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Inns and Public Houses

The Railway: High Road, Pitsea

The Railway, Pitsea Broadway The Railway, Pitsea Broadway
Location: Pitsea
Photographer: Unknown
Year of photo: circa 1930s
Copyright: N/A
Source: Rob Jarvis
Comments: The War Memorial with the Railway Hotel dominating the background view.
Location: Pitsea
Photographer: P.G.C.
Year of photo: 03/09/2006
Copyright: Basildon History Online
Comments: One of the last shots of the Railway before it closed for good.

The Railway public house was built during the 1920s and open for business in 1927. It was the first building in local landowner and businessman Harold George Howard's 'Vision of Pitsea'. The land on which it was built was sold by Mr. Howard to brewers Ind Coope who respected his wishes its appearance be along mock Tudor lines.

An earlier Railway Hotel had been built around 1858-59 not long after Pitsea railway station opened. This closed when the new Railway Hotel was built and was transformed into three shops, one of which was the post office before being demolished. It stood further along the High Road opposite the former market car park, and now the site of McDonald's, Lidl and KFC.

From its earliest days it was known as the Railway Hotel, but by the mid 1970s had become simply The Railway.

For much of its existence brewers Ind Coope (from 1934 Ind Coope & Allsopp) provided their Romford Ales in surroundings that included a spacious banquet hall. An off licence was also incorporated within the building. The grounds included a bowls green, which was laid out in expensive Cumberland turf. Pitsea Bowling Club had use of this when it opened for use on 1st August 1928. Live entertainment in the form of musical groups have also been a past feature that in the 1960s also included a Thursday evening of 'All Star Wrestling'.

Its location and mock Tudor facade made it an important feature of Pitsea but the pub, which had acquired something of a sullied reputation often being referred to as "the flying bottle", fell on hard times and closed for good in September 2006. There was hope that it could become part of a planned Pitsea regeneration programme but its fate was sealed when Basildon Council allowed a planning application on behalf of Morrison's supermarket chain and the site owners that also saw the closure and later demolition of Pitsea Swimming Pool and the eventual resiting of Pitsea Market to the site of the former pub, which had also been scheduled for eventual demolition.

The demolition and clearance of the Railway site began in April 2013 and continued throughout May and June. The site was then prepared for the market which opened on 8th January 2014.

In the years following closure the Railway's forecourt had been in use by a car cleaning company.

Page added: 2006

Text researched and written by William Cox, 2006.
Copyright © 2006, B. Cox - Basildon History Online. All rights reserved.

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