High Road, Laindon, Shops, Houses, Businesses & Public Buildings|
Shops, Businesses, Housing and Public Buildings: 1890s-1980s (East Side)
1) Laindon Station to St. Nicholas Lane
2) St. Nicholas Lane to A127 Fortune-of-War junction
Shops, Businesses, Housing and Public Buildings: 1890s-1980s (West Side)
1) Laindon Station to Victoria Road
2) Victoria Road to A127 Fortune-of-War junction
Please note: These are work in progress.
Some of the earliest buildings to occupy a place in the High Road were put up by Estate
Agents. These were normally small wooden structures and some survived well into the 1900s. The first shops began to open
in the High Road possibly as early as the 1890s and these were built close to the railway station which had opened in
1888. Some shops were built in groups while others stood alone and it was not uncommon for the shopkeeper and his family
to live above the premises. The Laindon Hotel was probably the largest stand-alone building, and this was built in 1896
and survived through to 1991.
As the local population grew the shop numbers increased and with various other buildings
such as halls, residential houses, petrol stations, a school and the doctor's surgery, it wasn't long before much of the
entire length of the High Road from the railway station to the Fortune-of-War and beyond to the Noak Hill/Wash Road junction
had some kind of property or amenity fronting it.
The popularity of the High Road as a shopping centre probably peaked around the 1950s, as,
following Basildon's designation as a new town, the High Road in its then layout, would not see any significant change - with
the exception of Laindon Link - until the 1960s. The 'Master Plan' for Basildon had earmarked Laindon for a new shopping
centre and this left many traders with a very uncertain future. Some closed altogether, while other established names like
Henbest, and Charsley's moved to the main town centre at Basildon in 1958 when the first units were ready for use. Those
that continued were given the opportunity to relocate to the new Laindon Shopping Centre, which after some years of delay
finally opened in late 1969.
The High Road today is virtually unrecognisable to how it was having been considerably
altered particularly at its southern end. Here the road was significantly realigned around 1973 to eradicate the bend and steep
incline of Station Approach, and the Laindon 4 housing estate with a one way service road now runs parallel from Laindon Link
to Northumberland Avenue. Opposite this estate are two remaining shops on the corner with Durham Road which was later named
"Parkinson's Corner" in honour of Cliff Parkinson, whose adjacent shop at No. 32 served the area from 1970 to 2004. A little
further along at Somerset Road in the late 1960s/early 1970s a duel carriageway linking Laindon Link and St. Nicholas Lane was
created along with a roundabout at each end. It was here on the east side that the site for the shopping centre to replace the
existing shops was chosen.
Between the railway station and the West Mayne/St. Nicholas Lane roundabout, with the exception of the aforementioned
shops, there are no other surviving pre-new town buildings. The section leading to the Fortune-of-War roundabout is still
largely residential though a good many of the original houses have long since disappeared. The actual course of the road
here has remained unaltered and there is still one pre-new town shop (formerly a butchers) which somehow seems to have
escaped the developers.
Two of the most recent changes was the demolition of The Laindon secondary school during May/June
2007 as the first phase of a new housing development called Radford Park. The other was the demolition of Laindon Shopping
Centre in various stages between 2008 and 2019 in favour of a new development called Laindon Place which will combine
apartments and houses and shop units along with a relocated Lidl store.