Saturday, 14 April 2007

Route A - Laindon Park

From a combination of Memories of Basildon – Jim Reeve and talking to Maud Sargeant, copies of papers kept in the back of Basildon Library and what was already written about the trail.

Head towards the Murrayfield Pavilion (built 1967)
27 April 2007 14:14 vin said... Murrayfield PavilionIn 1961 Walter Flack of the Murrayfield Real Estate Company offered to donote £15,000 towards a sports centre for the town. In 1966 the Company agreed that the money could be used towards a pavilion for Gloucester Park. This would provide changing facilities, refreshments, and act as a Cricket scoreboard for county class cricket matches.
Following the foot path/cycle track parallel to Cranes Farm Road.
Continue along this path round the back of the pavilion following the signs to Swimming Pool/Boating Lake.

BASILDON -Birth of a City - Peter Lucas As the land to the north of the centre was difficult to drain, it was to be left for recreational use (eventually Gloucester Park).
Saturday 14th April - 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.
Follow the sign to Boating Lake/Town Centre (skateboard area on your left). Continue along this path which circles the boating lake, with the swimming pool built in 1967, on your left.
Saturday 14th April - Portrait of Essex by S.A Manning, published in 1977 The covered and heated swimming pool in the southern part of Gloucester Park, close to the town centre, is well used. With a main championship-sized pool and a teaching-pool, it is open to the public throughout the week, private and class instruction.
Vin Said: Originally Basildon District Council wanted to provide an "Olympic" size swimming pool for the New Town, but the numbers of people it would serve and the prohibitively high construction cost would mean that admission charges could not be kept to a reasonable level without a very considerable change to the Council's resources. It was therefore decided to provide a pool of "Championship" size within the Amateur Swimming Association's rules and requirements. The decision to incorporate a swimming pool into Gloucester Park enabled the pool to be integrated into the park design enhancing both elements.The architect says: ' I introduced a design which reflected the function of the building which required greater headroom over the diving stage and less at the shallow end of the main hall. This resulted in a sloping roof and the teaching pool with a flat ceiling level acting as visual stop. The cafe and the administrative offices formed a connecting link between the two pools, thus the design consisted of three linked elements'.Considerable research was undertaken into the design details under the astute leadersip of Kenneth Cotton RIBA, who introduced several innovative features that at the time were unique in swimming pool design.Amongst these were a pressurized roof space to resist humid treated water vapour from attaching to the metal roof members, and a system of water circulation whereby treated water was brought into the pool by means of nozzles in the floor of the tank. These in turn were regulated to provide greater volumne of treated water in the areas of greatest bathing load. This system involved the design of a special scum channel and became known as the 'Surflow System'. Other features included a box structural corridor to withstand the water pressure created by the pool and the outside lake. Within the corridor there were inspection panels to enable the swimming coaches to observe the style and activities of the swimmers being trained.Within the general concept of the advanced design of the 'pool', a sun terrace was created opening off the main pool surround and projecting over one of the lakes that was incorporated into the Gloucester Park design. 16 April 2007 03:13

Vin Said: GLOUCESTER PARK SWIMMING POOL"This swimming pool building is a rarity amongst municipal swimmimg pool structures of the period. It was designed with real conviction and flare. The vivacity of this post-modernist structure clearly made a very positive statement for the New Town in the 1960's" Vin HarropEssex Architecture Centre

Turn right under Broadmayne noticing the Animal Frieze in concrete by Wendy Taylor, on either side of the tunnel, then take a sharp left at a sign marked Town Centre. Cross over Westgate then turn right into St. Martin’s Square on the church side with the Bell Tower on your right.
Vin Said: Before you reach St Martin's Square from Broadmayne, look over to your left on the other side of Broadmayne and you will see a small building with a very pointed roof. This is the Basildon Community Resourse Centre,opened on the 1 November 1983 by Lord Len Murray. It was originally called the The Unemployed Workers Centre, but changed its name when it became a registered charity in 1996. That name was chosen by the Transports and General Workers Union who helped fund the building. The rest of the money came from the Basildon Development Corporation, and the structure is based on a Potten A Frame, a Scandinavian design transported here from Sweden. When it was constructed it had a silver roof, but this caused a reflection on the widnscreens of passing cars so the roof was painted green. Many people know the building by its nickname, the 'Toblerone'. 26 April 2007 12:03

St. Martins Bell Tower is an original concept by Douglas Galloway officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 12th March 1999; it is a unique free-standing faceted glass and steel tower built to mark the new millennium. It is an 85 foot octagonal spire of Neo-Gothic design compromising over 300 square metres of glass. It has 8 bells.
There are eight bells
1st bell weights 204Kg;
2nd, 205Kg;
3rd, 254KG;
4th, 255Kg;
5th, 255Kg;
6th, 306Kg;
7th, 357Kg
8th, the Tenor Bell weights 565 Kg.ells, the tenor bell was made in 1441 and was the first bell cast by a woman, Joanne Hill.

