East Anglian Film Archive

The Changing Face of our Community through two films

By Andrea Ash (née Pinnell)

I have just discovered the University of East Anglia Film Archive - where there is 200 hours of historic free film.

There are two films that show the changing face of our community. 

  • The first is Contrast between Basildon New Town and Laindon  produced in 1959 by Anglia Television. This shows some of the homes being produced by the Corporation and compares them with pictures of some of the unmade roads in Laindon in at their worst. 
  • The second Basildon - Our Town produced in 1974 by Students from Woodlands School in conjunction with Basildon Council's Public Relations Section.

Just been viewing Basildon, Laindon and surrounding areas in the second film

To me this has felt laughable and cryable.  There is so much that has gone now, so much changed and so much built on since that film.  For anyone who moved away and hasen't returned since 1970's then they would need to ask their contacts still living locally to find out what has stayed the same.  Seems quite an innocent film in one way too.

This page was added by Andrea Ash (Nee Pinnell) on 05/01/2012.
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Hallo Nina, Strangely enough my son Tom also belonged to the St.Nicholas Scout group but is some 15 years older than Mark and would not have known him. Also I can see there are hundreds of miles separating them in Canada. I have never been to Canada as I am too fragile to make the journey. Tom only went to Canada after his retirement and now enjoys two of his favoutrte pastimes. Skiing in winter and part time cowhand and horse wrangler in the summer. He was able to get his son accepted into his first choice UNI, Calgary University. 

His wife was also very fortunate as in England she had the daily grind of travelling to the city where she worked for Reuters International who allowed her to keep her job and work from home in Canada although one week in every month she has to go to New York or Hong Kong direct by air from Calgary airport which is only 30 miles away, which she says is much preferable to travelling on the Liverpool St. line. 

They are in regular contact and there is a usual Saturday evening talk on Skype which is their breakfast time and Tom does visit although June does not have the time to do so, although Jonathon, his son, has friends in the Billericay area to visit him in the summer break. 

With old inhabitants living in Canada and Australia the name of Laindon will live on in far flung places.

By W.H.Diment
On 21/01/2012

Hello William. The world is getting smaller all the time. Yes that would be good, if possible, but unfortunately they live many miles from each other.

However, they may know each other from Laindon. Our son is called Mark Humphrey. He was born in 1971. He went to Chowdhary School, Lincewood School, Laindon School and Basildon College. Mark met a Canadian girl while back-backing in Australia in 2000. He moved to Ontario in 2004 and after 3 years, was granted Canadian Citizenship. 

They married in 2007 and now he lives and works in Toronto. We have been out there three times, the second time was for their wedding in 2007. We may go for a visit again later this year, but haven’t anything planned yet. 

We love visiting Canada, it is a very beautiful Country, and so vast. However, I wouldn’t consider living there, because I couldn’t bear to move far from my beloved Laindon. 

Mark belonged to Laindon Cub Scouts and 6th Laindon Scouts from 1979 to 1987. I remember taking him along to Cub meetings in a field just behind St Nicholas Church. 

I’ll try to get him to write something for the archives if he can fit it into his busy life. We could do with some younger blood writing in with their memories of Laindon but it’s mostly us oldies that can spare the time. Best wishes.

By Nina Humphrey(née Burton)
On 21/01/2012

Hallo Nina, I notice in part of thbe narrative you mentioned a son living in Canada. I too have a son living there in a small township of Okotoks in the rockies, nearest Town Calgary. I know it is a huge country but if by some coincidence your son was living near, perhaps a couple of old Laindoners would be pleased to meet. While the chances are astronomical, he did meet up with a couple from Southend.

By W.H.Diment
On 20/01/2012

OK, I can see it now, the rising road in the distance must be Laindon Link, the objects I thought were bridge parapets are the retaining walls put up to stop off the ends of Inverness Road. Also you can faintly see some modern concrete lamp columns in the distance. Nicely thought out Editor. 

I Don't know about the third one, only on screen for a few seconds. 

Ken Page has the other one nailed, nice work by your dad on the concrete footway.

By Richard Haines
On 15/01/2012

In the short clip of the taxi unloading the Smiths, OK, who's the cab driver then, anyone with any ideas?

By ken page
On 15/01/2012

Gday all, definitely the end of Berry Lane and the start of "the Glade" as we called it. The bins were the dust bins for the Berry Park residents to dump their household rubbish, most of us burnt or otherwise disposed of most of it at our property.

The concrete path was built by residents after having a collection to pay for the materials, my old man, the Pilchers, Tom Nash and a few others did the work over one summer, it ran the length of Beech Hall Gardens from Ronald Ave to just past Bill Hayballs place to give all residents a dry path up and down the Glade.

It was certainly possible to ride bikes on it all year round, I did so on Lungley's trade bike only crashing once and that was from mud on the path on a bend.

The house we moved into in 1958 'Locarno' was about 50 yards from those bins, Pat Biggs family was even closer, they were adjacent to Markhams Farm Chase if thats any help to any of you.

Re the old couple, knew the faces but couldn't remember the names.

By ken page
On 15/01/2012

Definitely loooks like a bridge at 23-24 seconds into the film, what do others think? Also more of a main road there with cars moving.

Editor: I still can not see the railway bridge. I think that the veiw is looking down Summerset Road towards the High Road with Laindon Link in the background.

