After World War II the concept of "new towns" was introduced, particularly on the borders of London, to relieve the overcrowding in the capital. Basildon became a New Town in 1949.
A modern view
It lies east of Central London, south of the city of Chelmsford and west of Southend-on-Sea. Nearby smaller towns include Billericay to the north, Wickford northeast and South Benfleet to the east. It was created as a new town after World War II in 1948 to accommodate the London population overspill, from the conglomeration of four small villages, namely Pitsea, Laindon, Basildon and Vange. The new town took the name Basildon as it was the most central of the four.
The local government district of Basildon, which was formed in 1974 and received borough status in 2010, encapsulates a larger area than the town itself; the two neighbouring towns of Billericay and Wickford, as well as rural villages and smaller settlements set among the surrounding countryside, that fall within its borders. Basildon Town is one of the most densely populated areas in the county.
Some of Basildon's residents work in Central London due to the town being well connected in the county to the City of London and the Docklands financial and corporate headquarters districts, with a 36-58 minute journey from the three Basildon stations to London Fenchurch Street. Basildon also has access to the City via road, on the A127, and A13.
Because of boundary changes it is difficult to trace Basildon's growth. These figures attempt to provide an outline. Basildon's population in the 1931 census was under 1,200 people. The population of Billericay (including Basildon) in 1951 was 27,500. The population of Basildon New Town in 2001 was almost 100,000. (Sources: A Vision of Britain Through Time and Wikipedia)