Pitsea


Pitsea

infobox UK place
country = England
official_name= Pitsea
latitude= 51.569
longitude= 0.504
population = 25,000
shire_district= Basildon
shire_county = Essex
region= East of England
constituency_westminster= Basildon
post_town= Basildon
postcode_district = SS13
postcode_area= SS
dial_code= 01268
os_grid_reference= TQ735885

Pitsea is a small town in the east of the Basildon district of south Essex, England. It comprises eight subdistricts: Eversley, Felmores, Northlands Park Neighbourhood, Chalvedon, Pitsea Mount, Pitsea Village, Burnt Mills, and Rushley Park. Vange is located to the west of Pitsea, Bowers Gifford and North Benfleet to the east and Nevendon to the north. Most of the residents from these surrounding area use facilities in Pitsea, such as the local shopping centre, schools and doctors' surgeries.

The town is served by Pitsea railway station, at a junction on the c2c service from Fenchurch Street in the City of London to Shoeburyness with services running via Basildon on the main line or Chafford Hundred on a branch service.

From 1894 to 1934 the Pitsea parish formed part of the Billericay Rural District. In 1934 it became part of the Billericay Urban District and in 1937 the parish was abolished and absorbed into a larger parish of Billericay. [ [http://vision.edina.ac.uk/relationships.jsp?u_id=10245394 Vision of Britain] - Pitsea parish ( [http://vision.edina.ac.uk/bound_map_page.jsp?first=true&u_id=10245394&c_id=10001043 historic map] )] The district, consisting only of the Billericay parish, was renamed Basildon Urban District in 1955. [ [http://vision.edina.ac.uk/relationships.jsp?u_id=10234967 Vision of Britain] - Billericay parish ( [http://vision.edina.ac.uk/bound_map_page.jsp?first=true&u_id=10234967&c_id=10001043 historic map] )]

During the creation of the new town in the late 1940s and early 1950s, "Pitsea" and "Vange" were considered as for the name for the new town. Because Basildon village was central to the district, the town was named "Basildon". Before the new town regeneration, Pitsea and Vange were run down little hamlets in dire need of investment. Basildon, on the other hand, was a quaint little village with a church (which still stands today as Holy Cross church) and a few cottages.

History

There is little known history about Pitsea but its earliest recorded name is Piceseia which was in 1086 and probably recorded as this in the Doomsday Book. This however has changed over the years to many different names including: Pichesey(e), Pikeseye, Pithesey, Petchesey(e), Pisseye, Pitchesey, Pytsay, Pittessey, Pytchey and finally to what it is now Pitsea. It is thought however that all the names are derived from the meaning of Pics' Island, which refers to the area now known as Pitsea Mount.

Chalvedon, which is part of Pitsea has also been known under different guises. In its earliest form it was known as Chauendona meaning Calves Hill this was first recorded in 1119. Other names include: Chaluedona, Chaluedene, Calueden and Callwedone before it ended up being Chalvedon.

During the building of the new town Chalvedon became a housing estate in the west of Pitsea and the local secondary school has taken that name, where as Pitsea got swallowed up by Basildon New Town, although many residents of Pitsea still refer to it as a town in its own right.

Landmarks

Pitsea does not have many landmarks. The skyline at the southern end of the town is dominated by the ever busy A13 Pitsea flyover, which at rush hour gets extremely congested. When approaching Pitsea on the A13 from London or on the train on the Tilbury Loop one prominent landmark is that of the 13th century church of St. Michael and the surrounding residential area, unfortunately the church fell into ruin and only the main tower now survives, the church doubles as a mobile telephone aerial. It has many different names locally ranging from Church on the Hill, Pitsea Mount, and even Snob Hill. Its official name is Pitsea Mount.

There is talk however of an Angel of the North type figure being built within the regeneration of Pitsea.