By Richard Haines
On 15/01/2012

Nina, I didnt recognise the muddy road location either. The footpath they used was concrete. The only clue to location was the railway bridge in the distance, which meant it wasn't at our end of Laindon.

I'm sure you have read 'A Plotland Album', its a little book I bought in about 1984. On page 6 photo 5 is a brilliant view of a typical Laindon muddy road in the 1950s. That photo sums up what Nichol Road, Claremont Road and Tavistock Road looked like in 1957. I'd love to know where it was taken.

I also remember what it was like to get a 'bootie' as we called it, also the clay sticking to your shoes if you went the back way to school down Claremont Road, I spent hours cleaning my shoes whilst at LHR. Also taking them for repairs at the shop over the road from us (near the Variety Stores). Luckily when they built our house there was a concrete path put in to serve the group of 4 Semis, down to the High Road. Convenient for nipping over to Pelhams to buy a Cadburys Flake.

Like you say, the bicycles were kept in the garage during winter - but what a lovely time in the summer in those far off days!

Editor: Richard in which film clip did you see the railway bridge. The first clip shows three muddy roads. I have identified the second one and think I will be able to confirm the identification of the first looking down towards the High Road the third road is a little harder.

By Richard Haines
On 15/01/2012

Thank you Ian, I appreciate your response. Now I know why I didn't recognise it - not quite my neck of the woods. There was no way we could ride our bikes on our footpath in wintertime, so we had to abandon them until the spring. We just had to traipse through the muck and slosh the best we could. It's a wonder I can still laugh about it like I do! Best wishes.

By Nina Humphrey(née Burton)
On 14/01/2012

In the first film the muddy track that the old couple walk down was The Glade at the end of Berry Lane. I walked or cycled that path almost daily for seven years on my journey to and from home on the Lower Dunton Road. 

I am checking through my old photographs to try and confirm but I think the old couple were Mr and Mrs Smith.

By Ian Mott
On 14/01/2012

Hi Richard – me again. I like what you said about the films and agree with you about the flat roof buildings – not good. I was fascinated with the little film but disappointed the road wasn’t named. I didn’t recognise where it was and wonder if you have any idea. My observation was that although the track was very wet and muddy, the footpath itself was quite substantial and made of either tarmac or concrete. In fact, it was quite luxurious compared with our unmade footpath, the continuation of King Edward Road, west of Devonshire Road, leading round into Alexandra Road, which was just mud. Wooden railway sleepers had been laid along it at some point but when it was very wet and muddy, they would sink down. Walking along it in the dark, I would sometimes get what we called ‘a boot full’, when I stepped into a deep muddy puddle right up to my ankle and then had to ‘squelch’ my way home. The best thing to do was laugh. I used to carry a little cloth with me so that when I got to school I could dampen it and wipe the muddy splashes off the backs of my legs. Such wonderful memories, and loads of fun! Best wishes.

By Nina Humphrey(née Burton)
On 14/01/2012

I looked at the first little film about the Laindon unmade road and the other roads in early Basildon. I know which I prefer. Walking on that muddy track with shopping like the elderly couple couldn't have been much fun but the sight of the flat roofed Basildon properties made me think of a ghetto. Also, having lived in both types of areas you can give me the mud tracks any day. No wonder the taxi drivers were always washing and polishing those Austins. Happy times, I spent many hours as a 15 year old filling the Jeakins taxis up with fuel or making tea for the drivers.

By Richard Haines
On 10/01/2012

I sent the link to my son Mark who lives in Canada. He was absolutely thrilled to see the film that shows me with his baby sister, his grandparents and aunt, even though he missed appearing in it himself by a few seconds. He says the film is awesome and so interesting, especially the last scene where one of the little girls sitting on the playground roundabout appears to be smoking a cigarette. I watched the film again and sure enough, she is going through the actions of smoking, but when she takes a draw, I didn’t notice any smoke appearing, so maybe it was a sweet cigarette. But, who knows – what do you think? I am sure many other observations will be made, I will certainly be watching the film through again several times myself.

By Nina Humphrey(née Burton)
On 06/01/2012

Well done mum. :o))) This site needs people like you to keep the memories going. Love you xxx

By Jenny
On 05/01/2012

Andrea. Thank you, thank you. I have just watched the film on the second link and nearly fell off my chair. I am in it. After 13 minutes and 9 seconds into the film, the Basildon Carnival is shown going passed 321 Whitmore Way, where my in-laws, the Humphrey family lived. We always watched the Carnival from there every year. My sister-in-law Susan (young girl in green top) is standing on the pavement with my father-in-law, Bill Humphrey. I start walking backwards down the path from the left, pulling the pushchair with me containing my daughter Michelle (she was 4 months old there). My Mother-in-law, Jess Humphrey, follows in a white jacket with her hands behind her back. We are only seen for a few seconds but Colin and I have sent the link to other family members who I am sure will be as surprised and chuffed as we are. How fantastic to see Colin’s late mum and dad again – such a lovely couple. Just a pity the photographer cut the scene quite abruptly or we may have seen Colin follow us out onto the pavement with our 2 year old son Mark. I know certain members of our family are going to be thrilled with your discovery.

By Nina Humphrey(née Burton)
On 05/01/2012
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