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Barking and Dagenham

Powering history Fight for rights: Feminist movement Issue 9 History and heritage Autumn 2017

Top of the game: A question of sport Inspiring estates: Welcome homes



he old Control Room was once part of Barking Power Station and is now one of only two power station landmarks that still remain standing in London. The Control Room was opened in 1925 by King George V and remains a significant part of the heritage at Barking Riverside London; a brand new London neighbourhood creating up to 10,800 homes in partnership with L&Q and the Greater London Authority (GLA).

The Control Room is a legacy of the Power Station and Barking’s rich history so we have every intention of restoring the building as part of the Barking Riverside development and exploring all options that could allow some form of public access. The community have a genuine connection with the Power Station which Barking Riverside Limited (BRL) clearly recognise.

The Control Room was opened in 1925 by King George V

There are no confirmed plans of what the Control Building will be used for but BRL are open to exploring all commercial and public use opportunities for this amazing building. The building is currently popular for location shoots and has been used for a range of filming including Hollywood Blockbusters to BBC dramas such as Hard Sun. The B Station building is another building that was part of the former power station.

This striking building was recently cleared and made accessible this year; here you will find eight individual chambers with ceilings that are three storeys high. Again, this building has great potential for future commercial and residential use. For further insight into Barking Riverside’s history, please visit the Barking Riverside YouTube Channel via our website.

One of the country’s leading developers is investing for the long term in Barking and Dagenham. Look out for exciting new places and high-quality homes for everyone to enjoy.

The Apprenticeship Levy came into effect on the 6th April 2017 with an aim to create 3 million more Apprenticeships by 2020 in order to develop the skills businesses like yours require. Your levy can be used to recruit new staff as apprentices or upskill existing staff in your organisation through career professional development. There are various methods available for course delivery including direct in the workplace, using blended learning methods or at college sites. It affects organisations with an annual pay bill of more than £3million. If you fall into this category, you will be liable to pay the Levy whether you employ apprentices or not. The employer benefits from an employee who understands, or can be trained to gain the knowledge, skills and values of your organisation. They can bring fresh ideas to the workplace and will receive training specific and relevant to the role.

How Barking & Dagenham College Apprenticeship Team can help you Each year over 350 employers commission us to develop their workforce. Our Business Engagement Team & Apprenticeship Coordinators are sector specialists and will be able to fully support you with putting together the right package for your apprentices. We can also help with: • • • • • •

Creating a Training Needs Analysis and new staff requirements Mapping the career development of existing staff Creating and supporting implementation of a training plan in conjunction with your organisation A free end-to-end recruitment service including job description development, vacancy advertising, candidate selection and interview support such as CV writing Supporting you to use the new online Digital Apprenticeship Service Provide support and guidance to your organisation throughout the apprenticeship and how to support your staff

Talk to our Business Engagement Team: 020 3667 0333 or



COVER IMAGE: Protests at the former Ford motoring plant in Dagenham, photo Trinity Mirror / Mirrorpix/Alamy IMAGES: News: ©Transport for London, Studio Egret West, Countryside, Fraser Brown MacKenna Architects Feminist Heroes: Art Collection 2/Alamy, Steve Pyke/Getty Images, Trinity Mirror/ Mirrorpix/Alamy Eastbury Manor: VIEW Pictures Ltd/Alamy, UEL/Minna Kantonen – artwork by: Lalita Gurung, Harriet Foster-Thornton and Ben Stewart Film: Marvel/Entertainment Pictures/ Alamy, Atlaspix/Alamy, Everett Collection Inc/Alamy, isak55/Shutterstock, Sporting Heroes: PA Archive/PA Images, Allstar Picture Library/Alamy, Jake Ratcliffe, Ronnie MacDonald Community: Lucy Dawkins Barking Abbey: David Tothill, Jimmy Lee

19 6 NEWS Culture, community, housing: the latest from Barking and Dagenham.

PRINTED BY: Park Communications PUBLISHED BY: 3Fox International Sunley House Bedford Park Croydon CR0 2AP 020 7978 6840

For the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham David Harley, Head of regeneration Town Hall, 1 Town Square Barking IG11 7LU © 3Fox International Limited 2017. All material is ­strictly copyright and all rights are reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without the written ­permission of 3Fox International Limited is strictly ­forbidden. The greatest care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of information in this magazine at time of going to press, but we accept no responsibility for omissions or errors. The views expressed in this ­magazine are not ­necessarily those of 3Fox International Limited.

12 FEMINIST HEROES The story of striking female Ford factory workers is well told, but the borough’s connections with feminism are centuries old. 19 EASTBURY MANOR Why do historians regard Eastbury Manor House as one of the most important buildings in London?


25 FILM HERITAGE The borough’s cinephile credentials are established – and now the biggest film studios project in London for years is planned. 31 MAP The location of Barking and Dagenham’s key cultural and historical sites. 34 SPORTING HEROES Barking and Dagenhamborn football stars helped win the ‘66 World Cup – and other legends of the game hail from the borough too. 40 COMMUNITY Housing estates which have defined Barking and Dagenham’s past also play a part in its future: BOLD finds out how.


44 FACTS AND FIGURES Statistics on Barking and Dagenham’s history. 47 BARKING ABBEY RUINS Dating back to Anglo Saxon times, the ruins of Barking Abbey are today a popular spot for events and visiting history lovers.

NEWS LOCAL COMMUNITIES GET UK’S LARGEST BOOST A £6.4 million initiative to lift local neighbourhoods will launch in late 2017. The project, named Every One Every Day, will see 25,000 residents across the borough create facilities and help form businesses over the next five years. More than 250 schemes range from expanding existing community work to providing new opportunities, including urban farming, planting trees and large cooking events (above). The residents themselves will form the crux of the initiative and can put forward ideas and suggestions. Five high street shops will open over the length of the project, with periodic business incubators taking place in a central warehouse, offering advice to new business owners on areas including health and safety, website design and insurance. Councillor Saima Ashraf said: “Residents told us they wanted a more integrated, cohesive community with a renewed sense of community

spirit. This groundbreaking initiative will offer people the chance to shape where they live by participating in projects in and around their neighbourhood.” The community project came out of an initial plan between neighbourhood charity Participatory City and Barking and Dagenham Council, which provided £1.5 million of the funding. Additional funding of £1 million came from the National Lottery alongside £1 million from Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and £500,000 from City Bridge Trust. Chief executive of Participatory City, Tessy Britton, welcomed the opportunities for the borough: “By combining all our ideas and resources, we know we can create optimism, well-being and prosperity, and at significant scale. This borough couldn’t be a more perfect place to bring this initiative. It has always been a place full of creativity and energy and this initiative will help to grow that even more.”

Barking Overground plans go ahead Work is due to begin in early 2018 on a £263 million London Overground extension to Barking Riverside. The extension will run for 4.5km and a station (below) will be built at Barking Riverside on the Gospel Oak to Barking London Overground network. It is expected to run from 2021 and will serve 10,800 homes being built in the area. Developer Barking Riverside Ltd is providing the largest share of the funds, with Transport for London meeting the rest of the cost. London Mayor Sadiq Khan gave consent for Barking Riverside, a 180-ha brownfield site on the north bank of the River Thames last September. Khan said: “This is wonderful

news for east London. Barking Riverside has huge potential to deliver thousands of much-needed affordable homes, and the extension of the Overground will ensure residents have the high-quality transport links they need, both to the surrounding area and commuting into central London.” The Overground extension will deliver a sustainable transport alternative to car travel and will link Barking Riverside to London’s transport network through connections at Barking with District and Hammersmith & City line and c2c services between London Fenchurch Street and Essex. The plans mean that four trains an hour will carry passengers into central London.

