Barking Town Heritage Project

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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.

With help from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, 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 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

With help from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, 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 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.

It would be great if you could share your views in the Barking Town Heritage Survey. There is a prize draw and a lucky winner of a Fire HD 8 Tablet and vouchers for some lucky runners up too!

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 for further information.

  • Heritage Conservation Workshops - Tuesday 26th January & Tuesday 2nd February, 2021

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    18 Jan 2021
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    For Barking heritage enthusiasts there are two free workshops available online during this winter lockdown. The first is entitled: An Introduction to Heritage Conservation and its key themes are - opportunities for enhancement of historic buildings, including the benefits of improving shop fronts and re-instating historic features; an explanation of historic building conservation and the most likely types of building you will come across in Barking, the importance of conserving built heritage and approaches to heritage conservation. It will also cover practical guidance on the maintenance and repair of historic buildings.

    The second workshop has a slightly different focus as an: Introduction to heritage legislation, policy and guidance - this develops themes from the first workshop by examining the new conservation area appraisal and will include input from Historic England and our own planning officers. There will also be an opportunity to ask your own questions.

    To take the opportunity to make these Tuesday afternoons a time to learn more about historic conservation in Barking - please email for an invite to either or both of these free workshops

    The workshops are funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund, hosted by Be First Regeneration - working with Barking & Dagenham, and presented by Purcell Consultants with input from Historic England.

  • #Heritage Treasures Day

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    11 Jan 2021
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    Barking Town Centre’s #heritagetreasures are being celebrated in 2021, with the help of National Lottery Heritage Fund.

    The public space at the Curfew Tower – gateway to historic Barking (St Margaret’s Church, Barking’s Abbey ruins and its old Quay) is being improved and a new, accessible model of the seventh century Barking Abbey installed at this site.

    East Street, the early twentieth century high street, opposite the medieval tower and abbey ruins has funding for improvements to the traditional buildings and shopfronts. The Abbey and Barking Town Centre Conservation Area Appraisal has been updated too.

    The other #heritagetreasures to revere are the Heritage Volunteers who have been researching the historic buildings and hidden heritage of Barking Town Centre for the last eighteen months. They have contiuned their work through the pandemic, spinning their research into golden tales about Barking’s past. These have appeared in the local newspaper as well as on the project website. While the local LBBD Archives were closed our enthusiastic volunteers consolidated their research, wrote articles and made sound recordings of their stories for the borough’s fitness app ‘Street Tag’ - which in collaboration with ‘Pent To Print’ will create a new heritage trail for local walkers - the first part of a borough wide storytelling trail which will launch this Spring.

    We managed to undertake two socially distanced tours of Barking Town Centre during the summer, which inspired further research and more articles, although the Christmas Party was replaced with a virtual Christmas Quiz in 2020. Over the last year the team have developed their digital skills and methods of online research, moving from their base at the local Archives to Zoom and then Teams, as they made the most of time spent at home during the pandemic – continuing to uncover more heritage stories to treasure, from Barking’s past.

  • Call to creatives - design our heritage mural

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    15 Oct 2020
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    Plans for a heritage mural in Short Blue Place, Barking were given a boost today when the council’s regeneration organisation, Be First, joined forces with The National Lottery Heritage Fund, to offer a £20,000 commission to local artists.

    The plans to commemorate Barking’s forgotten history were hatched by local heritage volunteers who have been researching the area’s lost history. They have unearthed information about the development of the town since the earliest times, through the town’s emergence as a centre for fishing and farming and the building of the famous Abbey in AD666, up to modern times. On the way, they have examined the history of many of the buildings that have been demolished, such as the Windmill, the Tudor Leet (court) House and, more recently the workhouse and Bascule Bridge.

    Heritage group coordinator, Simone Panayi, of Be First, explains: “Our heritage volunteers have helped to reveal just how rich and varied Barking’s history is, and we want to create a permanent reminder for everyone to enjoy, and that will attract visitors to the town centre.

    “We’ve surveyed local residents, to see what they are most interested in, and now we want someone with creative flair to create a stunning mural or similar artwork, incorporating this’Lost Heritage’ theme at Short Blue Place.

    “So, we’re delighted that we have backing of The National Lottery Heritage Fund to offer a commission to our very talented artistic community”.

    The successful artist, or artists, will be expected to design, create, and install the heritage wall and linked interpretation, potentially including an art trail, to a professional standard.

    Further details of the brief for the Heritage Wall commission are available at:

    For the Heritage Wall dimensions see:

    Applications must be received by 30 November 2020.

