In the past century weapons and tools have been unearthed in Basildon, proving that the early inhabitants of this place were hunters.
The inhabitants of the Bronze age left a lot of evidence of the settlement in this area. Besides which, the sites of the Iron age settlement have also been unearthed. Large settlements have been excavated at Billericay, Wickford, Basildon New Town and Langdon Hills.
Basildon was occupied by the Romans for at least four centuries and during this time the inhabitants with the surrounding area became romanised. New towns were founded, roads were built and the local industries got more organised. In 412AD Britain was left to defend itself as the Romans left to defend the Gaul Empire. Saxon Raiders invades the Essex coast in the 4th century and you found that this country was overrun with the intensification of these Saxon raids with all the vestiges of the Roman civilisation being destroyed. This was the beginning of the ‘Dark Ages”.
Basildon area gained importance during this time as the Saxons preferred settlements at a distance from the Roman towns. The first king, Sebert, made London a part of his kingdom. It was during the early Saxon period that the local villages, as seen today, began to take shape.
After 800AD the Danes ravaged the surrounding countryside. They sailed into rivers and creeks surrounding this area. During this time, resistance became organised and skirmishes lead to battles.
New Towns Act:
One of the first acts passed by the Labour Government of post-war was in 1946 and known as the New Town Act. One of the main aims of this act was to create new towns specifically for the ‘overspill’ problem in London. It was only in the year 1948 that the government granted the provisional approval for this town of Basildon. On 4th January 1949 Basildon was declared as the ‘new town’.
It was only in February 1949 a Basildon Development corporation was formed by the government for the transformation of the designated area into a modern new town. Between 1949 and 1950 the Corporation conducted a property ad land survey of the designated area.
The first factory operated in 1951 and work on creating an Industrial area commenced at around the same time. The first big names to move to Basildon were the Bonallack coachbuilders, followed by the Ford Motor Company. This motor company built a radiator plant which was purpose built in the year 1957.
Excavated spoil which was mostly London clay was utilised for the creation of artificial hills at different sites around the area.
Basildon seems to be expanding with the passing of time and the East gate indoor shopping centre is a proof to this. This town of Basildon completed 50 years in the year 1999 and the town was honoured by a visit of Her Majesty in March.
The town of Basildon is as interesting as the history and with the number of museums can take you back in time to relive this.