See into the past at Eastbury Manor Architectural students from London Metropolitan University have brought Eastbury Manor House’s eventful evolution through history back to life. An exhibition of drawings and models from students of the Sir John Cass faculty traces the architectural progression of the manor from its Elizabethan beginnings to its rescue from demolition by the National Trust in 1918. Reimagining Eastbury 2017 also seeks to “explore the building’s unique relationship to the wider Barking area”.



Youth on parade for the fourth year A parade from Barking Park to Abbey Green has celebrated young people and their contributions to the Barking area for the fourth year running. The event also featured food stalls, dance and music events and other family focused activities. Last year saw over 1,000 people attend the parade, which featured marching from local Scout groups, dance groups and sports teams. It was one of several events in the borough during the summer months. (see page 39)

Bigger entertainment role at Vicarage Field Proposals for the redevelopment of Vicarage Field Shopping Centre in Barking town centre include a new multi-screen cinema and music venue as part of plans aimed at revitalising the centre’s evening and weekend economy. A six to eight-screen cinema and 300-capacity music and performance venue could join a range of restaurants, bars and a hotel within the new shopping complex that forms part of the wider Barking Creative Zone plans. Peter Cornforth, director of retail at Benson Elliot, said: “Barking has a growing reputation as an exciting east London cultural destination and we are keen to support this vision. Our plans for Vicarage Field will


enhance the town centre’s evening and weekend economy by providing a high quality cinema and music and performance venue, as well as a host of other benefits. “We want to encourage participation in the arts by working with local communities to curate programmes that give up-and-coming acts an opportunity to showcase their talent. Watch this space.” Benson Elliot purchased the centre in 2015. Vicarage Field was home to Barking Football Club from 1884. Between 1945-46 it was converted briefly to an anti-aircraft site, at which time the team played all its matches away from home. It was sold in 1991 to construct the shopping centre.

Interest is perky in Fresh Wharf Developers report there is a high level of interest already registered in Fresh Wharf, one of Barking’s flagship housing schemes. The 4.4ha former brownfield site comprises 911 flats and maisonettes, along with nearly 2,000sq m of retail and leisure space and 1,600sq m of community space. The project is a joint development between Countryside and Fresh Wharf Developments and sales are due to open in early 2018. Notting Hill Housing has also joined the scheme to deliver homes for sale and market rent, with options for shared ownership properties. Situated between the North Circular

road and the waterfront, Fresh Wharf is a 10 to15-minute walk from Barking rail station and will also benefit from the Barking Riverside Overground extension plans (see page 7). Rob Wilkinson, operations director at Countryside, said: “Barking is an important and increasingly popular area in the regeneration of east London. We are looking forward to delivering this scheme, which will transform one of the largest residential sites within the Barking Town Centre Area Action Plan, providing much-needed places for Londoners to live and helping the council towards its target of some 6,000 new homes for the area.�



Barking students beat national GCSE average Almost a quarter of GCSE students (24%) in Barking and Dagenham achieved the new top grades of 7 to 9 in English, exceeding the national average of 17%. The new national grading system for English, English Literature and Maths, replaces the traditional lettered grades (A*, A etc) with a numbered result from 1 to 9. Figures show 63% of students in Barking achieved a grade between 4 to 9 in English and Maths, an improvement on last year’s 60%. Councillor Evelyn Carpenter, cabinet member for educational attainment and school improvement, said: “Year-onyear improvements demonstrate Barking and Dagenham is as good as anywhere to give young people the best start to their education.”


Development at Gascoigne West Outline planning application has been submitted for the Gascoigne West development in Barking. These latest plans for the town centre would include additional housing to complement the recent developments on Abbey Road, as well as creating improved links from Barking town centre to the nearby Roding Riverside. The application will be considered by Barking and Dagenham Council’s planning committee later this year, with a potential start date in 2018. Gascoigne West is a key regeneration site in the borough, and forms part of the Barking town centre housing zone. It will provide muchneeded homes. Architect Fraser Brown MacKenna has been appointed by the council for the scheme, which would potentially see a mix of up to 850 new affordable and private for sale homes, and

commercial and community spaces, according to David Harley, acting head of regeneration at the council. The newly established councilowned regeneration company, Be First, will lead on the Gascoigne West scheme as part of an extensive development programme.

BOLD Feminist heroes

Above: Ofsted continues to recognise high standards at Manor Longbridge school.


BOLD Feminist heroes

A brief history of empowerment Carly Cassano looks at how women of Barking and Dagenham have fought for their freedom for centuries, playing an integral part in the feminist movement – and how the council intends to honour them BARKING AND DAGENHAM is commemorating three important anniversaries in 2018: the 100th anniversary of the 1918 vote for women, the 90th anniversary of the Equal Suffrage Act and the 50th anniversary of the Sewing Machinists Strike at the Dagenham Ford plant. Under the banner “Women and Activism”, the council will shine a light on recent notable achievements by local women and pay homage to the feminist heroes who came before them. Beginning with Women’s Empowerment Month in March, the borough is hosting outreach workshops at schools, talks about radical women and art exhibits. There will be intergenerational dialogue and interactive events at Valence House and Eastbury Manor House museums. To honour the achievements of young suffragists who fought for women’s rights over 100 years ago, the events will pay special attention to the activism and empowerment of young women. Chris Foord, group manager, heritage services, emphasises that “we’re exploring the representation of teenagers in museums and local heritage”. The month will be capped off

with a celebration event at The Broadway Theatre, a suffragist soirée featuring, among other things, a comedy compère, the famous Flapper Flashmob and the Women’s Empowerment Awards. Even the annual Barking Folk Festival, earmarked for 10 June, will focus on activism in 2018. Lucy Ward, a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who began performing as a teenager, will perform a song celebrating the young women who are today engaged in community activism. As Councillor Sade Bright, cabinet member for equalities and cohesion, says: “Our heritage inspires us to continue to support women’s empowerment. [Barking and Dagenham Council is] the first local authority in England to develop a Gender Equality Charter. “Our focus has been to engage with communities about the charter’s 10-point plan of action, and to encourage businesses, schools, voluntary and community sector groups to pledge their support. “The response has been excellent. Improving equality for women is a long journey but I am optimistic that the Gender Equality Charter is a positive step in the right direction, and we

continue to work with partners in our second year to ensure that no-one is left behind.” In Barking and Dagenham, the record of women fighting for freedom from oppression was recorded as early as the 16th century, when, outspoken or not, they were often accused of being witches. Imprisoned and tortured for their “crimes”, they would eventually “confess” that they did have secret powers. They would then explain how they first came into contact with the toad or mole they had enchanted, and what their motives for killing the commissioner’s cow were. Like a spell, the townspeople would come

Our heritage inspires us to continue to support women’s empowerment 13

BOLD Feminist heroes

out of the woodwork to present their own “evidence” against them. What else could have caused their misfortunes? By the 17th century, “witch-hunting” was on the decline in England, which presumably had less to do with an alleviation of death and misfortune, than with the restructuring of collective belief systems resulting from the industrialisation of previously isolated townships. Barking and Dagenham, for instance, was a farming and fishing town before the Industrial Revolution, when it was drawn into the fabric of London’s market based economy. As the role of towns surrounding city centres changed, the role of women changed too. Women were no longer stuck in their homesteads over their ‘bubbling cauldrons’, they were an integral part of bourgeois London’s hustle and bustle. Some of them even became feminist heroes... Right: Feminist pioneer, Mary Wollstonecraft, wrote a famous text (below) on the subject.

MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT (1759-1797) FEMINIST WRITER WHO PROMOTED THE EQUAL TREATMENT AND EDUCATION OF GIRLS AND WOMEN Mary Wollstonecraft was one such woman. Karen Rushton, borough archivist at Barking’s Valence House museum, says: “Mary’s family moved around London over the course of her childhood, living in Barking for a few years where her father was employed as ‘overseer of the poor’.” While she was an economically privileged woman, travelling extensively in Europe, eventually receiving recognition among artists and politicians, “she was not unfamiliar with poverty and abuse”. A few years before her death, Wollstonecraft wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Men, something we


would perhaps refer to now as an extremely long “open letter”. It was a dense and visionary response to Edmund Burke, a member of parliament who was considered socially liberal, but had become so threatened by the ideals of “freedom, equality and fraternity” espoused by French revolutionaries of the time, that he wrote a book condemning them. Burke asserted in Reflections on the Revolution in France that traditional values, put in place by the ruling aristocracy, must be upheld. Personal liberty, gender equality and economic solidarity, he believed, would lead to the decline of civilised society. Burke was impassioned by the fear that, by virtue of other people gaining their rights, he must in turn lose his. Ever the rationalist, Wollstonecraft responded: “I perceive from the whole

BOLD Feminist heroes

tenor of your reflections, that you have a mortal antipathy to reason.” Women were not enchantresses, “taught from their infancy that beauty is woman’s sceptre”, but humans, equal to all other humans. Men like Burke, she presupposed, were “only anxious to secure [their] own private gratifications, and to maintain [their] rank in society.” Wollstonecraft believed in equality in the plainest sense: making personal decisions and philosophical distinctions that were usually reserved for men. She died from complications in childbirth. The baby survived and would grow up to be the writer Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein. Wollstonecraft’s fearlessness was not only passed on to her daughters, but to generations of women fighting for their right to vote, and to represent themselves.

ANNIE CLARA HUGGETT (1892-1996) SUFFRAGETTE WHO HELPED SECURE VOTES FOR WOMEN UNDER THE REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLE ACT OF 1918 AND THE EQUAL FRANCHISE ACT OF 1928 By the turn of the 20th century, women in London had been fighting to get the vote for nearly 50 years. By 1912, the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), founded in 1903 by the Pankhurst family, was in full force. Just like the French revolutionaries Mary Wollstonecraft had admired, Emmeline Pankhurst proselytised “Freedom or death!”. Militant Suffragettes, like Annie Clara Huggett (below), fought for their rights with deeds not words. They disrupted business operations. They lit government property on fire. They went on hunger strikes in prison

in an effort to prove that they were political prisoners. In short, they became martyrs. Archivist Karen Rushton says: “The Huggett family moved into one of the first council houses in Barking the year the WSPU was founded. By 19 years old, Annie Clara had joined the Suffragettes”. Clara would quickly be saluted as one of the young leaders of the Suffragette movement in east London, which exercised revolutionary-style tactics with the goal of gaining widespread public recognition. While their actions were frequently condemned, the media coverage they received inspired more and more suffragists to support the cause. By 1918, the movement was unstoppable. Parliament passed the Representation of the People Act. With it, women over 30 years old who owned property gained the right to vote. At the same time, all men aged 21 and above, regardless of their economic status, gained the same right. Within 10 years, the Equal Franchise Act passed, securing voting rights for all women over the age of 21. Finally, women in England had equal voting rights to men. Of course the fight was not over, and Clara acted as an enduring representative for women, serving as chair of the women’s branch of the Labour Party and helping survivors of domestic violence. She lived in a council house in Barking from 1923 until her death in 1996, at the age of 104. Her legacy of bravery and persistence has inspired generations of activists and women in politics to fight against discriminatory laws.


BOLD Feminist heroes

Pictured: Striking female workers at the Ford Factory motor plant in Dagenham, 1968.

ROSE BOLAND, EILEEN PULLEN, VERA SIME, GWEN DAVIS AND SHEILA DOUGLASS WOMEN WHO LED THE DAGENHAM FORD SEWING MACHINIST STRIKES OF 1968 THAT LED TO THE EQUAL PAY ACT OF 1970 Fifty years after women first got the right to vote, five women from Barking and Dagenham council houses led a three-week strike for their right to equal pay at the Ford plant in Dagenham. Their story was immortalised in the popular film and stage show Made in Dagenham. Leading up to the strike, Ford Motor Company had instituted a new grading system that put the sewing machinists in a lower skill class than men doing similar jobs. While it was typical of the times for women to be paid notably less than men who were doing the same work, the obvious degradation could not go unnoticed. The machinists had made complaints to Ford before, regarding the poor working conditions and differential pay, but their union told them they would have to wait. It was speculated that the unions represented men first, women second and that they thought winning equal


pay for equal work was unachievable. Real progress wasn’t made until women started representing themselves. The machinists took direct action by stopping all work. Rushton says: “Without the machinists, assembly was stalled. As a result of the strike, approximately 9,000 men were temporarily laid off.” As there was not existing pay equality, men were typically the main earners in families. This inequality was one of the reasons they were striking. The women’s resolve was strengthened by local support, favourable media coverage, and the foresight that equal pay would positively impact all working class families. After three weeks of the strike, Boland, Pullen, Sime, Davis and Douglass were invited by Barbara Castle, then secretary of state for employment, to voice their demands and work out a deal. Castle was impressed by the women’s fight for justice, saying: “I thought to myself, there was some of that old spirit that once gave us the success the Suffragettes achieved”. Thanks to their perseverance, the machinists were immediately awarded a seven per cent increase in their pay rate, 92% of the men’s

pay. Additionally, they were promised legislation that would lead to universal equal pay in England. The Equal Pay Act of 1970 was subsequently enacted, empowering women to demand the right to equal treatment from their employers. But as we know, the opportunity to demand these rights isn’t the same thing as getting them. Women were not paid fairly at the Dagenham Ford plant until 1984, after another strike. Women in England still make approximately 18% less than men for the same work. Gender equality As Councillor Bright puts it: “At the heart of the council’s vision and values is a commitment to creating a fair and just society where everyone is treated equally, discrimination is tackled and the barriers to equality are removed.” The road to gender equality is a very long one that women are still travelling today. What the feminist heroes of Barking and Dagenham understood, was that they have always been underestimated by the ruling classes. But with the support of communities, women are empowered to change the course of history, and make the world a more just and equal place.









Working with the Mayor of London and The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham to bring affordable homes to London 360 Barking is an exceptional new development by NU living, part of the Swan Housing Group, which is being delivered in partnership with the Mayor of London and London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. Designed by award winning architects Studio Egret West, the four iconic cylindrical towers will bring over 290 new homes, including 96 affordable homes, as well as a new spa and creative space for the borough. To find out more about our work, visit or call Juliette Bartlett, Acting Head of Delivery on 0300 303 2500.


