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Basildon’s name was up in lights...54 years ago
PEOPLE with long memories and eagle-eyes may have experienced deja vu following the unveiling of Basildon’s new town sign.
Put up at the side of the A127 on a roundabout at the Basildon slip road, the £90,000 Basilwood sign has dominated the headlines and attracted criticism and fans in equal measure.
But the Echo can reveal this is not the first time the district has had its very own Hollywood-style sign.
Back in 1956, the town had its first gigantic logo.
The “Basildon Town Centre Site” was put up just north of Nethermayne, as work finally got under way to build the new town.
The 22 letters were each 3ft 6ins high and stood opposite the railway line to show commuters passing through the area where Basildon town would be.
The letters were also lit up at night so they would stand out to those travelling through the area.
Eagle-eyed Echo reader Alan Farrow spotted the picture of the old sign in a copy of our sister paper, the Southend Standard.
Kevin Blake, Basildon Council’s cabinet member for leisure and the arts, said: “I wasn’t aware there was a sign back then, but I would love to see a picture of it. I fully support the sign. It really has put Basildon on the map.”
Mr Blake said he had received a mixed reaction from members of the public, some of which have backed the Basilwood sign, while others have questioned if the money could be better spent.
But Mr Blake was keen to point out the sign was not paid for exclusively by Basildon taxpayers because the cash was secured after the council’s successful bid to the Homes and Communities Agency.
He added: “People have phoned me asking why we have spent cash on the lights in the town centre and the sign.
“If we didn’t spend the cash, someone else would have, so we might as well have something for the town we love and live in.”
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