Changes to Billericay

1959 to 2015

By Derek Heinson

My wife and I came to live in Billericay in 1959. During those 56 years of living here the town has been in constant change, some of which I have listed below. I have not attempted to date the changes although some approximate dates are given. Also there are many changes which I have forgotten. There have also been a significant number of changes in the shops and their functions during the period, some which I have detailed.

  1. St. Andrews Hospital with maternity wards and grounds have been replaced with a housing estate and a health centre.
  2. The Garage down the hill (opposite Radford Way) has been replaced with Langthornes, a multi-story block of flats.
  3. Radford Way which now connects Gooseberry Green to the Stock Road replaces the foot path which ran down along past the Coal Yard and Railway.
  4. Flats were built on the corner of Radford Way/Stock Road (Radstock) replacing a sand pit.
  5. Shops and flats were built between Radford Way and the Railway approach road (which I think was then unmade in 1959) meeting the Stock road.
  6. A large industrial estate was built between Radford Way and the Park.
  7. An office complex was built down Radford Way near Gooseberry Green adjacent to the Railway.
  8. The railway Coal Yard was converted into the railway Car Park.
  9. A pub and shops were built at the unusual shaped roundabout at Gooseberry Green which replaced the “T” junction to Mountnessing road.
  10. The Queens Park estates together with shops, a supermarket and a golf course have been built.
  11. There was a house opposite the Railway Station entrance which has been removed and later replaced with a Garage (BP) and M&S shop.
  12. Shops and flats have been built between Radford Way and the Railway approach Road (top end).
  13. The Railway approach road in 1959 had an estate agents temporary building in the position roughly where the Mayflower Taxi office is today.
  14. The Railway Station has been “modernised” twice, with a new bridge fitted across the lines and a new ticket office, consisting of enclosed hall and a lift.
  15. A metal bridge was fitted adjacent to the existing main Stock Road brick bridge for pedestrians only.
  16. A small “hut” at the corner of the High Street and Western Road was removed.
  17. Restaurants and cafés were then built on the Western Road/High Street corner.
  18. Kit’s wood yard and general shop near the corner of the High Street and Norsey Road were replaced with an Italian restaurant and houses (behind).
  19. A block of shops and offices built from Kits and extended further up the High Street to Sheredays, and later new houses were built down behind these shops.
  20. The Co-op (small shop) on the west side of the High Street was removed and a new enlarged building further up the High Street became the Co-op Supermarket. This was subsequently closed and was converted into the Blue Boar pub/restaurant.
  21. Argos replaced a furniture store which had replaced a supermarket which, in turn, had replaced Bassom's wallpaper and paint shop.
  22. There was no paved footpath in front of the Chequers Pub and buses from Chelmsford to Ramsden Hearth used to turn round at the junction with Chapel Street to return to Chelmsford. The 5 day return bus fare to Chelmsford was 10 shillings in1959.
  23. The small road between the Chequers pub and the present bakers (Chantry Chase) was unmade and lead past an old disused barn, also behind the pub and the fish shop back yard was another single height barn made with vertical timbers, the road is now made and the barns have been taken down. The area has recently been redeveloped with a tall wooden planked building situated behind what was Goodspeed fish shop.
  24. At the end of Chantry Chase were two bungalows now removed and replaced by the Day Centre and lower down Chantry Way by 5 small terraced houses. Chantry Way was extended up to but not connected to Chantry Chase through what was a disused market garden. There are now houses on the south side (built in the 1960’s). Lower down the hill is the Chantry Estate built 1953-1956.
  25. Below the new terraced houses and to the left is a large area which was built in the 1960’s called the Cloisters Estate connected through to Crown Road.
  26. Down the hill at the bottom of Chantry Way and on the other side of Valley Road was a corn field in 1959 extending over to Greens Farm Lane and the pre-war Sunnymead estate; this area has been completely redeveloped.
  27. At the lower end of Valley Road is Meadow Rise/Hill Way where an extensive estate was built up to the railway to reach Outwood Common.
  28. During the 1960’s the Walthamstow estate was also built to the east of the Sunnymead estate.
  29. Returning to Chapel Street; Chapel House was removed, the Cinema was still operating as a Cinema in 1959, but later changed into a Bingo Hall and finally it was demolished and replaced with flats.
  30. A road (Chapel Crescent) was built and lined with houses.
  31. At the junction with Chapel Street a Garage was built (now only used for car maintenance). The wooden building on the corner of Hillside Road was used for child care run by the WRVS and supplying cod liver oil and orange juice for babies, this was replaced with a permanent building (offices).
  32. A very ancient black barn stood on the other side of the road in Chapel Street (used for radio television repairs) this was eventually dismantled and rebuilt in Wat Tyler Park Basildon but unfortunately, at a later date, it was burnt down.
  33. Hillside Road was unmade in 1959 and there were wooden posts across the road between Hillside Road and made up Valley Road.
  34. At the junction of Valley Road and Jacksons Lane a pub was built and called the Dove Cot; subsequently it was re-named due to problems with noise etc.
  35. A parade of shops was built on the left hand side of Valley Road at the beginning of Meadow Rise.
  36. Greens Farm Lane was up graded and another estate was built up the hill beyond Mill Meadows.
  37. Returning to the High Street and past the Church a whole set of buildings were demolished, Leyland's, a fish shop and general shop and replaced with a set of shops such as “Boots” etc. up to the opticians and the Cater Museum.
  38. Across the High Street there was the Library on the corner of the car park road which was demolished and replaced with the Abbey National Building Society now named the Santander Bank.
  39. On the church side of the High Street further up there was an entrance to a car park in the gardens behind the large house called Foxcroft. Here stood some prefabricated buildings which later became the Billericay Arts Association known as the “Fold”. The Fold was later relocated to the old Quilters School in Laindon Road.
  40. The old Fold building was demolished and a large car park for the new Waitrose supermarket further up the High Street was built.
  41. The entrance to this car park was converted into a road called Alma Link and taken through to meet Chapel Street with a mini roundabout for Waitrose traffic.
  42. Woolworth’s store on the west side of the High Street was there for a significant number of years until it closed down and was replaced with the Iceland food store.
  43. On the corner of Lion Lane opposite The Red Lion Pub there has been a garage
  44. (Hensman's), replaced with two different supermarkets and there is now a “Pound store”.
  45. Beyond the Pound store were a group of terraced cottages which were demolished and replaced with a range of shops up to the lane leading to the W.I. hall.
  46. The other side of this lane were buildings including St. Edith’s house which were demolished and replaced with two estate agents shops and a large office block “Frizzle House” which now has a different name.
  47. Between the Library and the Police Station several other buildings were replaced with office buildings.
  48. Along the Laindon Road the Archer Hall was demolished and replaced with the Emanuel Church.
  49. Billericay School was extensively rebuilt.
  50. A new road was constructed from the turn off on the Southend Road along the edge of the school playing fields to meet the road to Basildon.
  51. Mill Meadows and Norsey Woods were reclassified as nature reserves.
  52. Mayflower School in Stock Road was built.
  53. The open ground opposite the police station was designated as protected open space for the Queens golden jubilee.
  54. Cramphorn’s shop/ building on the corner of Sun Street was eventually demolished and replaced. Cramphorn's main retail store is now located in the Chelmsford area.
  55. Sheltered housing (Albion Court) was built in Sun Street.
  56. The Rising Sun public house is now closed and a new development is taking place behind it.
  57. The White Hart public house in the High Street has closed.

