Wickford


Wickford

Wickford is a town in the South of the English county of Essex, with a population of more than 32,500. It has become a commuter town, serving the City of London through its direct connection to Liverpool Street through the Southend Victoria line. Wickford is approximately 30 miles (50km) East of London and can be reached via the road network, or by train (taking about 40 minutes). Wickford falls within the District of Basildon along with Basildon and Billericay.

History

The town has existed since before 975. There is evidence that the area itself was inhabited in prehistoric, Roman and Saxon times. Wickford was referred to in the Domesday Book as both Wicfort and Wincfort [http://www.getty.edu/vow/TGNFullDisplay?find=wickford&place=&nation=&prev_page=1&english=Y&subjectid=1031117] .Before the 20th century Wickford was an agricultural village.

American relations

It is believed that the Wickford in Washington County, Rhode Island, USA is named after this English town after a woman called Elizabeth Reade who married John Winthrop, a Governor of Connecticut. Both John Kerry and George W. Bush have a common ancestor from the town, Elizabeth Reade's father Edmund Reade (ca.1563-1623/4).

Naked Britain

Wickford became the birthplace of Naturism in the United Kingdom. In 1922 the English Gymnosophist Society was formed and had its home in the town.

The Second World War

During The Second World War the edge of town was hit by one of the German Doodlebugs. Around the town, in amongst the hedgerows and fields, there are numerous Pillboxes constructed as a part of British anti-invasion preparations.

The flood of '58

In 1958 Wickford town centre was hit by a flood, which made national news headlines. The most striking image of the flood was a double decker bus, left stranded at Halls Corner overnight, partly submerged by the floodwater. A second bad flood in 1960 meant changes to the course of the River Crouch were made. This included turning the river into a concrete channel through the centre of the town, although this may be removed in the coming years, depending on the scale of the Wickford Masterplan (see below).

Geography

For the most part Wickford is flat and 10 metres above sea level. The highest point, on the outskirts of the town, is 74 metres above sea level. The River Crouch flows through the town, from the west to the east. The River Wick flows into the River Crouch from the South.

Neighbouring Towns and villages

* South Hanningfield
* West Hanningfield
* Rettendon
* Runwell
* Battlesbridge
* Rawreth
* Crays Hill
* Ramsden Bellhouse
* Ramsden Heath
* Downham
* Shotgate
* South Woodham Ferrers
* Billericay
* Basildon
* Rayleigh

Future plans

An early development was completed in early 2006, but work to start the main part of the redevelopment has begun, starting with a major redevelopment of Lower Southend Road. All businesses on one side of this road will be demolished to make way for 200 flats, along with cafes, restaurants, and a public green space and public square. Work began to demolish the first buildings in February 2007. are also planned, such as improving facilities and improving access on both sides of the station.

Notable people

* Alvin Stardust's mother used to own and run a café just outside of Wickford railway station. Alvin, himself, worked on a building site in Wickford before he was famous.
* Chantelle Houghton, winner of Celebrity Big Brother 2006 lives in Wickford.
* Capital Radio Afternoon DJ Chris Brooks lives in Wickford.
* Southend United's manager Steve Tilson.
* Comedy Actors/writers Rhys Thomas and Tony Way are both from Wickford

External links

* [http://www.basildon.gov.uk/80256B6C00357148/vWeb/wpAPSY57QENL Basildon District Council - Early History of Wickford]
* [http://www.guardian.co.uk/uselections2004/story/0,13918,1309000,00.html Guardian Unlimited - Candidates have same Essex ancestor]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/ww2/A2772650 BBC People's War] - Memories of Wickford during the Second World War


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