Barking Town Heritage Project

The shop front of John H King's Draper's - with a huge art display above the shop - showing landmark buildings and trades from Barking's heritage - to celebrate the Barking Town Charter of 1931.

As part of a National Lottery Heritage Fund project, we are putting local heritage at the heart of changes to Barking town centre, with a focus on East Street and the surrounding conservation area.

Our overall aim is to conserve and commemorate historic buildings in the East Street area and to research, and inform residents and visitors, about the stories behind the high-street stores and historical homes.

Our team of volunteers will develop a heritage legacy by contributing to the creation of town trails and tours, learning resources, exhibitions and a permanent mural in East Street.

We hope that you can join us in ensuring that our local heritage continues to be a positive and relevant part of Barking’s evolving cultural identity.

Leave your details below if you are interested in becoming a Heritage Volunteer or if you have any questions .

With special thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Archives and Local Studies Library, who have provided support, training and access to their archives and photograph collection, including all of the heritage photos on this webpage - contact localstudies@lbbd.gov.uk for further information.


As part of a National Lottery Heritage Fund project, we are putting local heritage at the heart of changes to Barking town centre, with a focus on East Street and the surrounding conservation area.

Our overall aim is to conserve and commemorate historic buildings in the East Street area and to research, and inform residents and visitors, about the stories behind the high-street stores and historical homes.

Our team of volunteers will develop a heritage legacy by contributing to the creation of town trails and tours, learning resources, exhibitions and a permanent mural in East Street.

We hope that you can join us in ensuring that our local heritage continues to be a positive and relevant part of Barking’s evolving cultural identity.

Leave your details below if you are interested in becoming a Heritage Volunteer or if you have any questions .

With special thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Archives and Local Studies Library, who have provided support, training and access to their archives and photograph collection, including all of the heritage photos on this webpage - contact localstudies@lbbd.gov.uk for further information.


  • Heritage Hearts in Parsloes Park

    2 months ago
    One borough project balloon

    Barking Heritage Project was at the One Borough event this weekend, promoting its aim to put heritage at the heart of Barking's regeneration, with heart shaped Barking Heritage balloons. We engaged with the visitors, especially the families, as the children were attracted to our bright silver balloons, 'they went down (and up) very well, and we manged to avoid the storms!' Adults had the chance to get involved too, viewing photographs of historic buildings and discussing their knowledge and memories of them. It was another windy day of community outreach - 'this time we lost a couple of hearts to...

    Barking Heritage Project was at the One Borough event this weekend, promoting its aim to put heritage at the heart of Barking's regeneration, with heart shaped Barking Heritage balloons. We engaged with the visitors, especially the families, as the children were attracted to our bright silver balloons, 'they went down (and up) very well, and we manged to avoid the storms!' Adults had the chance to get involved too, viewing photographs of historic buildings and discussing their knowledge and memories of them. It was another windy day of community outreach - 'this time we lost a couple of hearts to the skies above - the upside was hopefully our message has spread far and wide...'


  • Barking Town Heritage - Research Workshop - at the Archives and Local Studies Library

    2 months ago
    Archives workshop

    This July our new team of Barking Town Heritage Volunteers enjoyed an insight into our local Archives and an introduction to research resources that can help them investigate the history of Barking's High-Street.

    We will be focusing on East Street and the old buildings and stores in the surrounding conservation area, past and present. Topics that are of interest to the team include changing forms of transport in the town centre, pubs and breweries, cinemas and entertainments - yes we used to have several picture houses in the heart of Barking and there are timely plans for a return of...

    This July our new team of Barking Town Heritage Volunteers enjoyed an insight into our local Archives and an introduction to research resources that can help them investigate the history of Barking's High-Street.

    We will be focusing on East Street and the old buildings and stores in the surrounding conservation area, past and present. Topics that are of interest to the team include changing forms of transport in the town centre, pubs and breweries, cinemas and entertainments - yes we used to have several picture houses in the heart of Barking and there are timely plans for a return of a cinema in the near future! Barking's Tudor Court House (demolished in 1923) and the more recent Magistrate's Court, built in 1893, make an interesting case, as do examinations of war time history, including bomb damage in the area and the inter-war hey day of the High Street. 1931 was a particularly significant year, as Barking celebrated its town charter (superbly illustrated by John H King's decorated shop front on East Street, (see the featured photograph) and the Art Deco Burton's building was completed.

    There are many interesting stories behind the various high-street stores that have served local shoppers to be revealed - from Burton's to Bulley's and beyond. There are also some interesting East Street residents to research too, including the hugely influential Glennys of Barking, who lived at Cecil House but also The White House - East Street, not Washington, and The Paddock (before Blake's Corner replaced it). These farmers, land owners/agents and brewers of Barking had great influence on developments in Barking Town Centre. The Famous fishing fleet owners Samuel and his father Scrymgeour Hewett and James Morgan lived on East Street - the latter built Fawley House, 33-35, which is the oldest house still standing in the town centre. The first female Councillor, Susanne Mason, lived with her husband, Doctor Mason, at Abbey Lodge, East Street, a site later taken by Woolworths...

    The volunteers said they 'thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated' their first workshop and 'found everyone really helpful'... If you want to find out more about any of these topics, follow this webpage or to help us with our research, please sign up as a heritage volunteer - the details are also on this web page.

  • Fab Fifty - Barking Heritage Quiz - Competition Winner!