The 'Pitsea Regeneration'

There is talk of a 'regeneration' of Pitsea town centre which would involve the moving of Pitsea market nearer to the Tesco Extra superstore as well as the building of pubs and bars to introduce a nightlife to the centre of Pitsea, this could be a saviour of the Pitsea landmark of the Railway Hotel public house, which could follow the fate of another local pub (The Fortune of War) in being pulled down and homes being built on the site, this could all depend on the plans for the redevelopment of the centre. The move of the market would see the much visited feature of Pitsea life returned to its original site, after it moved from Station Lane to the infamous 'Pitsea Domes' and then onto its current placement in the Pitsea Centre, this again could see the market given a new lease of life after a recent decline has seen a lot of stall-holders up and leave.

Most of the current Pitsea Centre is now beginning to look old and in dire need of a makeover. The centre which was completed in the late 1970s is a main focal point for local people, however a recent decline has seen a number of businesses leave, and on days when the market is not in the centre it is left looking somewhat of a ghost town. The market was leased by Charfleets from its owners in the mid 1990s and they introduced the Sunday market to a grand opening with both Essex FM and comedian Bobby Davro entertaining the happy shoppers. However recent events regarding its owners has left the market facing a perilous future and this could again hinge around the redevelopment of the centre. It is thought that among the development more homes would be built within the centre, along with more larger shops.

In the Basildon Echo dated Wednesday 17th September 2008, the lead article was about proposed plans to build blocks of flats, one as high as nine storeys on land between the Pitsea flyover and Pitsea Broadway in Station Lane, the plans are described as being the "Gateway" to Pitsea. The scheme will feature five shops, 121 flats, and parking for 126 cars and 109 bikes, whether this scheme will go ahead remains to be seen as it is has yet to go before Basildon council.

Sport

Pitsea is also the home to Essex Senior League side Bowers & Pitsea F.C. They play at Crown Avenue, or to give its proper name the Len Salmon Stadium. The club has never played any higher than its current level. The club play every year in the FA Vase and have even competed in the FA Cup. In season 2007-2008 Bowers & Pitsea exited the competition at the very first hurdle losing 3-1 to Welwyn Garden City, had they progressed far enough they could have in fact faced local rivals Billericay Town. It was in the FA Vase that Bowers & Pitsea F.C. achieved their highest ever attendance of 1,800 against a Billericay Town side which featured ex-West Ham United and Charlton Athletic forward Steve Jones. The club first competed in the FA Cup in season 1994/95 when they lost 4-1 at home to Barking in the Preliminary round, they have never progressed beyond the first qualifying round, and have suffered some quite heavy defeats along the way. The club has also had some well known faces play for them including current Southend United manager Steve Tilson, ex-Charlton Athletic and Crystal Palace forward Paul Williams and were even managed by ex-Millwall keeper Brian Horne.

There are few sporting clubs in Pitsea other than Eversley Park Cricket Club, Basildon & Pitsea Cricket Club, Chalvedon F.C., Chalvedon Boys Amateur Boxing Club, Pitsea Running Club and numerous Sunday League junior and men's football teams, most of these teams can be found playing locally on a Sunday at various points across Pitsea including Eversley Recreation Ground, Trenham Avenue and Pitsea School.

People can also fish locally at Northlands Park, where match fishing often takes place should it take your fancy, also in the park a cafe can be found, quite useful on those cold winter days!

Education

* Chalvedon School & Sixth Form College (Chalvedon has recently created links with another local school Barstable School)
* Northlands Infant & Junior School
* Briscoe Infant & Junior School
* Eversley County Primary School
* Felmore Infant & Junior School
* St Margarets Church of England School
* Pitsea Infant & Junior School
* Northlands Park Childrens Centre - Funded by Sure Start

It is rumoured that in 2007-2008 Chalvedon and Bartable schools will close in their current guise and re-open as an academy for sport and business. It has been said that all 11-14 year olds will attend the Barstable school site, whilst all 15-19 year olds will attend the Chalvedon school site.

Also located in Burnt Mills Road is the Basildon Information and Technology Education Centre. The centre provides both day and night courses in computer IT and design and technology for both school leavers and adults. It was once an infant and junior school for the local area called Nevendon Infant and Junior School, but due to other schools opening in the area pupil numbers declined and the school eventually closed and eventually the school playing field was built on.

