At Market Pavement where the first shop opened on 16th August 1958.
In 1961 where the market now stands were three butchers, 2 bakers and a store owned by Littlewoods. In the 60’s when the Market opened at first all the market traders had sheets on the floor, but they sold everything.
From Paul Dawson - a Market Manager Basildon Market will be 50 years old next year. It was originally managed and organised by the council from 1958, although we owned the land. The Market Traders took it over about 12 years ago. They have 41 log cabins,65 stalls and 3 mobile units. The majority of the traders are local with a variation of different stalls from tattooists to greengrocers, health food to fishmongers. Some traders have been here from day one, some have been here for 35 - 40 years. The market trade used to be hereditary, passed down from father to son, it isn't anymore. In the hey day of the Market every part was used of the site including the car park, the traders used to park in the swimming pool car park, and another car park. In the regeneration the council would like to have their council offices where the market is, the market doesn't want this they want to stay where they are, Paul also claims that the town is busier when the market is on. Before the supermarket became quite so powerful there used to be 19 greengrocers and now there are only three. Three greengrocers is good for a market these days. There used to be more of a greengrocery and a produce market, now days it's more of a general market. The market managers are trying to encourage people to come back and shop at the market, they will soon have parking bays for the public to pull up and load up their merchandise, short term parking bays. The benefits of the market are variation and atmosphere.
Opposite is the Bus Station, and Blenheim House, built in 1961, which used to house the Locarno Ballroom. Here you will see a 96m x 4m mosaic by John Gordon, consisting of 16,000 hand printed tiles running across the buildings fascia. From here, you will see in the distance the all-glass Norwich Union building. Follow the signpost to Town Square/Market Square. At the end of Market Pavement, turn right into Town Square (1965).
BASILDON - Birth of a City - Peter Lucas:- The mural was believed to be one of the largest in the country when it was installed. The tiles were 6 inches sq by designer John Gordon and staff.
‘Where Wilkins stands once stood the wooden buildings of the Library and Council Offices.
Continue into the Town Square past the The Town Clock an impressive example of 1960’s design, installed in 1965, then Costa Coffee.
In the square there was a large supermarket that gave pink stamps with your purchase. Where Halifax Bank stands now was Tesco opposite was John Walton’s, gents outfitters, it was one of the first shops and was opened by the late comedian Arthur Askey.
Opposite John Waltons was Tesco, which may have been the first supermarket in Basildon.
Later Superfare opened. Behind Superfare was Halfords.
There was a gents hairdressers called ‘Jeffries.’
Other shops were Martins or Forbuoys and MacFisheries.
There was a Chinese restaurant above where Barclays stands and Primark is where the Co-op stood.
Keay House was opposite to where W.H. Smith’s is now.
Keay House mural - Mr Anthony Holloway A.R.C.A built in four feet squares in red, blue, yellow and green with no title, meaning or message.
vin said... Keay House at 88 Town Square, now called Southgate House, used to jut out into Town Square, and one its fascia was a mural in tile Mosaic created by the artist.
Woolworth and Sainsbury’s stores were opposite where the fountain is now.’
Just before Brook House you will see the iconic Mother and Child set in the fountain pool, this bronze statue by Maurice Lambert, which cost £4,000 in 1961. This has come to symbolise the growth of the New Town. The statue forms the central part of the Town’s Crest and is incorporated into the chain of office of the chairman of Basildon Council.
Right in front of you is Brooke House designed by Sir Basil Spence, the town centres only housing unit opened on July 7th 1962. A 14-storey block of 84 flats, it was named after Henry Brooke, the former Housing Minister. The block is uniquely raised 8m above the ground on 8 ‘V’ shaped reinforced concrete stanchions. It is a Grade 2 listed building.
‘There was a rumour going about that Brooke House was starting to lean and everyone had to get out – Brooke House actually moves but if it didn’t give it would crumble.
‘Another rumour was that one of the Chinese restaurants was selling Kit E Kat.’
‘When the Basildon Corporation started taking over there was not enough resistance. People did not realise what was happening. Once owners were served with compulsory purchase orders they started getting indignant but it was too late it felt quite unfair to the plotlanders.’ (should this go in?)
BASILDON - Birth of a City - Peter Lucas A 2nd not so famous sculpture commissioned in 1960 was the £2,000 'Homer' by Mr. S.E. McWilliam. The Sculpture, also in bronze showed the poet in a squatting position with a dove on his shoulder and a lyre on one arm. A gift to Basildon from Liverpool MP Mr Harold Lever, 'Homer' had several homes in the town before coming to rest in the foyer of the Eastgate Management Centre.
On the south elevation of Freedom House, built in 1960, and on East Walk (1965) across from Brooke House, look up an you will see an untitled tenor clef shaped cast aluminium sculpture with stainless steel wires, by A.J. Poole, erected in 1960.
The Eastgate was built in 1985, which includes the Cats Cradle ‘ Pussiwillow III’ clock by Rowland Emmett (who designed the car in the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) commissioned by Basildon Development Corporation in 1980.
Turn left by Toys R Us and walk along the pedestrianised section of Southernhay. When you reach Great Oaks cross at the pedestrian crossing taking the footpath to the right of Staples Office Store.
Cross Broadmayne by the crossing at the rear of Staples, then walk on into Ghyllgrove road and neighbourhood, built in 1960.
Continue along the footpath for 500 metres crossing first Audley Way.