    3 months ago
    Comp winner smaller

    The Barking Town Heritage Project is pleased to announce the lucky winner of the Barking Heritage Quiz! David Harley, Head of Regeneration at Be First, presented Lateefat Owolabi, a Barking resident, with her £50 Asda voucher and she was very pleased with her good fortune! Along with many residents and visitors attending the Barking Folk Festival and Eid at Eastbury, last month, she tested her knowledge of people and events from Barking's past...

    Top Marks went to Ashan Ahmed, who completed an almost perfect quiz, showing great knowledge of Barking's history from Saxon times to present day - well done...

    The Barking Town Heritage Project is pleased to announce the lucky winner of the Barking Heritage Quiz! David Harley, Head of Regeneration at Be First, presented Lateefat Owolabi, a Barking resident, with her £50 Asda voucher and she was very pleased with her good fortune! Along with many residents and visitors attending the Barking Folk Festival and Eid at Eastbury, last month, she tested her knowledge of people and events from Barking's past...

    Top Marks went to Ashan Ahmed, who completed an almost perfect quiz, showing great knowledge of Barking's history from Saxon times to present day - well done Ashan!

    If you would like to find out how much you know about Barking Heritage you can find the quiz (and the answers, no cheating mind) on this web page!

  • Folk Festival Fun with our heritage style horse and cart and wishing Eid Mubarak at Eastbury Manor House

    3 months ago
    Img 20190608 121327 folk festival outreach

    The Barking Town Heritage project brought a horse and carriage back to town last Saturday, 8th June, recreating some of the old black and white photos of East Street and the surrounding area, from the days before cars, buses and trams. There were a few horse-drawn journeys along the Broadway, with Buster and Wilbur, the beautiful friesians, as the bells of St Margaret's chimed charmingly and the folk bands began to play.

    Among the pretty, crafted flowers and knitted delights on the Abbey Grounds, David Harley, Head of Regeneration at Be First, and Simone Panayi, the project's engagement officer, dressed...

    The Barking Town Heritage project brought a horse and carriage back to town last Saturday, 8th June, recreating some of the old black and white photos of East Street and the surrounding area, from the days before cars, buses and trams. There were a few horse-drawn journeys along the Broadway, with Buster and Wilbur, the beautiful friesians, as the bells of St Margaret's chimed charmingly and the folk bands began to play.

    Among the pretty, crafted flowers and knitted delights on the Abbey Grounds, David Harley, Head of Regeneration at Be First, and Simone Panayi, the project's engagement officer, dressed in late Victorian costume, engaged with the festival visitors and local people. "We were not blown away by the forceful winds, but by the interest and enthusiasm of visitors and residents, who were keen to test and improve their knowledge of the local area."

    Plans for improving the landscaped entrance to the Abbey Ruins, in front of the Curfew Tower, the conservation of the building facades and shop front improvements in East street and nearby, were discussed. Meanwhile many tested their knowledge of local history with the Barking Quiz. All completed quiz sheets were entered into a prize draw for a £50 Asda voucher and then the answers were supplied, giving residents more information about Barking's heritage.

    On Sunday 9th June, Eastbury Manor House, a grand Tudor home built on Barking Abbey land, after King Henry VIII dissolved the abbey in the 1500's, was also blooming with colour and buzzing with sounds and activities, as Eid celebrations took place. As well as wishing, "Eid Mubarak", visitors were pleased to discuss local heritage and, "many adults and children shared their impressive historical knowledge." So the Barking Town Heritage project had another delightful day of community engagement, with dressing up costumes for the children and an array of historical hats linked to stories of Barking's past. More quizzes were completed and the winning quiz sheet was drawn!

    We hope people will stay in touch and follow updates about the progress of the project via this web page and that some might be interested enough to volunteer to help with the local research. In the coming months we will build up a detailed picture of the residents, shops and services along East Street, across many years of history, in this ancient part of town that evolved out of it's links with Barking Abbey. From this research we will find interesting and relevant stories from past times that continue to resonate with Barking's current community and celebrate the high-lights through trails and tours, information boards, educational resources and a permanent mural in East Street.

    Thank you to everyone involved with the wonderful Eid at Eastbury and also the borough's Summer of Festivals Events' Team and Tami, at White Horse Farm Carriages, for making this a great weekend for this National Lottery Heritage Funded project, and of course to all those who engaged with us!


  • Join our Barking Town Heritage team of volunteers!

    4 months ago
    Ds247 east street

    Join up in June! The Barking Town Heritage Project will be present at the Barking Folk Festival on Saturday 8 June, with a heritage style horse and carriage and at Eastbury Manor House, on Sunday 9 June, for Eid at Eastbury. There will be further information available about our project and the opportunity to sign up as a volunteer as well as a chance to test your knowledge of the local area with a Barking History Quiz! We hope to see you there!

    Join us in July! New volunteers can attend our induction and first workshop at the borough's...

    Join up in June! The Barking Town Heritage Project will be present at the Barking Folk Festival on Saturday 8 June, with a heritage style horse and carriage and at Eastbury Manor House, on Sunday 9 June, for Eid at Eastbury. There will be further information available about our project and the opportunity to sign up as a volunteer as well as a chance to test your knowledge of the local area with a Barking History Quiz! We hope to see you there!

    Join us in July! New volunteers can attend our induction and first workshop at the borough's Archives and Local Studies Library, with Karen the Archivist and Teresa our local studies librarian. You will be introduced to the centre's treasure trove of local resources and archive material and trained in research skills, to help us to produce a legacy of Barking Town Heritage resources. These will inform a permanent heritage mural in East Street, the creation of town trails and tours, pop-up exhibitions and educational materials for local schools. This could be the perfect opportunity for you to share and develop your historical knowledge and skills and join a friendly and enthusiastic team of heritage volunteers!