There is a library located in Pitsea Centre, as part of the Leisure Centre complex. While it does not have as good a selection of books as Basildon library, the library has a perfectly adequate selection of books and DVDs. It also offers an internet service free of charge, and also offers people the chance to browse the Essex County Council's library catalogue to order books not on offer at Pitsea Library.

There are a few schools in Vange as well including Ryedene Infant & Junior School, Vange Infant & Junior School, Swan Mead Infant & Junior School and Bardfield Infant & Junior School. Swan Mead is in fact the oldest of the 'new-town' schools.

Tourism

* Wat Tyler Country Park

Wat Tyler Country Park (previously known as Pitsea Hall Park) was originally the site of an ammunitions factory that was primarily used during the Second World War, a couple of the old buildings still remain, but any reference of its past has long since gone. Another feature that remains is the old narrow gauge railway which ferried ammunitions to the local marina for transporting to the war front. After standing derelict for many years the area was developed in the early 1980s as a country park for the local residents, and so Wat Tyler Park (named after the local man who led the Peasants Revolt) was created over a convert|125|acre|km2|sing=on area. The park is also home to a motorboat museum, various craft shops, a marina, a miniature steam railway. Some old cottages that have been moved to the park from across the south of Essex. There are several wartime bunkers, which have fallen into disrepair. The park has considerable wildlife. Dotted all around the park are small huts that provide views across the Pitsea Marshes and give ornothologists the opportunity to spot some rare breeds of birds.

* Northlands Park (known locally as Two Lakes) Northlands Park's main feature are its lakes. During the summer the lakes are extremely popular with local fisherman, and is a venue for local match fishing. It also has a basketball court which doubles up as a five a side pitch for football, it also has a skate park for local skateboarders. During the summer Pitsea Carnival has its main fairground there as well. Also to the south of the park you will find an enormous hill which is a challenge for runners and cyclists alike.

* Eversley Recreation Ground (known locally as The Rec)The park is a large recreation ground on which many sporting activities take place on a weekend, featuring six full-size football pitches as well as a junior pitch it gets somewhat busy on Sunday mornings as well as Saturdays with teams doing their training. It also features a cricket pitch and pavilion which again is used mainly on weekends during the summer. The park also features a small play area for children, and was used by the local primary school during the summer for their pupils to play on.

* Eversley Leisure Centre Built in the late 1980s and originally named after local sporting celebrity Terry Marsh the centre is a local hub for keep fit and sport enthusiasts. Every day there are always some sort of activities going on including keep fit, karate, judo, roller hockey and five-a-side football. The centre also boasts a bar on the first floor which gives a good view over the entire park.

* Howard's Park Located on the eastern corner of Rectory Road and High Road, Howard's Park is named after local 1930s entrepreneur Reginald Howard. The park also has the local war-memorial situated to the north of the park which can be accessed via Howard's Crescent. The memorial was moved here from Station Lane opposite the Railway Pub due to the restructuring of Station Lane and the business of the High Road.

The post-box situated near the Rectory Road entrance to the park has "G R" on the box. This would date the box to pre-1952 as George VI of the United Kingdom was on the throne.
* Pitsea Leisure Centre Pitsea Leisure Centre, along with the local library, was built in the early 1980s as a local hub for the community.

* Gala Bingo -- Previously known as Granada Bingo, the site began life as a local cinema before the new town was built and brought with it the larger multi-screen cinemas.

* Pitsea Swimming Pool Opened during the late 1970s amidst the generation of Pitsea Centre the pool gets quite busy, and is often used by the local junior and secondary schools, it also offers swimming lessons as well as a solarium.

* Essex Horse Sanctuary This is a charity which helps ill-treated horses and donkeys back into recovery, the centre is funded by having open days and receiving lottery grants.

Pubs

Pitsea has a few pubs:
* The Bull
* The Gun
* The Chalvedon Hall
* The Watermill
* The Chalvedon Square Social Club
* The British Legion
* The Vange & Pitsea Social Club
* Pitsea Leisure Centre
* Eversley Leisure Centre
* Bowers Sports & Social Club
* The Winged Horse

There is also The Barge pub in Vange situated on the corner of Vange High Road and Clay Hill Road. Two other pubs in the Vange area have shut down in recent years. Firstly The Commodore was knocked down and flats built on top of it, then there was The Powerhouse, this was pulled down mainly because of the violent troubles which surrounded the pub, it was eventually pulled down and flats built on top of it.