The Estates & Agency Group has a strong track record of successful involvement in Barking and is committed to the continuing exciting regeneration of the Borough Sites Previously Developed by E&A A

Roding House Cambridge Road


Maritime House 1 Linton Road


Central House Cambridge Road


50-74 Station Parade Barking


Focal House 12/18 Station Parade


Radial House Ripple Road


Trocoll House Wakering Road


Clock House East Street, Barking

Current Property Holdings The first phase of the Abbey Retail Park site regeneration – Barking Wharf – is now under construction, with Be:here developing 597 PRS units.

BOLD Eastbury Manor House

Tudor ties While its people and communities often dominate tales of Barking and Dagenham’s past, historians pour over the borough’s centuries-old buildings. Susan Hill takes a trip to Eastbury Manor House EASTBURY MANOR HOUSE is Barking’s hidden gem, but the Grade-I listed gentry house has also emerged as one of London’s most important historical buildings. Built during Queen Elizabeth I’s reign, the striking exterior of this

Tudor manor house has remained intact for nearly 450 years, providing clues as to how London would have looked before The Great Fire raged for days through the capital in 1666. The magnificent brick-built gentry house was commissioned by Clement


BOLD Eastbury Manor House

Sisley, a justice of the peace and lawyer who made his fortune during a very litigious period in London, when disputes over land boundaries and rabbit theft were common. A successful and extremely rich entrepreneur, Sisley owned a number of properties in Essex and Kent, but had his main residence in the City of London where he lived with his family.

In 1557, following the dissolution of Barking Abbey, he purchased the land and work began on a country retreat that would show off his vast wealth as he entertained his contemporaries. Eastbury Hall, as it was originally known, was completed in 1573, and with its high chimneys, large glass windows and impressive turrets, it originally sat in an elevated position in

Pictured: Eastbury Manor House, 1873. Below: Romeo and Juliet was performed at the venue by Three Inch Fools theatre group.

the middle of vast acres of marshland. Eastbury Manor House’s heritage properties manager, Lisa Rigg, explains why it has become one of the country’s most important historical buildings from the 16th century. She says: “A lot of these types of houses, built by the aristocratic and gentry class of the 16th century, were either demolished after The Great Fire of London or re-fashioned during the 18th century. That is why Eastbury is so important. “Not only is it one of the oldest gentry houses in Greater London, but it is also one of the most intact in the whole country. The house is exactly as Clement Sisley built it all those hundreds of years ago and has provided historians with clues as to what London would’ve looked like before The Great Fire changed the


BOLD Eastbury Manor House

Pictured: Eastbury Manor House was in June used to exhibit work by degree students at UEL, such as Lalita Gurung.

architectural landscape forever. “It’s actually quite remarkable, especially when you consider that it was very nearly demolished. During the late 18th and early 19th century, the house was leased to a number of tenant farmers and the building fell into decay. “Fortunately, it was saved following the intervention of The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings and was purchased by the National Trust in 1918.” In 1931, the house opened as the Museum of Barking and for Rigg, the dream is for Eastbury to once again be accredited with this status. “It’s what we are working towards” she says. “The architecture of the building is so compelling, but it’s also very much about the stories surrounding the people that lived at Eastbury.

It is one of the most intact gentry houses in the country “Clement died a few years after the house was finished. His young son Thomas wasn’t old enough to inherit so we see the house change hands when his widow Anne married a businessman, who was called Augustine Steward.

“Thomas went off to study at Trinity College Cambridge and Steward applied to the crown to take charge of the land, which effectively disinherited his stepson. “When he reached adulthood, Thomas finally inherited the estate but also his father’s debts, so he ran away to Ireland. We have discovered so many captivating stories about the people connected to Eastbury.” One of the more well-known stories linked to the manor house is the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605, when Catholic plotters attempted to assassinate the Protestant king James I by blowing up parliament. Anne had rented Eastbury to John Moore, a successful and well-travelled London merchant and customs official for the Port of London, with contacts in Spain and the Royal Court. He used the manor as a country retreat for his wife Maria Perez de Recalde and his Spanish, Roman Catholic step-daughter. He arranged his stepdaughter’s marriage to Lewis Tresham, the younger brother of Gunpowder plotter Francis Tresham. Rumours have been rife for centuries that the plot was first contrived at Eastbury, but Rigg admits that there is no evidence to back up the story. “It would seem this tale is old folklore that has been passed down the generations” she says. “There is no evidence that a meeting ever took place at Eastbury. But what we do have is fragments of a 17th century wall painting that we understand John Moore commissioned during his time at the house. This is a key part of the history of Eastbury. Another interesting discovery links the house to Jamestown, Virginia and the kidnap of Pocahontas. It’s extraordinary and very unexpected.” Sisley’s widow Anne had a second son with Augustine Steward who was named after his father. Half-brother to Thomas, Augustine Steward, the younger became the owner of the estate and accompanied his cousin Sir Samuel Argall on the Virginia


BOLD Eastbury Manor House

Company’s voyage to the first English settlement in the USA. Sir Samuel Argall, fourth son of Anne’s brother Richard, was an English adventurer and sea captain and in 1609 developed a shorter route to the Virginia colony. When he arrived in Jamestown, he found the settlers near starvation and without the provisions that he supplied, it is unlikely that the colony would have survived. He returned to Jamestown again in 1610 and in 1613 and was involved in the abduction of Pocahontas. This newly discovered story, linking the house to the first permanent English settlement in the Americas and the story of Pocahontas’s life, is just one of many tales visitors can discover at the manor house. Eastbury’s partnership and events officer Tamara Horbacka, who was brought in following a £100,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the two year project called Sustaining Eastbury, explains: “We’ve got extraordinary stories to tell and using our imagination and creativity we try to engage our visitors so that they come away with a better understanding of Eastbury. “Since the second world war, the house has always run heritage workshops, building partnerships with local communities and our neighbours as well as within the borough.” In her role, Horbacka has formed a number of important partnerships in the wider community. In June, through a partnership with the University of East London, students used Eastbury to exhibit their end of degree work. “I was invited along to the Art and Digital Industries School and helped select the work that came back here to Eastbury,” Horbacka says. “I think what was really extraordinary, when it came to the house, was how well it sat within the context of Eastbury. That was actually very moving. We had large paintings on easels, photographs and tapestries hanging in the attic spaces and even a special light installation.


Pictured: UEL degree students Harriet FosterThornton (top) and Ben Stewart’s (bottom) work displayed at the manor house.

We’ve got extraordinary stories to tell

“There were also ceramics and mosaic pieces on display. “We do a lot of educational visits, so that was wonderful, watching primary school children being inspired by all the different pieces. “For the students who exhibited,

they were really taken by surprise at how well their work sat within this historic context. That was the first time their work, apart from being exhibited at the university on campus, had been shown in such a setting.” The authentic Elizabethan backdrop also inspired the residency of the Shakespearean theatre group, Three Inch Fools, which performed Romeo and Juliet within the walled gardens. Horbacka adds: “Part of the residency saw the theatre group interact and engage with our visitors about literature, art and culture, which was wonderful to watch. “We’re hoping they will come back to help develop some of our educational programmes. We’ve also got our Reimagining Eastbury project, which has been developed through a partnership with London Metropolitan University’s School of Architecture. “Three students from the course have chosen to work with Eastbury and have made a model of the house and the surrounding area. “There are also a number of family events coming up this autumn celebrating Diwali, Halloween, Bonfire Night and of course Christmas – which is always a truly magical time here at Eastbury.”

