True life accounts of how things were in Laindon, Vange, Pitsea etc., from people
who were living here then.
Some stories recall historical accounts of the days when the Basildon area was windy
country lanes with farms, fields, and scattered development. Others recall the transition
in the years following the area being designated a new town in 1949.
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by Renee Chapple
Renee was born at her parents bungalow in Belle Vue Road, Vange. This was just before the outbreak
of World War Two. She recalls the latter war years when a bomb exploded nearby blowing the bungalows'
windows out and of her parents who always made sure there was food on the table during hard times.
Pitsea - From 1929 until 1945
by Jeanne Hart
In 1928 Jeanne moved with her parents from London to a bungalow in Rectory Gardens, Pitsea. She
recalls the living conditions as well as the local area as it was in the period 1929 to the end
of the Second World War.
Growing up in Pitsea
by Beryl Lucas (née Bull)
Beryl first lived in Rectory Road before moving to St. Marys Crescent. She recalls her early
years at Pitsea school, playing games in the street and many other childhood memories.
Remembering the White House, and my grandparents in Station Lane
by Robert Wilson
Robert takes us back to the late '50s and 1960s recalling memories from around Pitsea and the Ghyllgrove
area in the early days of Basildon as a new town.
My 60s-70s Childhood in Bowers Gifford
by Jacqueline Douglas
Jacqueline grew up in Page Road, Bowers Gifford and went to Pitsea Infant & Junior School. She
describes her time there in vivid detail as well as the area around her home. Trips to the 'domed'
market place at Pitsea and days out to Southend seafront riding on the open top deck of their cream
coloured buses are all part of her story.
Gladys Turbard - The Queen of Laindon by Jill Cox
For over 80 years Gladys Turbard was a very welcoming and familiar sight around the streets of
Laindon, Langdon Hills and Basildon New Town. From the early 1940s to the late 1970s she
worked as a postwoman delivering the mail in all weathers around the often unmade roads and
grass tracks of "old Laindon" and the surrounding area. This is the story of those days and much more.
A person's life in Vange by J.R. Cartwright
A fascinating account of life in Vange and its shops through personal memories during the
1940s to the 1950s, when Campbell's motor services ran the school bus, the local chemist was
Mr. Conduit and a cup of tea could be had at the Busy Bee Cafe.
The story of Basildon & District as they were 1937 - 1947
by Thomas Edwards
A journey along the original roads of the area that was to become
Basildon new town. Beginning and ending at Holy Cross Church, with graphic descriptions of the
old villages of Basildon, Nevendon and Vange, as they were in the period 1937 - 1947.
Laindon in the 1950s and 1960s
by Brian Baylis
Laindon born Brian Baylis describes the High Road and its many shops, from the Railway Station
to the Fortune of War in the 1950s and 1960s. He also recounts his school days spent at Markhams Chase Primary,
where the Headmistress was Janet Duke, and at Laindon High Road Secondary Modern, whose Headmaster then
was Mr. J.H.J. Woodward.
A Memoir of Langdon Hills Sanatorium
by David Alexander
In 1927 a Sanatorium in Dry Street, Langdon Hills opened. Its
purpose to treat tuberculosis in children. David Alexander was a patient there between
1943/1944 and he gives a graphic account of those times spent within its confines. A time like
no other, with Britain in the grips of World War Two and the Thames skyline ablaze with the
light from German bombs.
A New Life in The New Town
by Marion Hancock
New Town 'pioneers' Marion Hancock and her husband moved to Basildon in December 1956. With
half finished houses, muddy streets and no town centre to speak of; her
first impressions were mixed. Determined to settle and make a go of it, she then took
a job as a 'cub' reporter on a local newspaper.
New Town Reporter
by Marion Hancock
The second part of Marion's new town story sees her working for the Laindon/Basildon Recorder
newspaper. From their headquarters, then based at 70 High Road, Laindon, she quickly learnt the
main points of good journalism. Covering everything from Royal and prime ministerial visits, to
celebrity shop openings, she witnessed first hand Basildon's transition into a modern town.
by Martin Twelftree
Memories from the late 1950s of unmade roads in Vange, Firman's Dairies, the shops in Laindon
High Road, and the Publicans wheelchair race to the Crown at Langdon Hills.
Childhood memories of Bowers Gifford, North Benfleet and Pitsea
by John Wernham
Horse drawn vans, Saturday morning matinees at the Century and St. Margaret's school are just some of the
memories in John Wernham's account of life in Bowers Gifford and the Pound Lane area of North
Benfleet in the years before and after the Second World War.
