Jesus Harry Christ, was ever a town more aptly named (except maybe Grimsby). Pitsea, this reeking eastern suburb of the infamous Basildon, truly is the pits.
To fully understand the seething underclass of this godforsaken region, one must picture the analogy of flies on s**t because, ladies and gentlemen, Pitsea ITSELF is a chav. Yes, it is a genuine, literal Chav Town. To understand this, one must look at its (scant) history and see what the past few decades has made of it.
Pitsea was, for hundreds of years, a ramshackle village in a swamp, with a church on a hill its only landmark, and a couple of fairly inconsequential manor houses, Pitsea Hall and Chalvedon Hall, at each end. Then, in the second half of the twentieth century, came Basildon New Town, swallowing up its eastern neighbour and forever damning this already unsightly and unhealthy place to charver purgatory. Dante himself could not have written about modern Pitsea, it’s well beyond the power of his darkest visions. The manor houses remain, one in the middle of housing estates that seemed to have been constructed to blend in with their glass-strewn pavements. It is, of course, a pub these days, infested by both Chavs and Travellers. They are easy to tell apart – Chavs slash, Travellers stab. The other Manor House, picturesquely situated next to a sewage outlet pipe on the marshes and overlooking what used to be a municipal tip, is – naturally – a pub restaurant.
The church on the hill – and the view from it – succintly allow the visitor to see what is rotten in the state of Pitsea.The church itself was declared redundant and ripped down a few years ago, all save the tower. Local pride in the only piece of medieval history, you think? Of course not. It was spared so that it could become a mobile phone mast for Orange. Telling metaphor, isn’t it? A charming medieval building, now denuded and devoted to the worship of the Chavs’ favourite gadget.
The view to the west will show you the marshes, flyover and infamous Tilbury Loop railway line. To the south, a landfill site infested with seagulls, a Country Park built on the site of an old Great War munitions dump – yes, only in Pitsea! – and a distant view of the bright lights and noxious gases of the Coryton Oil Refinery and Storage Tanks.
Still, there’s always the north view, to the cheesy market, the Tesco Extra, the ex-car park now built over with FarmFoods, McD’s, KFC… you get the picture. Oddly, some of the buildings in Pitsea broadway are mock-Tudor, built in older, more naive times. There is plenty to mock in Pitsea. From this description, you can guess at the type of sub-humans who choose to actually live here. At nights they come out, lurking around the desolate market stalls with their near-vertical baseball caps, indecipherable accent that makes Estuary sound like Queen’s English, and permanent markers with which to daub their baffling squiggles on every available surface. Including – and I’m not kidding – on dogs**t bins. A rational human can only speculate, to the point of migraines, why anyone would possibly wish to mark these as a territorial possession. They hoot and shriek like rabid chimpanzees, they look toward the A13 Flyover that towers over Tesco and wonder why cars seem to accelerate as they pass their town, and occasionally they complain to the council about the swarms of flies that invade from the landfill site during hot summers.
Not so much ‘avoid like the plague’, as ‘avoid – it IS a plague’