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100,000 bikes means one big bike shed. Brompton is a British success story, exporting their iconic folding bikes all over the world. Booming businesses have complex problems that need solving. However, in just one meeting, we were able to put a line through the property ones. Four separate parts of Brompton’s business moved into one of our industrial properties, a property that not only allowed for expansion but also provided a viewing platform enabling Brompton customers to watch their personally specified bikes being built. When brilliant businesses find outstanding spaces, extraordinary things happen.

BOLD Film heritage

In the picture Barking and Dagenham is carving out a film heritage beyond the Made in Dagenham picture about striking Ford factory workers, with plans for a film studio complex. Ruth McKee reports

Above: Scenes from the film Doctor Strange, which made $677.7 million at the box office, were shot in the borough.


BOLD Film heritage

LONDON IS A CINEMATIC CITY— Nelson’s Column, the Palace of Westminster and the iconic dome of St Paul’s Cathedral have become A-list stars of Hollywood blockbusters in their own right. With big-budget production companies flocking to London, the capital has been struggling to keep up with the demand for high-quality studio space. But a 6.87-ha site in Barking and Dagenham’s new cultural quarter could open up this east London borough to the film industry, contributing to its status as a global capital of filmmaking. In 2016, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Barking and Dagenham Council launched a feasibility study into building film studios in London, which would be the first of their scale in the city for more than 25 years. Anticipating a positive outcome, Barking and Dagenham Council


bought up a swathe of old industrial land in the borough from Sainsbury’s for £12 million. The vision for the new multimillion pound development includes a large amount of studio space for big-budget movies and for smaller scale live television shows to be recorded in front of a live audience. Figures from the mayor of London’s office reveal that the creative industries account for one-in-six jobs in the capital and are worth £35 billion to its economy. And the council has already started cultivating a dynamic cultural renaissance in the borough. The IceHouse Quarter provides affordable studio space to artists and makers, which is partly subsidised to support the continued growth of the cultural industries. Film producer Kobir Forid has taken up space there and tells BOLD it was an obvious decision to make the move

from Tower Hamlets to Barking. “The area really does have a burgeoning arts scene – there are arts festivals that the council invests in. And now there are these new film studios,” he says. “The council has its own film department, which actually goes out of its way to help. They are all industry people themselves, so that helps too.” Forid adds that his quality of life has improved as well, since he moved for a better work-life balance. He says: “Our office is directly opposite a theatre – and my brother who is creative director of the film company is a writer, so we have been working on a lot of exciting theatre projects lately. Theatre is a great place to test out ideas with an audience and to get feedback on what works.” Forid believes his production company will be perfectly placed to benefit from the new film studios. Lisa Dee, head of the council’s film

BOLD Film heritage

office, is passionate about supporting and nurturing creative stars in the borough. It is at the core of her plan. She tells BOLD: “We’re absolutely determined to support up-and-coming artists. The film industry can be a tough one when you’re starting out and we are committed to helping people get the break they need. “We believe these creatives starting out now are the directors and producers of the future.” When she took on the role in 2012, there was just four filming days that year. In 2016, there were 266. But Dee is quick to point out that success did not happen overnight. “It took a while to convince some people. It’s a very west Londonfocused industry and there were people reluctant to come out to the east,” she explains. “But once filmmakers realised it was so easy to get here from central London, word began to spread about how good the location is.”

Left: Doctor Strange, shot at londoneastuk. Above: TV hit Humans was also shot on-site.

I believe that here in Barking and Dagenham we are on the cusp of something huge

As well as Doctor Strange, the borough hosted some of the filming for Avengers: Age of Ultron. Television hits Black Mirror and Humans have also made extensive use of the filming facilities in the area. And now, says Dee, the industry has come to realise it is not unrealistic to have a major studio in east London. “The centre of London is moving east. Dalston, Shoreditch – and all of Hackney – are right at the heart of things now. And I believe that here in Barking and Dagenham we are on the cusp of something huge. “I grew up in Hackney, and there are a lot of similarities between that borough 10 years or so ago and Barking and Dagenham now. It really is a very exciting time.” Adrian Wootton, chief executive of Film London, points out the capital is in dire need of somewhere to nurture homegrown creative talent. He explains that for London to keep its “competitive edge” the capital


BOLD Film heritage

Below: Projections for the proposed Dagenham film studios complex. Right: Film-makers are shifting their focus to east London.


will need new spaces – just like the proposed complex in the borough. “London is one of the world’s busiest destinations and our global reputation means demand for studio space is incredibly high,” he says. “Unlocking new studio space in east London would help keep its edge. “If if happens, this major new infrastructure project would mean a tremendous economic boost for Barking and Dagenham, the capital’s film and TV industries and the UK as a whole.” Discussing the project earlier this year, Wootton said that the project has plus points working in its favour – one of these being that transport infrastructure such as rail links and motorways around the site would bring movie-makers into central London in minutes.

This major new infrastructure project would mean a tremendous boost for Barking and Dagenham

BOLD Film heritage

Dee believes Barking and Dagenham will be key to London’s film industry in the years to come. “Because it is slightly more affordable; creatives, artists and new start-ups are flocking here in droves,” she says. “And of course, there is the proposed Barking Riverside development. That proves just what kind of level of investment lies ahead for the borough.” Barking Riverside is one of Europe’s biggest regeneration schemes, which was approved by the council last year. The plan is to turn 141ha of brownfield land on the banks of the Thames into a new town. With London expanding all the time, the land could provide 10,800 homes for 26,000 people, who would gain access to wildlife reserves and glamorous marinas on their doorstep. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan believes that the film studios could provide the ideal “democratisation of culture” for the area, as well as providing hundreds of jobs for an area hit hard by the closure of the Ford factory in 2002. Speaking at the launch of the feasibility study into the proposed

studios last year, Khan said: “From James Bond and Star Wars to Harry Potter and Bridget Jones’s Baby, London has a vibrant production history and some of the best studios in the world. “To sustain and grow this success story, it is critical that the capital gets significantly more studio and production capacity to maximise the opportunities for film-making. “London is open to the best creative and cultural minds and I am looking forward to exploring whether a new film studio in Dagenham could help the capital’s film industry thrive for years to come.” With a homegrown arts scene on its doorstep and a lively film scene continuing to develop, there is little doubt Barking and Dagenham has the potential to be at the forefront of the creative industries in London for the next decade and beyond. To ensure this happens though, it is key Barking and Dagenham attracts people who are passionate about the industry. With a council that champions creativity and the film studio project likely to become a reality, the borough is well-placed to achieve its big screen ambitions.


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BOLD Sporting heroes Pictured: the iconic image of Bobby Moore lifting the World Cup for England in 1966.


