On Tuesday 28th June 1892, Halstead was subjected to weather that caused a thunderstorm so loud that one man died of a heart attack following a particularly earsplitting peal. The winter weather was so severe on Christmas night in 1927 that by Boxing Day morning Halstead was completely cut off from the surrounding villages by snow. The hottest weather of the 20th century was recorded in August 1995 when the weather was so hot that newspapers reported a plague heat induced road rage and some road surfaces in Halstead literally melted in the blistering heat.
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Halstead has been settled since the Bronze Age and received a Royal Charter for its market in 1251. The town has acted as an important centre for trade and as a consequence many important buildings and institutions that served the surrounding area have been established in the town. Halstead had its own Grammar School that was opened in 1594 (although it was closed in 1906), a Guild Hall (that was demolished in the 20th Century) and a workhouse run by the Halstead Union that was built in 1838 and demolished in 1922. By the 19th Century the town had a variety of industrial employers including a silk mill, two breweries, and two foundries. The former mill in the centre of the town still offers attractive retail space for visitors and residents in Halstead.
The winner of the X Factor in 2010, Matt Cardle, went to school in Halstead and still lives nearby. Further, Radio 2 DJ, Steve Lamacq went to school in Halstead and grew up in White Horse Avenue. It is also said that Ian Fleming made the final adjustments to his novel, From Russia with Love, at Moyns Park, an Elizabethan Manor House on the edge of Halstead which was the home of a friend.