Interesting stories could be told of many more of Essex's older brick building, details of which should be sought in Pevsner's Essex Volume in the Building of England series.
Find the info about Trafford House in relation to Manchester United football ground.
Vin mentioned how many trees the council planted in Gloucester Park, find out the species too.
There is evidence that an annual fair was held at Basildon form the Middle Ages until 1848 when the last reference appears in White's Directory of the County. The site may have been where Fairhouse Farm used to stand and where Fairhouse School stands now.
Ironsides - Civil War?
Much information on social history through the centuries is available in the Hundred Rolls, the Manor Court Rolls (from 1500), the Quarter Session Rolls (from 1550) and the Church Records (from 1700).