St. Martin Le Tours church was built in 1962 and designed by local architect, Trena Cotton. Notice the figure of The Bailor Christ above the South Porch. This was designed and constructed in fibreglass by the sculptor, T.B. Huxley-Jones and erected in 1968. The church contains some magnificent stained glass windows installed in 1989, designed and made by Joseph Nuttgens.
BASILDON - Birth of a City - Peter Lucas
Mr Huxley-Jones - The Bailor Christ. Just a few months after the statue had been officially dedicated, Mr. Huxley-Jones was admitted to St. Johns Hospital, Chelmsford with a heart condition. He died there four days later on Dec 10th 1968, it was the last work he did.
Vin said:- The history of St Martin's Church begins in the thirteeth century when a Christian Community was established at St Nicholas, Laindon. Throughout the centuries Christians in that area worshiped there. With the advent of the New Town the congregation faced up to the challenge tat was presented to it under the leadership of the then rector, the Reverend Bill Winfield and helped to build a new church in the centre of the town.On 27 February 1960 land on which the church is built was conveyed to the Church Commissioners and the Rector of Basildon and building began. On Saturday, 15 October 1960 the foundation stone was laid by Sir Humfrey Gale who was at that time Chairman of Basildon DEvelopment Corporation. Two years later on 10 December 1962 the church was consecrated by the Bishop of Chelmsford and placed under the patronage of St Maryin of Tours. The church was designed by Mrs T. M. Cotton RIBA. In his sermon the bishop expressed the hope that St Martin's would be 'a pounding heart of the community'.To celebrate the jubilee of the consecration of St Martin's the Church Council decided to commission Stained Glass Windows to replace the clear glass ones They were paid for by Basildon District Council, local industry, Barclays bank and the Ford Motor Company,at a cost of £6,000 for each bay. The commission was given to Mr Joseph Nuttgens and it was the largest commission to be given since the building of Coventry Cathedral.

*In the post war re-organisation of the central parishes St. Nicholoas's in the High Street in Colchester was pulled down, its bells going to St. Martins Church in Basildon.

Barstable Cottage (was sometimes called Hotwater Hall) once stood where Marks and Spencer’s stands today. It stood at the end of Hotwater Lane.
The manor courts were notably held here and it is suggested that those summoned here were in ‘hot water.’ Another story is that this was an area that criminals did their penance and had to manually dig up the fields in the area, and they were referred to as ‘those who were in hot water.’
Barstable Cottage was entirely wooden apart from its chimney stack.
The Development Corporation bought it from its owners for £150.

Turn left into St. Martins Gardens following the path through St Michael’s Walk on the right ad walk through St. Martins Gardens leaving the gardens at the exit facing the Towngate Theatre. The Towngate Theatre was built in 1988 and the adjoining Basildon (Bas) Centre was built in 1989.
vin said... Where Argus now stands were the temporary offices of Basildon Urban District Council. These were single story, portacabin type buildings stretching from the Westgate Shopping Centre to Fodderwick and out as far as Southerhay. To the East of the council offices the Arts Centre stood, fronting onto Towngate and Roundacre. The 'centre' was opened on 21 September 1968 with the premiere screening of the film 'Never Strike a Woman'.
27 April 2007 14:25
vin said...
ADDENDUM The Film which opened the Arts Centre on 21 September 1968 was " Never strike a lady except with a daisy", the latest film by the Czech director, Zdenek Podskalsky

Bullet Points for Route A

  • Murray Field Pavilion built in 1967, provides changing facilities, refreshments and acts as a Cricket scoreboard for county class cricket matches.
  • Gloucester Park - As the land was difficult to drain it was to be left for recreational use.
  • Swimming Pool built 1967
  • Animal Frieze in concrete by Wendy Taylor on the underpass.
  • St Martins Bell Tower by Douglas Galloway - opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 12th March 1999. Built to mark the new millenium. 8 Bells, the tenor bell was made in 1441 and was the first bell to be cast by a woman, Joanne Hill.
  • St. Martin Le Tours Church - built in 1962 by Trena Cotton.
  • Bailor Christ designed and constructed in fibre glass by the sculptor T.B. Huxley-Jones, erected in 1968.
  • The magnificent stained glass windows installed in 1989, designed by Joseph Nuttgens.
  • Barstable Cottage once stood where Marks and Spencers is now, it was entirely made by wood aprt from it's chimney stacks, and surrounded by fields.
  • Towngate Theatre built 1988
  • Bas Centre 1989