BOLD Sporting heroes

Match winners Barking and Dagenham has produced some of the country’s best-known footballers and was one of the so-called ‘Olympic boroughs’ in 2012, inspiring the next sporting generation. James Cracknell reports

IT IS OFTEN CLAIMED that England won the 1966 World Cup thanks to West Ham United. But it could equally be said the Three Lions’ triumph was one forged in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. Two of the three Hammers’ players who featured prominently at Wembley 51 years ago grew up here. Martin Peters, whose second-half goal gave England a 2-1 lead, lived in Raydons Road, Dagenham, and attended Fanshawe School. He later honed

his midfield craft with Dagenham Schoolboys, before becoming a West Ham apprentice in 1959. England’s cup-winning captain Bobby Moore was born at Barking Hospital (then Upney Hospital) on 12 April 1941 – during a Luftwaffe air raid – and lived in Waverley Gardens. Moore enjoyed playing footie at nearby Greatfields Park and displayed leadership skills at a young age, captaining the Barking Primary School team that won the Crisp Shield, a

London-wide schools tournament. But perhaps the biggest factor in England’s 1966 success was the influence of manager Sir Alf Ramsey (below). The legendary coach was born in 1920 at Parrish’s Cottages, Halbutt Street, Dagenham, and went to Becontree Heath School. As a teenager, Ramsey worked at the Five Elms Co-Op in Windmill Road while playing part-time for Five Elms United. His career was delayed by the second world war, in which

I absolutely loved the community where I grew up, there were always children playing out on the street


BOLD Sporting heroes

he served, but he would go on to win 32 England caps before retiring and managing Ipswich Town, whom he led to a league title in the club’s first-ever top flight season. His unprecedented success with Town earned him the England manager’s job in 1963 and the rest, as they say, is history. A fourth local connection to the World Cup-winning team is Sir Jimmy Greaves, who was born in 1940 in Manor Park, and grew up in Ivyhouse Road, Dagenham. He is England’s fourth-highest ever goalscorer, and played the first three games of the team’s 1966 World Cup campaign before being injured and missing the remainder of the tournament. Barking and Dagenham’s contribution to England’s World Cup victory cannot be doubted, and the council is now keen to ensure it is not forgotten. English Heritage, as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations last year, unveiled a blue plaque at Moore’s childhood home. But there are now also plans to install a statue, with a fundraising campaign launched


by the council last year. If the £167,000 cost can be raised, the tribute to Moore would be erected in Barking town centre. Other tributes could include streets being named after Barking and Dagenham’s football heroes. Council leader, Councillor Darren Rodwell, tells BOLD: “I feel there needs to be stronger ties to our sporting past. There have been 10 England players to come from Barking and with all the new development going on in the borough, you are likely to find streets named after a lot of them, if not all of them.” The borough’s impressive football pedigree goes far beyond the 1960s. Dagenham-born Terry Venables led the memorable Euro 96 side that narrowly lost a semi-final penalty shoot-out to Germany. Venables was born in Valence Avenue in 1943, but the family moved out the day before the house was flattened in the Blitz. The former England boss grew up in Bonham Road, playing football in nearby Valence Park and later

captaining Dagenham Boys. Venables wrote in his autobiography: “I do not really think I could have been brought up anywhere better.” Other top footballers to hail from Barking and Dagenham include John Terry, the former England captain, whose childhood home was in Chelmer Crescent, on Thames View Estate. He went to Eastbury Comprehensive School and played in local Sunday league team Senrab, before winning 17 trophies in his illustrious Chelsea career. Terry’s long-time friend is former West Ham striker Bobby Zamora (below), capped twice by England, who grew up on Barking’s Gascoigne estate. In his post-football career, Zamora has made it his mission to ensure youngsters growing up on housing estates today have the chance to develop their sporting prowess. Along with fellow West Ham alumnus Rio Ferdinand and current Hammers captain Mark Noble, Zamora is a co-founder of the Legacy Foundation. The organisation aims

BOLD Sporting heroes

Pictured: a statue of Bobby Moore, one of England’s most loved players of all time, outside Wembley Stadium.

We want to try and breed the desire and ability to inspire others

to help reduce pressure on local authorities that face severe financial pressures, by creating new models to deliver affordable housing in poorer areas – as well as providing residents with excellent sporting facilities and opportunities to succeed. The former QPR and Brighton frontman tells BOLD: “I absolutely loved the community where I grew up, there were always children playing out on the street, it was an amazing environment. Going back there now it is devoid of children – whether it’s the digital age or there is just nothing for them to do I don’t know, but we are passionate about changing that and bringing some smiles back to their faces, providing activities for the youth of today. “Legacy Foundation will have onthe-ground leaders in the community and will provide sports facilities. A lot of communities we visited are missing that. It is not just about sport, it is about education as well – we want to provide something for everyone. “They [the sports facilities] will be free and we want to encourage the

people living on these estates to be the leaders in their community. We want to try and breed the desire and ability to inspire others. A good vibe can spread very far.” Legacy Foundation unveiled its first housing scheme last year, a £400 million project to build 1,300 homes near Luton in a partnership with Central Bedfordshire Council. The project includes a leisure centre with a gym and swimming pool, plus a sports academy where Ferdinand, Noble and Zamora will help train aspiring footballers. Explaining how Legacy Foundation began, Zamora says: “Rio and myself were playing together at QPR and sharing a ride everyday, so we got talking. He was already working with a lot of young people and it was something I wanted to be a part of. Just doing the odd photo, there’s no legacy there. We want to create a legacy. Mark is a good friend of mine from West Ham and he was passionate about it too. We decided to give it a go. It is a long process but we are determined to succeed.”

Another sporting legacy for Barking and Dagenham is the Olympics: it was one of six host boroughs during London 2012. Five years on, what has been the impact? “I think the legacy is still growing,” says Rodwell. “We got a new running track and sports centre, and Becontree Leisure Centre has been the busiest swimming pool in the country over the last two years, but there is still a lot to come. “In Parsloes Park, there is going to be three new 3G football pitches and we are talking to West Ham about operating that. We’re also looking at a laser-level T20 cricket pitch there which could be used by the Essex second team. And at Becontree we’re looking at putting in a 50-metre pool. It is not just about facilities; our Sports Inspired programme has seen 1,500 young people take part in sport, who aren’t usually involved. It is now a model being used around the country. “In the past Barking and Dagenham has produced leaders in all areas and I believe that will be the case in the future as well.”




Photos: Performers at the Broadway Theatre, the proposed East Brook Studios, Cllr Darren Rodwell enjoying a festival - photo Jimmy Lee, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan visiting The White House in Dagenham, a production of The Merchant of Venice by Studio 3 Arts - photo Mark Sepple.



