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Pitsea: The War Memorial

War Memorial, Station Lane, Pitsea    
Year of photo:
Copyright: N/A
Source: A commercial postcard
Comments: The war memorial in its original setting at Station Lane.

The Pitsea War Memorial originally stood in Station Lane and was unveiled on Sunday 18th November, 1928. It was presented to Pitsea by Harold George Howard, landowner and founder of Howard's Dairies, who bore its cost and lived locally at Blue House Farm.

It was sited on its own island in the centre of Station Lane at its junction with the High Road.

The unveiling ceremony and dedication service was performed by guest of honour Sir Beachcroft Towse V.C., K.C.V.O., C.B.E., and the Rector of Pitsea, Rev. Ernest William Grevatt. Revds. Joseph B. Brightman and H. Stevens were also present and took part in the proceedings.

It was erected to the memory of the men from Pitsea and Bowers Gifford who fell in the Great War, and takes the form of a greek maiden representing life holding a torch of truth and carrying an olive branch in the left hand. The column on which the figure stands is of Cornish granite and the torch, held in the right hand, was illuminated at night.

Proposals for a war memorial in some form or another had been the subject of discussion when the local parish council met two years earlier on 23rd August, 1926. Among the proposals put forward were either a clock tower, a monument or recreation ground. It was also disclosed that Mr. Howard was prepared to solely finance a monument and that the intended location was the Station Lane junction with the High Road.

In 1969 two road projects; the long awaited A13 Vange and Pitsea by-pass and the continuation of East Mayne (as South Mayne), would, when completed, change the look of Pitsea for the foreseeable future. In order that two flyovers, a roundabout and link roads be constructed the existing Pitsea Market was moved to an adjacent field and Station Lane was truncated to a cul-de-sac.

The war memorial wasn't affected directly by any of this but around August the previous year it was agreed between the development corporation and the Pitsea & District branch of the British Legion, then led by Howard Pembroke, that the memorial would be moved from Station Lane and the existing busy A13 route to a new site, preferably in Howard Park.

Years earlier in December 1961 and perhaps in anticipation of future developments the local newspaper reported that the British Legion submitted a request to the council's Parks Committee to resite it in Howard Park. Although the response is unknown and it remained at Station Lane, the 1968 rememberance day service did prove to be the last on the current site and the war memorial was resited later in 1969 to its new location on the north side of Howard Park where it remains to this day.

Basildon Council are responsible for its maintenance.

Other points of interest
(1) Sir Ernest Beachcroft Beckwith Towse V.C., K.C.V.O., C.B.E., (23/04/1864–21/06/1948).

(2) Howard Park renamed in June 2012 to Howard Diamond Jubilee Park to honour Queen Elizabeth II 60 year reign.

Page added: 2013

Text researched and written by William Cox, 2013.
Copyright © 2013, B. Cox - Basildon History Online. All rights reserved.

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