non-Metropolitan Districts (Definition) Order 1972). A new symbol to represent the council was
also adopted in the form of an interpretation of the Mother and Child sculpture by Maurice Lambert,
R.A., as seen in Town Square, Basildon. Council employee David McIntyre, aged 26 and a graphic designer,
entered the design which had been conceived by fellow public relations officer Peter Lucas, into
a council run competition where it beat 36 other entries earning him a £10 prize.
Anglia Water Authority formed following the Water Act 1973 which authorised the reorganisation of water, sewage and river management in England and
Wales. As well as supplying water to parts of Basildon the authority also took over responsibility for the main sewage and sewage treatment works at
Nevendon. These had previously been the responsibility of Basildon Development Corporation.
6th July - 7th July
The Wombles are the special guests at a two day Summer Family Fayre held at Markhams Chase Recreation Ground, Laindon. Day
one featured a Roman Gladiator Battle, a trapeze artist, a motor cycle stunt team, George Roach (world famous falconer) and others
including the Wombles characters, based on the tv series, who also guested on day two. Day two featured Blondini - the exploding man, a hot air balloon, falling
stars sky divers and an American Civil War battle reinactment. Admission for adults was 50p and children 25p.
The Bryn County Primary School in Church Road, Fryerns opened. The new school for 320 children was created by amalgamating
the former Bryn infant and junior school's, which had become uneconomic to run due to falling pupil numbers. The school was
housed in the junior school buildings which enabled Essex County Council to establish an Education Office in the former infants
Eric Moonman (32,298) re-elected to serve as Labour member of parliament for the Basildon constituency including
Billericay. Majority 10,551. Labour win general election.
Basildon Round Table hold their tenth annual Firework Fiesta and bonfire at Markhams Chase Recreation Ground, Laindon. £600 worth of fireworks
were let off following the lighting of the fire by Basildon Council Chairman Cllr. Ron Austin. Entry prices were: Adults 20p and
Children 10p. The cost of a programme was 10p.
Basildon railway station in Station Way opens. The new intermediate station between Pitsea and Laindon was constructed
following a long campaign begun in the 1950s. Its construction necessitated a new roundabout and road - Station
Way - linking Cherrydown, which was subsequently renamed to Cherrydown East and Cherrydown West, to a junction with
Southernhay. The first train to stop was the 4:45am bound for Fenchurch Street. The original proposed site was further
east at the junction of Clay Hill Road on land now occupied by a car park. The chosen site when completed included
a new underline bridge (Bridge 85A) and pedestrian subway beneath Southernhay. A further subway beneath Cherrydown
East linking with a Kingswood housing area was also constructed though this was later in-filled in 2017. W.C. French were
among the contractors involved in the main construction.
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.
Acknowledgements and Bibliography