  • Heritage Volunteers' Tours

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    08 Oct 2020
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    In August and September, the Barking Heritage Volunteers were able to meet up again at last! After months of Zoom meetings we managed to enjoy two tours of Barking together and the weather stayed dry too.

    In August, Alex kindly guided the group on a river tour from the delightful Boat House Café, where we had the pleasure to meet and have bevvies before we set off – the pictures show the lovely sunshine, but not the whirling wind along the Roding…

    We started out along the east bank and headed towards Creekmouth, crossing the river at the A13 footpath to return along the west bank…

    Along the east bank we looked at the barrage and discussed the lock system and changes to the river over the years, to accommodate the fishing industry and later transportation of goods and supplies from the factory wharves. We stopped close to Boundary Road where Hewetts’ wharf once stood. The engineering and repair premises here were the site of the tragic boiler explosion of 1899… We were also looking for evidence of the old tram bridge, which Felicity has researched, it was built in the early twentieth century, as a two-part bascule bridge to allow boats through, which crossed from Boundary Road, on its way to Beckton Gas Works… The tide must have been out as the river was low, and in the mud we spotted some heavy brick foundations which we believed to be remnants of the once beautifully constructed crossing here. We were surprised that we could also smell the salty smell of briny water this far from the estuary - the fishing heritage coming back to haunt us… We were also surprised that some industrial units still exist along here, though increasingly over shadowed by residential developments – which must have stunning views across this flat landscape of London, Essex and Kent…

    Journeying back along the west bank we discussed the mysterious situation of Barking land on what is commonly thought of the as the Newham side of the Roding… We discussed that if Barking Creek had not demarcated the boundary here then perhaps ‘Back River’ and the various tributaries seen on old maps, once did… Eric found further information on this, "The fact that the parish boundary follows the Back River and the Aldersbrook suggests that these may originally have been part of the main stream. The Back River was probably the 'old Hile' (ealdan hilœ) mentioned in A.D. 958." 'Ilford' is said to be named after the 'Hile', which could also be the old name for the Roding... In fact the location of an actual place on old maps called ‘West Bank’ was on ‘Back River’ rather than ‘Barking Creek’; as was the locally known, ‘Whitegate Bridge’. Eric reminded us that the ‘fresh’ water released through the sluice gates on the Creek and Back River - often referred to as ‘rushing waters’ , was used to freeze into ice on the marshes, as it froze more quickly than the saltier waters… He has also explained that part of Barking once formed, 'the island’ between these two waterways before they reached the Thames at Creekmouth, as old maps reveal, and tributaries were natural to such a marshy area… Whilst the Roding still defines Barking, some of those smaller waterways, which used to run close by (perhaps also as part of the ‘Roding’), have since disappeared, buried underground and underneath new developments in both Newham and Barking…

    Further up-stream, towards the quay it was great to see some water craft still using this stretch of water! We crossed back over the barrage to return to the quay, once known as the mill pond, with ‘six gates’. Although the mill is long gone the old granary is looking proudly across the old Quay, with its new residences - a great example of the positive relationship between local regeneration and local heritage…

    For our second tour, we had hoped to meet at St Margaret’s centre, but had not realised that the café had not reopened, we hope it does, as we plan to book a tour of the church another time… We enjoyed a hot lunch at Christina’s instead – a great place to start our tour of North Street – this was once the old co-op building with the beehive motif carved in 1900, a sweet metaphor for the society’s belief in working together to benefit all… Further along we point out the location of the old Trafalgar Street (probably the entrance to Asda's Car Park) as we tried to work out where Northbury House was, before it was removed to widen London Road - never a good reason to lose such a historic building... Lesley has been researching the intriguing histories of some of its residents and even visitors - Charles Jamrach's daughters went to school there... Carol Birch has written a great historical novel about 'Jamrach's Menagerie' in Victorian London...

    We headed northeast, to the old ‘North Street’ (Northbury) School. Alex a keen rambler around old parts of Barking, again guided us, this time to find a place we spotted on one of the old photographs which George drew our attention to – Victoria Gardens – hidden between Northbury School and the railway tracks, just south of where they divide the old Tanner Street… Sorry George was not there to share this moment...