Audley Way - The manorial name of Audley commemorates the gift to Sir Thomas Audley by Henry VIII of the lands of the Abbey of Walden in 1538.
(Basildon libraries anonymous copies - Beehive Lane that runs alongside Ghyllgrove - It is just the name where beehives were kept.
Braybrooke which is off Audley way which is off Ghyllgrove - The first Lord Braybrooke in the late 18th Century took over Audley End, "the noblest house in Essex", on which he spent £100,000 on restorations.The third Lord Braybrooke is famous as the first editor of Pepys. The present Lord Braybrooke is the 9th holder of the title.)
Then you pass The Gore:
The Gore - A farm in Rochford Hundred. This farm was mentioned in the Court Rolls in 1374.
Come to Butneys on your left.
‘Honeypot Lane runs next to Ghyllgrove. The name came from the soft, sticky, London clay mud bath to which the road reverted whenever it rained, in winter it was particularly unpassable. It has been said that one wet winter there were boat races held in Honeypot Lane and the cows were fed and milked in the fields due to being firmly stuck in the mud.’
‘In 1906 it was the site of the famous ‘Basildon Murder.’ Richard and Robert Buckham aged 20 and 17 years were accused of Killing the Watson’s, a neighbouring married couple. Their dried up pond had forced them to collect water from the brother’s pond on Sawyers Farm. Richard Buckham eventually confessed to shooting them in a ‘blind rage’ and was hanged. Robert was acquitted.’
Just past the Butneys junction, on the left-hand side there is a kissing gate leading into Gloucester Park.
Portrait of Essex by S.A Manning, published in 1977 Gloucester Park, the 355 acre town park, lies in the north-west quarter of the town. The six acre fishing lake, north of he swimming pool, is a central feature. On the town centre side there are pitches for football, rugby football and cricket, and other facilities, including an artificially surfaced practice cricket wicket, a floodlit hard-surfaced play area, a floodlit running-track and a field events area. A cafe and bar administered by the Basildon Sports Council Club are situated in the Murrayfield Pavilion where there is a changing accommodation with showers too.
Murray Field Pavilion built in 1967, provides changing facilities, refreshments and acts as a Cricket scoreboard for county class cricket matches.
As the land to the north of the centre was difficult to drain, it was to be left for recreational use (eventually Gloucester Park).
A College of Further Education was going to be sited in a central position north of the town i.e. Gloucester Park, which changed to the eventual site in Nethermayne.
Take this winding path that has recently been resurfaced, observing the Gloucester Park Meadow on your left, managed by Basildon Council, which gives a natural habitat to wild flowers and insects. Turn left immediately after the footbridge and shortly the path becomes unmade and uneven and, at times, quite waterlogged.
At the signpost by the two bridges, follow the sign to the Athletics Stadium/Pavilion. Follow this path all the way back to the car park where your journey began.
Bullet Points of Route E
- Market Pavement where the first shop opened on 16th August 1958.
- Basildon Market will be 50 years old on 16th August 2008 (next year).
- In 1961 where the market now stands were three butchers, 2 bakers and a store owned by Littlewoods. In the 60’s when the Market opened at first all the market traders had sheets on the floor, but they sold everything.
- The majority of traders are local with a variation of different stalls from greengrocers to health food.
- At one time the market had 19 greengrocers, this was really a produce market.
- Some traders have been here since the beginning, when it first opened.
- Opposite - the Bus Station and Blenhein House built in 1961.
- There is a 96m x 4m Mosaic by John Gordon, consisting of 16,000 hand printed tiles. It was believed to be one of the biggest murals in the country at the time.
- Town Clock, impressive 1960's design installed in 1965.
- On Keay House (now Southgate) is or was a mural by Mr. Anthony Halloway A.R.C.A
- Keay House used to jut out into the Town Square.
- The Iconic Mother and Child, bronze statue by Maurice Lambert which cost 4,000 in 1961.
- Brooke House designed by Sir Basil Spence and was named after Sir Henry Brooke, the former Housing Minister. 14 Storey block of 84 flats. It is uniquely raised 8m above the ground on 8 'V' shaped reinforced concrete stanchions. It's a Grade 2 listed building.
- Untitled Tenor Clef aluminium sculpture, on the south elevation of Freedom House, by A.J. Poole, erected in 1960.
- Eastgate was built in 1985.
- The Cat's Cradle 'Pussiwillow III' clock by Rowland Emmett (who designed the car in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang).
- Beehive Lane - Yes bee's were kept there.
- Audley Way - Commemorates the gift to Sir Thomas Audley of Henry VIII of the lands of the Abbey of Walden.
- The Gore - a farm in the Rochford Hundred that was mentioned in the Court Rolls in 1374.
- Honeypot Lane (runs next to Ghyllgrove) The name came from the soft sticky London clay mud bath to which the road reverted to every time it rained.
- One wet winter there were boat races in Honeypot Lane.
- Cows were fed and milked in the fields due to being firmly stuck in the mud.
- Gloucester Park, the 355 acre town park, lies in the north-west quarter of the town.
- The six acre fishing lake, north of he swimming pool, is a central feature.
- On the town centre side there are pitches for football, rugby football and cricket, and other facilities, including an artificially surfaced practice cricket wicket, a floodlit hard-surfaced play area, a floodlit running-track and a field events area.
- Gloucester Park land was chosen as a recreational area as it was land that was difficult to drain.
- Murray Field Pavilion built in 1967, provides changing facilities, refreshments and acts as a Cricket scoreboard for county class cricket matches