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South Ockendon shown within Essex
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Post town||SOUTH OCKENDON|
|Ambulance||East of England|
|EU Parliament||East of England|
South Ockendon is an ancient parish. It was a village before the Norman Conquest and had a priest in 1085. It is mentioned in the Domesday Book as Wocheduna, conjecturally named after a Saxon chief, Wocca, whose tribe lived on a hill. The suffix "don" in Old English means a low hill in open country. Until the late 1940s, the village centred on The Village Green, with its Norman Church closely adjoining "The Royal Oak" a 14th-century tavern with a 17th-century northern extension. North, South and West Roads all converge on The Green.
The rail line was built in 1892 as a through line from Tilbury Docks to the Midlands and further north, via Upminster, Romford and on.
In 1912, Mollands Farm to the south of the village was bought for use as a 'rehabilitation' facility for what are now termed 'disadvantaged' or 'educationally challenged' people. It gradually developed into a major mental hospital (known locally as The Colony) or as South Ockendon Psychiatric Hospital. The hospital closed about 1993 and was demolished in 1998 (This date is disputed as there were already houses on the site as early as 1996, bounded by Brandon Groves Avenue and Mollands Lane) as an indirect result of the devastating "South Ockendon Report" which redefined the borders of bad management of mental patients and led to a nationwide re-appraisal of mental care in the UK. Redevelopment of the former hospital site soon followed. A major housing site comprising 688 dwellings was completed in 2000. This is known as the Brandon Groves estate.
South Ockendon village became a location for prefabricated houses (prefabs) accommodating bombed-out residents of East London/West Essex in the very late 40's. Much of the original post war construction was undertaken by former German Prisoners of war. The majority of these were demolished in the late-1960s when a sizeable Greater London Council estate, Leca plan "concrete" construction homes – the Flowers' Estate – was built to replace them, once more with pre-fabricated dwellings, albeit of a superior design.
In the 1970s The Ford Motor Company factory at Aveley housed Ford's Advanced Vehicle Operations which built cars such as the RS1600. The plant was wound down gradually from the late 90's but closed entirely in 2004, when the last 150 jobs were lost. The majority of the 150 accepted transfers to other Ford or ancillery sites around Essex. The 'Aveley' plant was situated along and west of the railway line, adjacent to Ockendon station in the part of Ockendon now known as "Belhus".
The railway line from Upminster to Grays separates the old village of South Ockendon from Belhus. The line is a spur between Grays Thurrock and Upminster of the line from Fenchurch Street Station to Southend and Shoeburyness.
South Ockendon is served by Transport for London bus routes.
The Ockendon Academy (formally known as The Ockendon School, and before that Lennard's Secondary Modern School) was praised by Ofsted for its GCSE results in 2008.
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- Cyril Hart The Early Charters of Essex (Leicester University Press, 1971)
- DB32 Essex |publisher=Phillimore|year=1983|section 57b & section 58a
- Reaney, PH (1969). The Place-Names of Essex. CUP.
- Gelling, Margaret (1997). Signposts to the Past (third ed.). Phillimore. ISBN 0-460-04264-5.
- "The Royal Oak, South Ockendon". Retrieved 11 May 2009.
- Glyn H Morgan Forgotten Thameside (Letchworth Press, 1966, p92)
- "The Green at South Ockendon Panorama". Retrieved 11 May 2009.
- "Twenty Questions on Ford RS". Retrieved 11 May 2009.
- Directory of Essex, 1848, pp 193, 194
- Leach, Norma. "THE STURGEON FAMILY". Thurrock Local History Society. Retrieved 16 August 2015.