    The black and white photograph shows the, possibly newly laid, gardens, at that time - as the school was completed at the end of Victoria’s reign, opening in 1896 and perhaps the photo was taken around that time or not long after - her diamond jubilee was celebrated in 1897, perhaps prompting the naming of the gardens after her… In the picture the gardens look so neat and formal, we wanted to visit to compare with the way they look today. We were pleasantly surprised to find this patch of green, still in use as a recreational area, with additional slide and playground equipment being enjoyed by local children (just before school pick up time). Some of us felt that the new or now much taller plane trees and other tall tree types now disrupt the view of the three tiered Victorian School – designed for a ground floor of Infants, middle floor of girls and the boys on the top… Sue had recently attended an ‘open house’ lecture on the design of ‘Board Schools’ – the Victorian Council Schools built after the Education Act of 1891, which made schooling a free and legal obligation for all children… Lesley was very pleased to find some ornate stone edging hiding in the grass, which we thought may be original Victorian edges to the old gravel paths, in the photograph... We were ruminating on ideas for a school or community project to inject more glory into the sites now that the lovely flower beds have disappeared too...

    On a positive note the new extension to the school, provides a fresh entrance way and new classrooms and facilities without detracting from Charles Dawson’s beautifully detailed architecture. The borough architect designed some wonderful buildings, such as the old Board Offices (Magistrates’ Court) and the first Board School at Gascoigne Road – sadly replaced… His newer schools of the Becontree Estate such as Monteagle and Cambell had a totally different design of the quadrangles – perhaps enjoying more room to build, as well as responding to new ideas about outside spaces and play. As a someone who attended both those schools in the 1970s/80s, following in the footsteps of my parents, I found them great designs, although I don’t recall using the quadrangle gardens very often though – mainly for class photos…

    On the way back into town we admired the new Gurudwara being built – we discussed how it would be one of the most beautifully ornate buildings to grace Barking… We also took a closer look at the previous Gurudwara, as this used to be the Friends Meeting House, rebuilt on the site of Tate's Place, in 1908… We were pleased to find an information board in the gardens opposite, which used to be the old Quaker burial ground, although it could do with replacing due to being quite weather beaten now… The memorial to Elizabeth Fry was still looking good however, and reminds us of the achievements of the Friends/Quaker movement including their belief in rights of all men and women – they wanted to convince people at the time of the transatlantic slave trade, that all people should be free and their voices heard! Women like Fry were allowed to preach and make a difference to society – she achieved so much for the poor and unfranchised - prisoners and their children, at a time when many, if not most, were victims of their circumstances… This part of the visit linked well with the approaching month of October and Black History Month – you can read more about the legacy that Britain’s colonial past had on Barking’s heritage in the ‘Stories Behind the Stores’ section of this webpage:

  • Heritage Survey Results - What did you say? Who won the prizes?

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    19 Aug 2020
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    A big thank you to all of you who completed the Barking Heritage Survey!

    The winners:

    The winner of the Kindle Fire 8 – was Paul Bebbington, who lives locally and is known to his friends as ‘Bebbs’. He informed us that he was pleased with his prize, exclaiming, ‘Wow, that is a nice surprise’. He says that he enjoys local history too, ‘especially at Valence House archives…’ and is delighted with his new Kindle Fire which will help him with his poetry writing! We look forward to reading some of Paul's poetry, maybe on the Street Tag App, as we are helping Pen to Print add heritage sites to the local fitness App and people can add their creative posts to it too!

    Our runners up, who will receive a £25 Amazon Voucher each, are Jodie John and Jennie Stallard. Jodie said her voucher was, ‘was a lovely surprise’ and she was, ‘very grateful for being a winner’. We are waiting to hear from Jennie, so she will be able to accept her prize… The prizes were provided by the Barking Town Heritage Project, which is generously funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

    The results:

    Less than half of the respondents were aware of the Abbey and Barking Town Centre Conservation Area and only 18% knew of the inclusion of East Street. However, our survey also suggested that 85.5% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that we should look after our conservation area! This Conservation Area is currently under review and you can access the new proposals and have your say on them, and the updated management plan at:

    The most visited historical sites in the town centre were: Barking Abbey ruins/green (44%), Barking Quay (36%) and St Margaret’s Church (34%). Only 24% of respondents had 'visited' the Curfew tower (though hopefully many more have viewed it). This historic site will hopefully attract more visitors in the future as the Public Realm in front of this gateway to the abbey and parish church is being improved. It will be opened up, made more accessible and enhanced with a model of the Abbey, and further information about the history of this ancient site… The least visited site indicated was Fawley House – probably because it is not usually defined by its historic name, currently housing two shops and a charity for young people at the site, 35 East Street. Its links to the fishing industry are celebrated but perhaps it should also be clearly promoted that this was once the home of the Hewett family who owned the world famous ‘Short Blue Fleet’ and later Captain James Morgan, another wealthy fishing fleet owner - the figurehead of one of his boats remained in the garden here for many years… Next time you are in Barking Town Centre take a closer look at the information available, on this building, at Short Blue Place – opposite McDonalds…