15 minutes


Accelerating the growth of our creative industries Be First is a pioneering investment and regeneration company with a mission to buiding growth and prosperity in the borough. Supporting the creative industries is at the heart of our thinking, supporting vibrant, engaged communities in which no one is left behind. For more information |


BOLD Communities

Better together

The spirit of community east London is so well known for is reflected in the history books of Barking and Dagenham, where a significant amount of council housing stock was built in the 20th century. Suhail Patel takes a trip to the landmark sites


BOLD Communities

Model future Once a picturesque rural farming community, with cottages, market gardens and idyllic country lanes, a swathe of Barking land in the inter-war period became home to the Becontree housing estate, at one time the largest of its kind in the world. The birth of Becontree was driven by a simple and humble belief: that working class families should be properly housed. After the first world war, a national campaign led to the clearance of inner city slums, with new modern homes promised for those displaced. But with a lack of available land within the city, a new law was passed that allowed London County Council (LCC) to build in areas that were then beyond its borders. Nearly one-fifth of these developments were to be built in rural parishes such as Barking, Dagenham and Ilford, with the Becontree being the largest. The project wasn’t without controversy. “The local inhabitants were very much opposed to the building of it,” says John Blake, chairman of the Barking Historical Society. “However, for incoming families, it was an escape from overcrowded homes.” On 13 July 1935, a decade later than planned, the official completion of the estate was celebrated with a ceremonial opening at Parsloes Park. Families would soon arrive in their thousands. Yet while the LCC had built the estate to rehouse families displaced during the slum clearance, its first residents were in fact the prosperous working class, such as factory workers and busmen. By 1951, 120,000 people were resident, making it the world’s largest public housing development. “Both my maternal and paternal grandparents moved from London

to the Essex estate and it gave them homes with gardens in which to bring up their children”, says Blake. “Ironically, it was that generation which lived to see Barking and Dagenham become a London borough.” This occurred in 1965, when a new government act officially esatblished the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. Within a century, the once rural community has been transformed and subsumed into one of the creative hubs of Europe in east London. With this part of the capital now home to more artists and art organisations than anywhere in Europe, this has been quite a feat – particularly given estates such as Becontree remain economically deprived parts of the UK. Hadrian Garrard, director of Create, an arts charity based in the East End, is looking at ways cultural projects can be beneficial. “We’re interested in how art relates to different communities”, he says. In August 2016, the charity teamed up with architect Apparata to transform The White House, a derelict 18th century farmhouse on Dagenham’s Becontree estate, into a new public space for art and social activity (left). “It’s a special building,” says Garrard, “linking back to when this area was still farmland. “It had been empty for nine years or so, and no one was quite sure what to do with it. We wanted to make it an asset for the community.” The White House project has been a great success, with London Mayor Sadiq Khan (bottom left) visiting in October 2016. “It felt like a really good moment to have the mayor recognise the work we’re doing,” says Garrard. “We’re really pleased that we have leadership committed to supporting art and culture in the borough.”

Above and below: The Becontree estate being forged in 1935.


BOLD Communities

On the move

Streets ahead Becontree is not the only housing estate in the borough with such an interesting history. The Gascoigne estate (above) was built in the 1960s to replace what was considered by local people to be poor housing stock and to increase housing density in Barking. The area had mostly comprised Edwardian terrace houses, occupied by dock and factory workers. But they were considered modest homes and lacked what today would be conidered essential amenities such as baths, showers and indoor toilets. For council tenants moving to the Gascoigne, the tower blocks offered hope and optimism for the future of a “modern community in the sky”. Some homeowners opposed the demolition, fearing their properties were being devalued for Compulsory Purchase Orders, but eventually the local authority prevailed in making the case for council housing and dozens of tower blocks were built as a result. Yet these new high-rises would continue to be a source of general controversy when tenants moved in. Drug abuse, anti-social behaviour and crime became rife and the estate gained an unwanted notoriety.


But in 2015, a project began to consign these perceptions of the Gascoigne to the history books, when East Thames started work on an ambitious new regeneration project, which would prove to have a transformative effect. Kevin Harris, director of development and regeneration at East Thames, says: “Inner city high-rise housing estates such as the Gascoigne had fallen into decline and no longer met the needs of residents and the wider community. “My hopes for the residents of Gascoigne or Weavers Quarter – which is the new name for the estate – are providing a place which residents are proud to call home.” The project will also play a larger role in the regeneration of Barking, linking the town centre with economic opportunities in the area. “I’m excited to see what the future holds for this area,” says chief architect Lotta Nyman from Levitt Bernstein, one of the architects and urban planning practices behind the redevelopment. “We’re delighted to be partnering with the council and East Thames to deliver this vital piece of regeneration,” Nyman says.

Tapping into the rich history of estates in Barking and Dagenham, local artist Verity-Jane Keefe set up a mobile museum project in 2015. Keefe has worked on-and-off in the borough for over a decade, starting as an artist commmisioned for public arts work at Town Square Folly. This was followed by a series of commissions looking into the history of the borough’s housing estates. The Mobile Museum grew out of this work, in response to Barking and Dagenham’s geography and rich history through its 12 housing estates. The project has developed into a new Natural History Collection that seeks to represent the experience of living in the borough today, as well as learning from the past. “I always describe my relationship with the borough as an accidental love affair,” she says. “Each estate is different: The Mobile Museum exists to give status to places often overlooked. “If my work is able to give residents a sense of ownership and investment in the place that they live, reasserting a little bit of civic pride, then that’s a great thing.”

BOLD Communities

Festival feeling

Bottom left, above and right: VerityJane Keefe’s Mobile Museum project looked at the history of estates in Barking and Dagenham.

In the summer months, Barking and Dagenham is packed with festivals and events for local residents to enjoy. “There was a plethora of family activities on offer this year for our mini-festival goers,“ says Councillor Saima Ashraf, deputy leader of Barking and Dagenham. Ashraf says the council went for “bigger and better” in 2017, with exotic animals, carnival arts, music and more. The intention was to create a friendly festival atmosphere and more of a focus on theming and dressing the events. And there are even bigger ambitions for the future. “Our ongoing mission is to grow the events with more visitors, stallholders and sponsors. We are working hard to really get the Summer of Festivals on the map, both in the borough and outside.” Highlights in 2017 included annual music events such as the Folk Festival at Barking Abbey in June and the Roundhouse Music Festival in August – a celebration of the old Roundhouse venue in Dagenham, which once played host to some the world’s most famous rock bands. Other music events in August included Show Me Love Meets the UKG Chronicle, featuring wellknown DJs – and Now That’s a Festival, with music organised by Actz Media and ADS Events. Local arts organisation Creative Barking and Dagenham ran the annual ThamesFest in Barking Riverside in September, which featured comedy street theatre and dance battles. The fourth Youth Parade (left) from Barking Park to Abbey Green in September celebrated the borough’s inspirational young people and the positive contribution they make to the borough.


BOLD Facts and figures

FACTS AND FIGURES Electoral registers for Barking and Dagenham date back to 1900, with gaps during both world wars

The Creekmouth Preservation Society, chronicling the history of the remote corners of Barking, is 13 years old The Barking Folly, a contemporary artwork, is built from reclaimed bricks and stands 7 metres


Arts company Studio 3 Arts celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2017

It’s the fourth year of the Barking Youth Parade

97.9% of Barking and Dagenham College students achieved an A* to E grade at A-level this year Valence House Museum won the prestigious Sandford Award for heritage education for the second time

The Grade I-listed Elizabethan Eastbury Manor House was completed in

The proposed A13 tunnel in east London will be 1.3km long

The Lighted Lady sculpture at Gurdwara Way and Abbey Road roundabout stands 20 metres high



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BOLD Abbey ruins

Abbey endings

Pictured: St Margaret’s Church at Barking Abbey, a fixture in the town for centuries.

Erika Sanger looks at how “one of the greatest monastic sites in the British Isles” continues to make history in Barking and Dagenham BARKING ABBEY is one of Britain’s only surviving Anglo Saxon monasteries, dating back to AD666. Its ruins, in Abbey Green, Barking, fascinate historians and archaeologists, but also represent solid foundations for Barking and Dagenham’s continued regeneration.

