About The Billericay Society

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The Billericay Society was formed on Saturday, 27th July, 1935. At that time, the Council for the Protection of Rural Essex wanted to set up a local area committee, so a meeting was held in Lockers Hall, and the first President was Mrs Ward, owner of the Hall.

Consequently, The Society was then known as ‘The Billericay Area Group of the Essex Branch of the Council for the Preservation of Rural England’. The first Secretary was Basil Brooks, J.P.

It was long felt that such a title was unwieldy, and so in 1972 the name was changed to “The Billericay Society”, affiliated to the Council for the Protection of Rural Essex.

Following the death of Mrs Ward, the Earl of Mexborough (who lived in Stockwell Hall, Little Burstead) took over as President in 1943.

 

 

This (picture right) is 74A, 74 and 74B High Street, our Head Office and the Cater Museum.  It is an 18th century red-brick fronted building in 2 storeys and attic.  The ground floor now has 19th century bow windows, and there are two shops.

In 1945 discussion by the Committee began on the desirability of forming a museum in Billericay; but it was not until 1957, when founder member, Mrs Cater, purchased 74 High Street – former home of the Eales family, Saddlers and Harness Makers. Because of her kind donation of the property, the Museum was set up. It was officially opened on 7th May 1960, and it became the official address of The Society, and remains so to this day.
The objectives of The Society, as set down at the original meeting, are:

  1. To protect and promote the amenities of the township of Billericay and the surrounding countryside.
  2. To arrange visits, meetings and other activities and generally take any lawful action necessary for the attainment of the above objectives.

Some of the activities and promotions which have been carried out are:-

  1. In 1948 the group played an active part in the designing and siting of a Second World War Memorial in the High Street….
  2. Campaigned for a number of years for a Panel to be set up to monitor the Conservation Area which has now been operating for a number of years.
  3. The Society has designed and erected three Town Signs on the approaches to Billericay.
  4. The Society has carried out numerous surveys of trees, roads, traffic, litter signs and graffiti, and made representations to the appropriate authorities.
  5. The Society keeps a watchful eye on local public footpaths. It was at the instigation of The Society that local footpaths began to be signposted in 1961, as all direction signs had been removed during the 1939-1945 World War.

A Billericay Footpath Map and a booklet on open spaces have been produced by The Society and in 1963 the definitive history of the High Street entitled “Billericay and its High Street” by Harry Richman, was produced. At that time, he was Curator of the Museum.

Billericay Society has up-dated the aims and objectives as follows:-
  • To protect our environment from being spoilt and from all forms of pollution, wherever possible.
  • To speak out when buildings of historic or architectural interest are in danger of defacement or destruction.
  • To safeguard access to the countryside footpaths and rights of way.
  • To monitor planning applications in the area and to oppose inappropriate developments.
  • To conserve our heritage.
  • To give assistance to kindred societies.


On the social side, The Society organises monthly meetings where speakers are invited to talk about their special interests. Our rambles organisers lead members on local scenic walks through the nearby countryside.

We welcome all constructive and practical suggestions for the enhancement and benefit of our community and environment.


Anyone wishing to become a member of the society should
Telephone: the Honorary Membership Secretary on:
01277 655 564
Annual Membership fees are:
or write to: The Hon. Membership Secretary,
The Billericay Society, 
74 High Street, 
Billericay, 
Essex 
CM12 9BS
Single £5.00
Family £8.00
Senior Citizens and Under 18’s £3.00 
or email us at: secretary@billericaysociety.co.uk
       

 

 

Old Dwellings and Roads.

The Society gets many enquiries regarding old dwellings and or roads. 
We do not have access to old maps etc. so are not really in a position to answer these.
However you are likely to get information from the
Essex Records Office,
Wharf Road,
Chelmsford,
Essex CM2 6YT
Telephone: 01245 430 067 or e-mail direct to ero.enquiry@essexcc.gov.uk
and their web site is http://www.essexrecordoffice.co.uk - good luck!

 

The Billericay Society keeps a watchful eye on the 49 Listed Buildings as of historic or architectural interest.
Here are just a few….
This is the Chantry, built in 1510 - originally a16C hall house but now considerably altered. There is original exposed timber framing to the front elevation. Now a restaurant. Christopher Martin of the “Mayflower” is said to have lived here.
Church of St. Mary Magdalen. A late 15C red brick west tower with set buttresses to half the height of the tower. Corner fins above rise to polygonal pinnacles and a stepped parapet carries on a trefoil arched perpendicular brick tracery. The west ends of the aisles are late19C built in the same style as the tower. The church has a segmental apse on the north and east sides and the interior has balconies on three sides, supported on slender cast iron columns. It was once St. John’s Chapel belonging to Great Burstead, which belonged to the Abbey of Stratford.
The “White Hart” public house – a 19C building.
A 17C timber-framed and plastered house originally, now a baker’s shop. The upper storey was originally jettied on the front and overhung the pavement.
“The Chequers” public house was originally a single 16C timber-framed and plastered house with cross wings and a central hall.
An 18C timber-framed and plastered house, although it is thought that the original 16C house was incorporated in the design. It is now a jewellers shop.

A few general views:

An 18C public house “The Rising Sun” at Sun Corner. There was thought to be a coaching inn here in the early 19C when coaches ran daily through the crossroads to London and Southend.
A general view of the entrance to Chapel Street in the centre of the High Street. “The Chequers” public house may be seen on the left together with 3, 5, 7 & 9 Chapel Street, which are 16C listed properties.
Part of the High Street including The Chantry.
A public house - which is not a listed building - “The Blue Boar”, has replaced the old Co-op.
A Beer House of the same name stood close by several centuries ago. 
Before becoming a restaurant, this 1835 building was always referred to as “The Old Town Hall” although it never actually was. It was a school, a police station, a magistrates’ court, a registrar’s office and council chamber for Billericay Urban District Council. The Society has tried on three separate occasions to obtain listing mainly on historic grounds.

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