    As part of our NLHF project we are currently commissioning a Heritage Wall in Short Blue Place – which will include a mural and information on some of the lost heritage of Barking… The most popular sites suggested to be depicted were: Barking Abbey, Barking Windmill, Tudor Leet (court) House and Market Hall, Barking Workhouse and Bascule Bridge (for trams, over the River Roding). These lost places will be recommended in the Artists’ Brief. Thank you for your thoughtful comments about other forms of Heritage including fishing/industrial/working heritage, Vicarage Fields and Elizabeth Fry (social reformer and abolitionist who was buried in the Quaker burial ground, in Barking). We value the suggestion to illustrate not just our working class heritage and female heroines from the past but also people of black and ethnic minority heritage who are underrepresented in our local history… Other comments on the mural included, the wide appeal of the use of mosaics, also colour, an authentic representation of the past, that images are timeless and not too busy, as well as the use of audio/sound in the information and the importance of the professional quality of the art work. This input will inform the Artist’s Brief for the commission.

    The information and views provided on the Curfew Tower will also inform the commission for the new model and historic information at this site. Most popular was the use of written information and photos/images and then a model and audio/stories about the site… You also mentioned the importance of accessibility for hearing/visually impaired and those with mobility problems and the use of new technologies - as mentioned above, Pen to Print will be launching a new heritage trail on Street Tag (the local fitness app) this Autumn which our heritage volunteers have been fully involved with and everyone will be able to add to in the future.

    Last but not least the survey provided lots of ideas about the ways we could celebrate these improvements to Barking Town Centre - our built heritage and an exciting sense of the history of this place - when it is once again safe to do so…

  • Time Capsule Competition Winners!

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    08 Jul 2020
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    Back in March, when the schools were fully open to all year groups, pupils at St Joseph's Primary School in Barking were set a challenge to create a document about living in Barking - in the past, present or future! Each year group had a different theme:

    Reception - a poster about St Joseph's School

    Years 1&2 - an acrostics poem about St Joseph's School

    Year 3 - a diary entry about their experiences of Barking today

    Year 4 - a prayer to St Ethelburga (Barking's Saxon past)

    Year 5 - art work on Barking in the future

    Year 6 - a letter to future generations of Barking residents

    Barking, like the rest of the world has been very different since March, despite the changes to school and our every day lives, many pupils completed their entries - which were all great and will all buried in the Time Capsule next term!

    The pupils' work was photographed first, so we can display it on our National Lottery Heritage Funded - Barking abbey and town centre heritage project's web page and we will celebrate the winners in each category - a printable Amazon Voucher should be on its way to you guys - well done to you all!

    We may never know how many years it will be, before future Barking residents unearth your treasures, in the time capsule, but we can all enjoy what you produced!

    The Winners are:

    Reception - Aaron

    Years 1&2 - Advik

    Year 3 - Sophia M

    Year 4 - John

    Year 5 - Millicent

    Year 6 - Giovanni

    Highly Commended - Faith and Yemi in Year 4

    Commended - Jonathon (reception), Joshua (year 2), Ayede Ackaa (year 3), Zhoiee (year 3), Tammy (year 4), Kylan (year 5), Jonathan (year 5) - Well done everyone - your documents are going into the Time Capsule, on a journey into the future!




  • The tower before the curfew was lifted!

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    06 Jun 2020
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    The Curfew Tower, as it is known today, is the only remaining gateway to Barking’s Saxon Abbey (the ruins are now a protected monument). The tower is Grade II* listed – as The Fire Bell Gate. The original medieval belfry was probably built in 1370, and the current tower dates from around 1460. The upper storey was largely rebuilt in the late nineteenth century.

    The names Curfew Tower and Fire Bell Gate arose from the tolling of the tower bell, reminding people to extinguish all fires and lights, before the nightly curfew, which rang until the end of the Victorian period, ceasing in 1900. The image below is from around that time when the curfew bell stopped chiming.

    'The Abbey Gate', as it is also known, was the central of three gateways to Barking Abbey, and is the only part of the Abbey still standing, after Henry VIII dissolved and destroyed it between 1539-41.