Unexplained Mystery's of Bowers Gifford and North Benfleet
by John Wernham
Four intriguing stories of unexplained events and mysterious happenings.
Spooks Scooter Club
by Roger Plummer
Spooks Scooter Club was formed in the late 1950s in Vange at a time when the scooter was in its first phase
of popularity. With mixed membership, the club was very popular, organising outings and
attending events, and ran for many years into the 1960s.
by Andrea Ash
Memories of "old Bondy", a reclusive character who lived in a shack off an unmade road
in Langdon Hills from around the mid 1940s.
My Memories of Langdon Hills
by Lilian Mead
Lilian's childhood memories of Langdon Hills during the 1940s to 1951.
Pitsea and Langdon Hills
by John Brooker
Pitsea and Langdon Hills memories from the 1940s to 1956.
Newby in Laindon
by Andy C.
Andy's memories of 1980s Basildon that included busking in Market Pavement and the Laindon Centre
and evenings spent in the original Towngate bar.
A Teenager in Basildon
by Mike Fruin
Mike moved from Romford to Basildon in 1955 and lived at Danbury Down. He recalls the towns'
early days and growing up as a teenager when there were few entertainment opportunities.
Laindon Christmas 1953
by Fred Rand
Fred's memories of moving into a bungalow on the Berry Park Estate in 1953 and the harsh living
conditions that followed.
by Ken Page
In the 1930s Ken's parents built a bungalow in Langdon Hills at Ronald Avenue on the Berry Park
Estate which the family occupied from 1938. Ken was born soon after and his memories from the 1940s
to 1964 when he emigrated to Australia include tobogganing down the Dunton Hills and working for
Grant Best and Smith Greenfield's Printers, then both based at Durham Road.
Ray's Family Butchers
by Ray Crosbie
In 1966 Ray Crosbie began a mobile meat and provisions service and for the next 23 years his van
was a regular sight around the streets of Laindon and Langdon Hills. Other members of the family
later joined him as he extended the round into Basildon and Pitsea before relocating to Norfolk in 1989.
Memories of Matthews Butchers and the Locarno Ballroom
by Shirley Crosbie
In 1959 Shirley accepted an opportunity by her then employer Matthews Butchers to transfer to
a new branch set to open in Market Square. She then moved to Basildon and was soon given a new
house at Great Gregorie in the Lee Chapel South area. In 1964, after her second child was born,
she took an evening shift job in the box office at the Locarno Ballroom in Market Pavement and
saw many famous pop groups perform there. She later joined her husband Ray's mobile family butchers
business and has many happy memories from 30 years spent living and working in Basildon.
From London to Basildon and Plotland Memories
by Beryl Cox
London born Beryl Cox relives her memories of life on a plotland estate at Langdon Hills in one of the many
'weekend' shacks that could be purchased quite cheaply in the late 1940s. She later moved permanently
to the area with her husband and family from 1961 to 1978 and includes many recollections from that period.
Laindon through my eyes
by Andrea Ash
Andrea was born in the 1940s at the family home in Denbigh Road, Laindon. She vividly recalls the house and
many others in the surrounding neighbourhood; now lost to an industrial estate and realigned High
Road. Her school years at Langdon Hills primary, where among her teachers was 'strict disciplinarian' Miss
O'Brien, and Laindon High Road provide more memories. Many local landmarks are also described as are
her early jobs at Brown & Tawse in West Horndon and Bonallacks in Basildon.
A Teabreak Tale
by Ken Bainbridge
1950s memories of life on the farm in the area now occupied by St. Martin's church in Basildon.
Tew's shoe repair shop at the top of Riverton Drive, Vange
by John Doney
1950s memories of the High Road, Vange and its many shops.
Memories of Vange, London Road and Pitsea Market
1950s recollections of London Road, Vange and the original Pitsea Market.
Goodbye Vange - An Essex settlement disappears
by Anne Kebbell
When Anne's parents got married in 1937 they rented a nice brick-built bungalow for 15/- a week, as they could not put down the deposit for a
Memories of Langdon Hills
by Pam Watson
Memories of Langdon Hills including Cottis the bakers and Peperell's newsagent.
Billericay to the Laindon Hills and back to Billericay Edited by Percy Lindley
Taken from the book "New Holidays in Essex" published in 1892, is this word for word account of a 'walking
route' from Billericay to the Laindon Hills and back. Much description is given to the splendid
views seen from the Crown Inn and various other landmarks on the journey.
Text written 2002 with revisions 2002-2020.
Description copyright © 2002-2020, Basildon History Online. All rights reserved.