Shopping

Pitsea has always had a thriving shopping area which included shops along both sides of the old High Road which has changed beyond recognition since the development of the new town with all the shops down the southern end Station Lane and Rectory Road being demolished, but the main shopping area in the Pitsea Centre wasn't created until the late 1970s before hand it was the main football pitch for local side Bowers United who played on a pitch behind The Railway Hotel pub.

Upon completion it included many shops including The Co-Op, a fruit and veg shop, a butchers (which it still is today), Tower Radio, AW Rusts, Martin McColl, Able Jacks and Sainsbury's. All of these shops have now gone, and the old Sainsbury's store has in fact been turned into three separate shops Poundland, Aldi and a new restaurant which is yet to open and is believed to be a fish and chip restaurant very much in the same mould as Harry Ramsden's. The same block also has many offices as part of the Pembroke House development, but many of these units are reportedly empty. In the early 1980s more shops were added at the bottom end of Northlands Pavement next to Lloyds Bank, initially they were a chemists, a shoe repairers, and the Woolwich Building Society. With the Woolwich due to close in June 2007 none of the original shops will remain, with the chemist taken over by a newsagents (Smokers Paradise) in the mid-1980s and a card shop taking over from the shoe-repairers, it remains to be seen who (or what) will take over the shop, however with two shops already empty after the closure of AW Rusts and Martin McColl the future doesn't look particularly good. In the summer of 2008 it appears that a new pizza restaurant is to open in one half of what was AW Rusts under the name of Topps Pizza.

Pitsea's shopping area nowadays is dominated by one shop, Tesco Extra. Most things can be found in the shop, and at one point was the second biggest Tesco in England. Pitsea also boasts many fast-food outlets which get busy during the lunctime break at the local secondary school at Chalvedon School and on a Saturday when shoppers flock to the market. Pitsea Town Centre in recent years has declined significantly with Sainsbury's, local tool specialists Beech Brothers, Leisure Sports, Hickley's, Pitsea Electrics, Simply Grooves, Pitsea Video, and Martin McColl all leaving, add to this well known local trader A.W. Rust, it leaves you wondering what is going to be next.

On 29 June 2007 the Woolwich closed its doors across the UK, with all of its customers being moved to Barclays Bank, the shop has since been taken over by bookmakers Pridmores.

Pitsea features many High Street names including Aldi, Lidl, Blockbuster Video, Tesco, Homebase, KFC, McDonalds, Corals, Ladbrokes, Abbey National, Barclays Bank, Lloyds TSB, Subway, Thresher and Timpson.

Tower Radio and another Homebase are in Vange.

Pitsea has many more smaller independent shops including a jeweller's, fancy dress, florists, estate agents, newsagents, travel agents, fast-food outlets and dry cleaners.

In September 1997 part of the mock Tudor buildings that were built by Mr Howard in the 1930s burnt down, there was a lot of local mystery surrounding the fire as there were talks about redeveloping the site even then, business were lost including a fishing tackle shop, a pet shop and insurance company.

In June 2006 part of the Pitsea retail park burnt down, three shops were subsequently demolished. Pets At Home, BeWise and Farmfoods were all destroyed in the fire, some animals from Pets At Home were saved, whilst many more died, the site has now been completely rebuilt in the exact same manner as before and both Pets At Home and Farmfoods have since re-opened, and a new company called Store 21 has opened where BeWise was, this particular shop was given a special opening ceremony and it was Callum Best who announced the shop open.

There are also many useful local shopping areas as well, these are located in Rectory Road, Felmore Shopping Centre, Chalvedon Square in Mill Green, as well as odd shops in London Road and Burnt Mills Road. There are also some local shopping areas in Vange including The Riverview Centre, Clay Hill Road, Paynters Hill and Stacey's Corner. There is also an electrical shop called Tower Radio located just after the Two Bridges in the High Road.

