please empty your brain below

What you describe as the remains of an 19th century wall (with sculpted ram on top) is actually a modern folly built by the architecture practice muf built between 2005-2010 as part of the Barking Town Square regeneration project. Described on their website as a "public art element... conceived and developed and implemented by muf, this 7 metre high folly recreates a fragment of the imaginary lost past of Barking. The project involved a number of diverse groups in its detail design, this included students from the Theatre School, elders from the Afro-Carribean lunch club and apprentices from the local bricklayers college." I rather like it personally. Additional I'll suggest the investment in a library/learning centre in this modern square too is mainly for the benefit of existing residents prioritising education in a borough that has high social deprivation, unemployment and some of the lowest levels of adult literacy and numeracy in the country. Background:
Hope you enjoyed Barking on the whole!

I'm glad you clarified that, Kate. Having spent much time in Barking (albeit not so much in the last 15 years), I was struggling to remember any such wall...evidently because it wasn't there.

I have to say that I preferred the appearance of the library as it was before though (very clean-lined and elegant late 1960s building of some style, built after the old one, near where the Vicarage Fields Shopping centre is now, burned down). The current appearance is to me an overcrowded overbusy (too many colours) mishmash. /rant

Great report as ever, DG.

@Dominic: I'd second that (not a rant !), they ruined a perfectly good library and the new isn't a patch on the old. I last visited in the winter and it was as draughty as hell. The replacement was built in 1972 I believe - as you say, the old one burnt down the day before I was going to join as a 5 year old.... Vic Field is built on the site of the old library and the old Barking Football Club ground.

The one way 'ring road' round the Abbey was actually formed from existing roads (Abbey Road and St Paul's Road) when the area within was cleared of small houses and works in the late 1960s. At that time, the area surrounding the Church and Abbey was grassed over. Further changes were introduced in around 1990 when the town centre was pedestrianised and several roads made 'bus only'.

"The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Stadium". And I thought the Sports Direct Arena was clunky.

As a supporter of a lower league team I'm all for local sponsors, however unglamorous, rather than some foreign company with no connection to the club. I agree with @Scott that this is a particularly bad example of a ground name and can only assume the locals still call it Victoria Road.
In fact Dagenham and Redbridge must be one of the most successful things in the borough in recent years; the only reason I have ever been to the area was as an away fan and I'm sure I'm not the only one that's true for.

So far, I make that:

2x famous
4x historic
1x pretty
1x retail
1x sporty
1x random

And still more to come...

I've gone back and made a few edits in response to your comments, thanks.

I hadn't realised that wall's a folly, it's terribly convincing.

The Barking Learning Centre is the only library I've ever visited where all the books are displayed cover up, presumably to attract would-be readers. There aren't many books, as a result.

I can confirm that if the locals call D&R's ground anything, it's Victoria Road. I've never heard anyone other than the bloke on the tannoy call it The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Stadium. It doesn't even make for a good acronym.

I can also confirm that those are classrooms in the car park, although I'm not sure what DG thought of as a warehouse might be; the clubhouse isn't that attractive a building but I'm not sure it's warehouse-like. The Daggers and the horrible Hammers tend to play at home on alternate weeks and a fair number of the crowd support both, although there are quite a few of us who can't abide them; you can guarantee a cheer at half time whether West Ham are winning or losing.

Wow there's more to B&D than I was expecting! Saved the best for last eh?!

Thanks for a very interesting post about a rather unloved area. I lived in nearby Ilford for a few years in the 70's and went to Barking occasionally. My neighbour was a night worker at Fords, and his wife used to moan if the children made any noise in the garden, as he was sleeping. We fell out with them and moved to Croydon.

TridentScan | Privacy Policy