Celebrating many years of rich, vibrant and incredible history, the Basildon Borough Heritage group takes a lead in preserving the story of the town’s past for future generations.

The volunteer group, based at the Green Centre at Wat Tyler Country Park, has a wealth of archives including photographs, keepsakes and memories from the people of the Basildon area, and holds regular exhibitions.

In 2007, there were council plans to demolish the old swimming pool in Gloucester Park and redevelop it for housing.

Vin Harrop, who was the director of the original Arts Centre in Basildon, approached the council to ask for the site to be used as an art centre.

Ken Porter, now chairman of Basildon Heritage, suggested to Vin that the building could also house a heritage centre.

“I was invited to the initial meeting to give my point of view on preserving the borough’s heritage and how the large site could be used as an arts centre and heritage centre,” said Ken, who is a historian and author of two books titled Basildon Famous People.

Although this did not happen,the Basildon Heritage group continued and started running from Ken’s home in Langdon Hills.

“I grew up in Laindon and now live in Langdon Hills. We research along with our volunteers the wealth of history of this borough, and of the people who came from here who have done well and made names for themselves and the history dating back thousands of years,” said Ken.

The group started out as CHASE (Culture and Heritage for all in South Essex).

The late Sue Randle was very active in setting up the group, and preserving the archives which Basildon Council had stored in a cottage at Wat Tyler Park near the marina.

The group were based at the Boat Museum, open since 1987, before it closed in late 2009. The building was refurbished and became the Green Centre and the manager, Steve Prewer, arranged for the team to have an office and display area. In addition to the website manager Jo Cullen set up the Basildon Heritage Facebook group in 2017 which now has thousands of followers. They also produce a quarterly newsletter.

The office is open on Monday and Wednesday mornings, and all day on Saturdays. For more information visit www.basildonheritage.org.uk.