The site includes the 15th century Curfew Tower, an entrance gate to the former abbey, and the parish church of St Margaret’s, which originally sat within the precinct. Chris Foord, group manager at London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Heritage Services, says:

“Barking Abbey is a site of fantastically rich history and is important not only in Barking and Dagenham but on a national scale. “The site has had a huge influence on the geography of the borough with the abbey leaving an important legacy for the existing community.”


BOLD Abbey ruins

According to Bede, Erkenwald, then Abbot of Surrey, who later became the Bishop of London, founded the abbey for his sister, Abbess Ethelburga. Erkenwald died in AD693 during a visit to the abbey but was later reburied at St Paul’s Cathedral, after which he was canonised, his shrine becoming a object of pilgrimage. Barking Abbey was originally constructed of wood, with walls of wattle and daub, before it was almost destroyed by Vikings in AD870. After remaining abandoned


for some time before the English regained control of the country from Danish law in the 900s, the abbey was rebuilt as a single-sex convent for Benedictine nuns. Its royal policy gave it wealth, prestige and power and it become the second richest abbey in the country. After its closure in 1539, the abbey buildings were demolished between 1540 and 1541, but archeological findings during an excavation between 1985 and 1991 revealed the fascinating journey of the site.

Middle Saxon artefacts including drinking vessels, painted window glass and highly decorated bone combs were found, indicative of the wealth of the privileged monastery. The nuns of Barking Abbey were even known for weaving gold thread into their habits, fragments of which exist within the collection. Valence House Museum is the approved repository for archaeological findings from excavations within the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, with a significant part of

BOLD Abbey ruins

this collection relating to the Barking Abbey site. According to Dr Nick Holder, a medieval historian and archaeologist specialising in monastic history: “It is one of the greatest, unpublished stories about a monastic sites in the British Isles. “What is special about Barking Abbey is how massive the site is and how far back it dates. “Archaeological findings suggest its history is on a par with the significance of the Glastonbury site,

going back as far as the beginning of Christianity.” It is clear Barking Abbey’s history is increasingly being recognised as one of the last great, untold stories of Anglo Saxon England and its history is prompting the council’s next chapter of cultural regeneration. The local authority’s heritage services are working with St Margaret’s Church and the Diocese of Chelmsford on the development of a project to further validate the historical findings at the site. ‘The Abbey: Unlocking Barking’s Past, Securing its Future’ is a “project of national significance”, seeking to carry out a post-excavation assessment of the collection excavated from the site in the 1980s and 1990s. It aims to systematically manage the documenting of the archaeological collection and improve understanding of Barking Abbey at both Valence House Museum and Abbey Green. Holder, who plays a key role in the project, believes it is vital to document the archaeological journey of the abbey and the aim is to confirm that the original monastery dates back more than 900 years and to show how it has changed substantially over the centuries.

It is one of the greatest unpublished stories about a monastic site in the British Isles Pictured: An archaeological dig at the abbey took place in the 1960s. Above right: The Curfew Tower, built in 1370.

He wants the project to contribute to the regeneration of the borough and says: “Local people deserve to hear a true story based on real evidence. “The post excavation assessment of the abbey’s collection will confirm the historical evidence, raising the status of the site and contributing to the positive identity of the borough and the people who live there.” St Margaret’s Church, a listed building originally situated outside the abbey and which recently celebrated its 800th anniversary, will also be a part of the project, with work to be done around the church tower. Repaving of pathways – with stone to match the historic materials used there – a volunteer-run cloister herb garden and corrective works to the churchyard and graves are planned, not only to help improve the space, but to remove the abbey from the “Heritage at Risk” register. The council is providing capital funding for the project and is intending to apply to the Heritage Lottery Fund for further grants. Foord says one of the main focuses of the project is to make more people aware of the history of the site as well as the archaeological collection.


BOLD Abbey ruins

Pictured: The nowannual folk festival is held at the abbey.

The abbey grounds really set a great atmosphere for everyone involved “The history of Barking Abbey is less well-known outside academia but this project aims to engage more people,” he says. “Barking Abbey is something residents can be proud of as well as enjoying the physical space the site offers. The project has a vision: to make people more aware.” The Grade II-listed ruins are a Scheduled Ancient Monument, a special status designated by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport for historically significant sites. Sitting within the grounds of Abbey Green, the ruins are popular among students eager to learn about the site’s importance in British history. In 1970, Barking Abbey Grammar School was merged with Park Modern School to form what now is Barking Abbey School: a specialist sports and humanities college.


The alumni of the grammar school are known as the Old Barkabbeyans, a tradition believed to have started with the Old Boys of Eton and Harrow calling themselves Old Etonians and Old Harrovians. Every year on St Ethelburga’s Day, 11 October, the grammar school pupils would walk past the ruins to attend a service at St Margaret’s, while singing the school hymn: “These walls will mellow with the years, will fail to ruin and decay, “Yet let the spirit of these years, the distant future ner-’er betray”. Old Barkabbeyan, Philip Petchey, says: “As it looked forward to facing the challenges of the future, the school drew inspiration from the past. “Barking and Dagenham is proud of its history and the achievements of its citizens. They are the rock on which it is building for the future.”

Old Barkabbeyans and current sixth formers at Barking Abbey School recently met during a summer event for Old Barkabbeyans to find out how the curriculum has changed since their school days. Also taking place at the ruins, the now-annual Barking Folk Festival saw visitors from all over the country come to the town during the weekend of 10 and 11 June 2017. The event was established in 2015 as part of celebrations marking 50 years since Barking and Dagenham became a London borough. It was headlined that year by local hero and well-known folk singer Billy Bragg and since then has become one of the borough’s major yearly highlights, bringing folk musicians from around the world to town venues including Barking Abbey Ruins, Barking Abbey Green and Barking Town Square . In 2017, it was headlined by Brit Award nominee, Newton Faulkner and Mercury Music Prize nominee, folk singer Kate Rusby. Somerset band The Leylines also performed. Band member Hannah Johns tells BOLD what a great time they had at the festival. The violinist says: “We have played all sorts of venues, up and down the country but never within the grounds of anywhere with so much history. “The integration of new and old folk music, combined with the backdrop of the abbey grounds really set a great atmosphere for everyone involved. We would love to return next year.” BBC Young Folk Finalists Kitty McFarlane and Lucy Ward, musician and actor Blair Dunlop and banjo player Damien O’Kane also performed in 2017 and the rumour mill is already in motion ahead of acts being confirmed for 2018. Historical celebrations and festivals at Barking Abbey Ruins have helped plant the location firmly on the social calendar of this cultural borough, on a site which offers residents and visitors enticing historical and cultural experiences combined.

BOLD partners joining together to support Barking and Dagenham 01






Fresh Wharf Estate







01 ASF Geoff Baker

02 Be First Nick Williams

03 The Boathouse Carole Pluckrose

04 Bouygues UK Mike Naylor

05 C2C Chris Atkinson

06 Fresh Wharf Estate Flavia Jokic,

07 L&Q Kevin Harris

08 LinkCity Olivier Soulier

09 Patrizia

10 Sitematch London Josie Brewer

11 St. Congar Steve Taylor

12 Vicarage Field newvicaragefield@

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BOLD #9  

The ninth edition of BOLD magazine looks at the cultural heritage of the east London borough: its communities, historic buildings and people...

BOLD #9  

The ninth edition of BOLD magazine looks at the cultural heritage of the east London borough: its communities, historic buildings and people...