During the late 1970s and early 1980s Pitsea boasted a third supermarket in the shape of Co-Op which was located in the market place where the amusement arcade, clothes shop, catalogue clearance shop, and hair dressers are. When Sainsbury's moved into Pitsea in 1980, the Co-Op duly closed and the site remained empty for many years. Various owners have come and gone since in both the upstairs site, and downstairs site. Upstairs has boasted a snooker club, which when open proved very popular, and a Health and Fitness Club called the Feline Centre, whilst downstairs even boasted a nightclub called 'The Playground' which only lasted a very short period of time before closing. The downstairs was eventually turned into the current shops we have now, whilst the upstairs remains empty and looking vandalised. There we rumours recently of it re-opening as a snooker club, but those rumours have since faded away.

* Pitsea Market

Pitsea Market originally started out life in Station Lane Pitsea with many stalls and it quickly became popular with local residents. Many stall holders would come from far and wide to work the market, and one of the originals The Cohen Brothers would serve the market well for many decades. However as Basildon became a new town and the area became developed, it was decided it was time to move the market to a more suitable location, and the infamous Pitsea Domes were built on what is now a KFC. Many of the stalls here were inside and many spilt out onto the car-park, the Domes were a dominant landmark for many years until the development of the Pitsea Centre in the late 1970s where it was decided to move the market to compete alongside the new shops being built, where the market stands today. In this time the market became extremely popular and would get extremely busy on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

It was in the mid-1990s that the market was taken over and given a whole new lease of life. It was taken over by the owners of the successful Charfleets Market that was on Canvey Island.

Upon taking over they introduced two more market days with a Sunday market which spilt into the car park and a second hand market which began on a Thursday before being moved to Fridays, also during the early 2000s the market also began introducing car-boot sales to the Sunday market, they have also introduced lock up cabins for many stall holders making it easier to open and close their stalls, they also demolished some buildings as well, which included a toilet block, market office and a couple of stalls. but by doing this it enabled them to make the aisles wider and more maneuverable.

However things have slowly gone down hill for the market, on most market days many of the stalls seem to be empty with supposedly increased rent prices driving stall holders away to car boot sales and many of the older and well liked stall holders have also gone out of business, one in particular being the Cohen Brothers from Southend, they were known for selling near enough anything that a household could need ranging from ironing boards to kids toys, it was all done in the style of Only Fools and Horses Del Boy and it became very popular with punters and he was very busy at Christmas time.

The boot sales now on a Sunday have become somewhat disappointing with only a handful of stall holders bothering to turn up.

Recently the Friday second hand market was featured as part of the sales pitch in an episode of the BBC's Car Booty, but as with most stall holders on a Friday the sellers did not do well only making in the region of £100.

With the regeneration in sight it can only be a matter of time before this well renowned and much loved market finally calls it a day.

Transport links

Transport links to the main town centre in Basildon is served well by the local bus, taxi and train services.

To get to Basildon Town Centre by bus you can get the 1, 2, 5, 8, 12, 21, and 22 all from Pitsea Broadway. The 5 and 8 run on a 10 minute basis i.e. they run every 10 minutes. If you wish to get a bus to Southend you can catch the 2, or Arriva 5. If you wish to travel to either Canvey or Lakeside Shopping Centre then you can catch the 22, but the fact that bus fares remain painfully high people are still shying away from using the bus services, with the only times the buses being busy are during the morning and evening rush hour.

To get to Basildon Town Centre by train you can get a train on the c2c line from Pitsea to Basildon, this line will also take you to either London or Southend as well.

The main office of A&B Taxis resides just above blockbusters on Pitsea broadway.

Road links in and out of Pitsea are very good as well. To the south, the town is served by the ever busy A13 Pitsea bypass, this road will take you to either London or Southend and has a direct link to the M25 as well as Lakeside Shopping Centre in the evening rush hour this road can get very, very congested. To the east is the A130 which will take you to either Canvey Island or Chelmsford and links to the A12 which will take you either into London or up into East Anglia. To the north is the A127 which serves the same purpose as the A13, and to the west is the A132 which is the border which separates Pitsea from Barstable and Vange, this road takes you from Pitsea to many links into either Basildon town centre, the A127 and Wickford.