    The above oil on board illustration was painted by Joseph W Furnell, in 1981, it shows an earlier Victorian scene on Church Path, in front of the gateway to the churchyard... Notice the upper window differs from that of the one which was rebuilt some years later...

    Barking’s Holy Rood, dated to between 1125 and 1150, is a rare stone representation of the crucifixion, which resides in the Curfew Tower. This holy relic probably once stood in the open and was visited by many paying pilgrims who believed they benefited from this spiritual experience. It was eventually moved into the Curfew Tower and in 1400 the original roof-loft chapel was licensed for services, which is the earliest known record of the tower. The upper room in the current monument continues to be the ‘Chapel of the Holy Rood’. Unfortunately, the rood is quite damaged now, probably because many Roman Catholic images were defaced during the dissolution and destruction of Barking Abbey…

    Nevertheless the Curfew Tower continues to stand proudly as the gateway to the Grade I listed, St Margaret’s Church and graveyard, as well as the Abbey ruins. St Margaret’s also has ancient origins but was designated as a parish church around 1300, so it survived the Tudor period and was converted to the Church of England.

    The old tower is so distinctive that it was used as the motif of Barking’s Urban District Council, from 1895, and more recently the National Lottery Heritage Fund has proudly displayed its image to promote the project’s aims. These are to restore, research and interpret the historic buildings of East Street and surrounding area. A central part of the project will include improving the public realm around the Curfew Tower, with the aim of making it a more attractive, accessible and useful open space, with a clear focus on promoting local heritage too - including a proposed bronze model of Barking Abbey, with the Curfew Tower and traditional Church Path leading up to it. The project hopes this will more fully engage both residents and visitors with Barking Town Centre’s ancient heritage… Community engagement with local schools, B&D college, heritage volunteers and building/business owners is also integral to the project and the outcomes will include heritage tours and a new town trail, new historical interpretation and a mural commemorating lost buildings/heritage, in East Street.

    Thank you to the borough's Archives and Valence House who own the copywrite to the illustrations and to Richard Tames and Tony Clifford, whose research into Barking's past is always so inciteful.

    If you would like to see the proposed changes to the public realm leading up to the Curfew Tower and add your comments/feedback. A link will be added here to access the Be First consultation page.

  • Barking's House of Correction and Tudor Leet House

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    26 May 2020
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    Local historian and former magistrate, Sue Hamilton, explores crime and punishment in our latest ‘Stories behind the stores’ feature. Sue has researched some of the borough’s earliest crime and punishment buildings and practices, including picking oakum and pelting with eggs or rotten fruit and vegetables.

    It’s an exciting contribution to our heritage project uncovering Barking town centre’s past.

    See the story here and get involved by joining our Heritage Volunteers here.

  • New Facebook page for Barking Heritage Volunteers and friends and followers

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    16 Mar 2020
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    Facebook page

    We're delighted to announce our new Facebook page: NLHF Barking Heritage Project and Heritage Volunteers group: Barking Heritage Volunteers. The link to the page can be reached through the new headline above. We hope that these can help keep us connected over coming weeks or months of possible isolation to combat the Covid-19 outbreak! Hopefully other residents and friends of the borough who are interested in conserving and promoting the borough's heritage will join us on Facebook. If we can share the links we may be able to use social media as a form of digital community engagement and feedback on our town trails and heritage interpretation ideas, such as the mural and possible pavement art going forward...

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  • Rippleside Cemetery Tour

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    01 Nov 2019
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    The heritage volunteers visited Rippleside Cemetery on the 23d of October, it did not go unobserved that this was the date of the auspicious St Ethelburga’s feast which celebrated the first Abbess of Barking, with festivities such as the Barking Fair, until 1875. This event has recently been marked by Eastbury Manor House, as St Ethelburga’s Hallowtide Fair, produced by Punchdrunk, in 2014. We looked forward to warming up with a hot drink and refuelling with lunch at Eastbury Manor House, a short walk away, after our tour, especially as it was a damp day (some of us got wet feet).

    We gathered at Rippleside’s beautiful grade II listed Chapel of Rest, designed by local architect CJ Dawson and inspired by St Margaret’s Church and the Curfew Tower, when the Barking Burial Board sought to find more space for burials beyond St Margaret’s Churchyard. The new cemetery and chapel opened in 1886 and we discovered a photograph at Eastbury afterwards, which showed the cemetery at this time, the chapel looked marooned in a rather desolate place (previously known as Maesbrook Meadow) before the graves were dug and the newly planted trees had grown (praised by London gardens online website as, ‘notable cedars, holly, yew, laurel and bay…’).