 

This page was added by Jim Devlin on 13/02/2016.
Comments about this page (Add a comment about this page)

Hi Jim, this is Pam from Ontario, Canada.  That was so sad for me to see all these changes.  I came back five years ago and stood outside what was then the Chantry cafe and just thought "What happened? Who are these people ? LOL! I sound old now! We just don't want our childhood memories to change, it hurt's a bit doesn't it?  Nothing much appeared to change in Lake Meadows though (please don't tell me otherwise).

Take care my friend and have one for me at the Chequers!

By Pam Jones (nee Routledge)
On 01/03/2016

I was born in St Andrews in 1953 and lived all my childhood in Mayflower Road on Chantry Estate. I remember most of those places you mention, although I had forgotten that Hillside Road was unmade then, even though I walked up there every day to school. I can remember walking up with my mum to collect the national health orange juice in a glass bottle. My Dad used to get so angry when more and more shops and old buildings in the High Street were demolished. Still that's progress for you... Thanks for the memories.

By Theresa Bex Elmer
On 17/07/2016

Thank you for filling names of shops etc., that I can visualize but forgotten the names.  I too have lived in Billericay from the mid 60's and like you have seen many changes.  I am very keen on knitting and craft and remember when Billericay had five Wool shops, a lovely art shop and a fabric store.

By Christine Phillips
On 17/07/2016