Cat no. 522

Basildon - Our Town

Running time15:42 Colour Sound 1974 Basildon, Essex

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A tour around Basildon, focussing on the London overspill new build.


AmateurPortrait of a Place

A shot of a diesel train and a long sequence showing shots of the London suburbs as the train journeys towards London. These give way to the open spaces nearer Basildon. There is a shot of the train arriving at Basildon Station and people alight. There are long and high-angle shots of the town, over which the commentary explains about the origins and amenities of the town.

The Arts Centre, the Gloucester Park Swimming Pool and the hospital are featured. This was built in 1973 at a cost of £7m. Shots of the countryside and parkland around Basildon. Shots of the old village showing thatched cottages, country lanes and old churches. There are street scenes from the conservation area of Billericay that also shows a bus and a fire engine. These are contrasted with the modern estates of Basildon. Early estates were built on the Garden City principles, lots of open space but little provision for motor vehicles. Later estates provided for this. The amenities for different sections of the age group. Film of the Elliot Close sheltered housing development and of the George Hurd Day Centre. A children's playground on the Laindon Fine Estate and of the Kingswood Play scheme. Woodlands School features. This provides accommodation for a youth club at night. Scenes from the shopping centre at Laindon and of Basildon Town Centre, the market and the industrial estate. Maurice Lambert's statue 'Mother And Child' is filmed. Basildon's recreational facilities are covered in more detail highlighting the squash club and the golf course. There are also facilities for football, rugby and bowls. The film ends with a sequence of Basildon Carnival as it passes through a residential district.

Background Information:

The Woodlands School pupils: Gary Mayo; Tony Treble; Jackie Pottle; Lesley Stirk; Sandra Watts; Sean Blencoe; Stephen Hull; Teacher Kit Fletcher.

Hugh Johns 1922 – 2007 was an English football commentator, best known for his appearances for ITV. During his career, he covered 1,000 matches including four FIFA World Cup finals.


The commentary mentions the people who bought plots after World War I in order to build themselves a new life. The disorganised nature of this, and the poor housing that resulted, is cited by the film as one of the contributory factors behind the organised new town development. One of these pre-fabricated houses is shown in the film. (T. Knighton, May 1997.)

Featured Organisations:

Woodlands School; Basildon Urban District Council

Featured Events:

Basildon Carnival, 1974; Basildon - Our Town.

Featured Buildings:

Basildon Railway Station; The Arts Centre; The Gloucester Park Swimming Pool ; The District Hospital ; The George Hurd Day Centre ; Woodlands School

Woodlands School Production Team

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