Basildon’s Worst Case Of Eviction?

Whether or not you are celebrating the 70th Anniversary of Basildon New Town, it may be worth reflecting on the heartbreak and suffering that was caused to many local residents of Laindon and the surrounding district at the time.

Apart from my own parents’ and many other families’ experience of Compulsory Purchase, one case in particular comes to mind. The eviction of four elderly ladies from their long-time home in Pipps Hill Close (formerly Nevenden Road) to make way for the Aquatel development in 1973.

Their large house was called ‘Park Lodge’ which the 1911 Census describes as having 6 rooms. Nine people were living there at that time, Mr Francis Hughes (a poultry farmer), his wife Elizabeth and their seven children Elizabeth, Lily, Mabel, Margaret, Francis, Arthur and Frederick.

Apparently, in later years, younger brother Frederick and his wife Edna lived at ‘Windermere’, Rectory Road.

The 1939 Register shows that Lily was a nurse, attached to ARP ambulances.

At the time of the CPO in 1973, three of the sisters, Lily, Mabel and Margaret, then in their seventies, were still living in the house which had been built by their father in 1896, along with a widowed niece, Mrs E. Hegarty.

Their story is told in the article below. So very sad and cruel that they weren’t allowed to live out their lives in the home their father had made for them.

After the eviction, the plot lay empty for a while until the lovely arboretum that their father had created, became part of the short lived Aquatel’s Zoo and Ecology Centre, which soon changed to become a function room called Festival Hall, used to hold events such as boxing matches – again short lived.

Today, a large self-storage warehouse called ‘Storage King’ stands in Basildon’s Festival Park on the former site of the Hughes family’s beloved house.

'Park Lodge' stood to the right of the Ecology Centre, between Pipps Hill Close and Crane's Farm Road. A tree can be seen marked on the large plot of the former house and garden.
An updated map showing the same area.

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  • Unfortunately a lot of people have a short memory or are not bothered because it never affected them, the so called need for development of houses or industrial seems to override everything else.
    Perhaps a complete boycott of these so called celebrations would drive a nail into Basildon Council…..

    By R.F.Howard (18/03/2019)

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