Employment

Most people living in Pitsea either commute to Basildon, Southend or London for employment whereas the main employer in Pitsea is probably Tesco Extra.

Pitsea has a fair few amount of office spaces as well, which can be found in Pembroke House, which is in the main Pitsea Centre, Broadway Chambers which is located in the main Pitsea Broadway and Tudor Chambers located in Station Lane. The offices include solicitors, insurance companies, an accounting software company and an employment agency.

An office in Tudor Chambers was used a for a while by Richard Howitt the Labour Member of the European Parliament for the East of England, although how often this was used is unclear.

To the north of Pitsea is the Burnt Mills Industrial Estate which has many industrial units, including freight delivery, printing, a car wreck yard and a small amount of manufacturing, also in this area is the main delivery depot for the courier T.N.T. again they employ many people from the Pitsea area. Also in this area is the main waterworks for the area, unfortunately during the summer this can prove to be rather smelly, although Essex and Suffolk Water deny there is anything wrong with it. Also further along from there is the main local depot for the cable TV company Telewest Blueyonder which came to the area in the early 1990s under the name of United Artists before changing its name to Telewest and then more recently to Virgin Media.

Local issues

In the land between the waterworks and the Hovefields Industrial Park, there has been ongoing talks of building a large incinerator much to the town residents disagreement. This has led to local disapproval and petitions have been signed and handed in to the government over this matter. Concerns surround the fumes which would be churned out by the chimneys on the incinerator and what effect it could have on local people's health.

Pitsea Tip also has to deal with refuse that is sent down from London and again there has been concern regarding the type of waste that is dumped there. However it is not just waste from London that is dumped there, but also from neighbouring councils. What is of even more concern that there is also talk of transforming part of the tip into a country park, whether or not this would be deemed safe is another matter.

There is ongoing talk of a possibility of transforming land beside Pitsea Flyover into a site for travellers to live on, this was greeted by a degree of dismay by local residents as it was revealed that it would be home to travellers from the infamous Dale Farm site, the local residents of Pitsea have since handed a 5,000 signature petition in to Downing Street opposing this idea, it is thought that house values in area would suffer in the same manner as those in nearby Crays Hill. It has also transpired that the same land next to the flyover in Terminus Drive is being sought after by Basildon United Football Club, they have been told they will have to vacate their current premises because of development plans for their current ground in Gardiners Close. Basildon United have also inquired about building a stadium in Eversley Recreation Park directly next to their local rivals Bowers & Pitsea's ground, this was dismissed after local residents opposed the idea.

Famous people

* Angela Smith Labour Member of Parliament for Basildon & Thurrock
* Scott Robinson from 5ive
* QBoy - UK's leading gay rapper
* Carla Brown Page 3 model
* Paul Smith ex-footballer with Brentford F.C., Gillingham F.C. and Southend United F.C.
* Michael Kightly footballer with Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C.
* Marc Crumpton TV Presenter, & male model
* Phil Dudley ex-footballer with Southend United F.C.

References

External links

* [http://www.bockinghamgreen.co.uk Bockingham Green, Pitsea, Basildon]
* [http://www.basildon.com/history/pitsea/pitsea.html Old photos of Pitsea]
* [http://www.bowersandpitseafc.netfirms.com/ Bowers & Pitsea Football Club]
* [http://www.chalvedon.com/ Chalvedon School website]
* [http://www.eversley.essex.sch.uk/ Eversley County Primary School website]
* [http://www.charfleets.com/html/pitsea.html/ Pitsea Market website]
* [http://www.basildon.gov.uk/80256B90004A6718/vWeb/flEFEN6XLL8G/$file/pitsea+town+centre+masterplan+-+preferred+options++january+2007.pdf/ Pitsea Town Centre masterplan]
* [http://www.pitsea-jun.essex.sch.uk/ Pitsea Junior School website]
* [http://www.pitsea-runners.freeserve.co.uk// Pitsea Running Club website]
* [http://basildoncricket.hitscricket.com/default.aspx/ Basildon & Pitsea Cricket Club website]
* [http://www.francisfrith.com/search/england/essex/pitsea// More Pitsea pictures]


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