    Cemetery staff joined us inside the chapel where we discussed some of the Barking residents who had pursued the town improvements and Social reform which became prevalent in the late Victorian period, including two members of the Barking Burial Board of the 1880s: Doctor Hugh Herbert Mason and his wife Susannah Mason, who lived at Abbey Lodge, East Street. Dr Mason was also Barking’s factory surgeon and local medical officer as well as manging the Dispensary on The Braodway, which offered subscriptions to enable the poorer residents to afford medical advice and medications, in the days before the NHS. Mrs Mason served on the Barking School Board in the 1890s and became the first female councillor for the inaugural Barking Urban District Council in 1894! She would have served in the offices of the newly built Town Hall - now known as the magistrate’s court and probably the finest of Barking’s few Victorian buildings, also designed by CJ Dawson who had his offices there. Susannah made an extremely significant contribution to local society for a Victorian woman, particularly as she was also the mother to two young children Edward and Marianne. Tragically Marianne passed away in October 1896, and with a spooky coincidence was buried at Rippleside a day earlier than our visit, 123 years ago.

    Marianne’s grave was found to be unmarked, though lying next to that of CJ Dawson, who was buried some time later in 1933 with his wife and several of his sons, who had died before him. Marianne was not without a memorial however, as her parents paid for the set of striking stained-glass windows inside the chapel, one of which depicts Marianne, just seven years old, in her likeness, with her parents behind her (see the attached photograph). Dr Mason had a fine red beard, which is on fine display in a portrait of him as the first Chairman of the Urban District Council (from 1895), unveiled by his wife in 1897, a year after Marianne’s death. Her parents departed Barking after forty years’ service to the area, and returned to the midlands in the early 1900s, so they are not buried at Rippleside, leaving Marianne’s memorial in the chapel and evidence of their significant impact on the area to tell their story. Mark Watson, the heritage officer, informed us that the cemetery chapel was not consecrated because the Burial Board had intended that it could be used by people of all faiths, and it certainly still feels like a spiritual and peaceful space for anyone remembering those who have been lost to us.

    Outside the chapel the closest graves are the oldest graves in the cemetery and the heritage volunteers were able to find several of the past residents and reformers, that they have been researching. We marked our respects to these people of the past who we have become familiar with, with red roses. One of whom, Robert Hewett, whose eye-catching grave is recognised by a nautical anchor, was of the distinguished Barking fishing family, who lived for several years at Fawley House on East Street, first built by the Hewett family in the early nineteenth century. Robert chose not to be buried in the family plot at St Margaret’s but in the newer Rippleside Cemetery, which fits well with his contributions to the improvements of the town during the Victorian period. Significantly the victims of the fatal Barking boiler explosion of 1899, which occurred at Hewett’s Yard and acted as death knell for the last remains of the Short Blue Fishing Fleet in Barking, are also buried at Rippleside. We paid respects at the grave Arthur Hulme, one of the youngest victims, an apprentice, sixteen years old, at the time of the tragic explosion. He is buried with his father of the same name, who had been born and raised in France before returning to England and training as an organ player, as noted in John Blake’s article on the Barking (and district) Historical Society website, and served as St Margaret’s Church organist for 43 years. Sadly, like the Mason Family, and Dawson family the Hulmes had to live with the bereavement of a child, something that even wealthy and distinguished families could not avoid. Poorer residents could not always afford a separate grave for their youngest loved ones, and at a time of high infant and child mortality Mark and the cemetery staff informed us that a mass child grave used to exist at Rippleside...

    On a brighter note the volunteers recognised several other graves of local residents and traders of East Street and important contributors to Victorian Barking, including Arthur Blake whose Ironmongery gave the name to Blake’s Corner (corner of East Street and Ripple road), the site of Boots in recent years. This building was lost to enemy action in World War 2 along with its locally famous ‘clock house’, though the connected buildings remain in East Street. We are very grateful to the cemetery staff who also guided us to the grave of Annie Huggett the longest surviving suffragette, who died in 1996, aged 104. She moved into one of the borough’s first council houses in King Edward’s Road in 1903 and was the longest card-carrying member of the Labour Party. We also debated which of the Frogley family were buried here, there were generations of Josephs, but we agreed that the Frogley who recorded and illustrated Victorian Barking so effectively in his unpublished manuscript, in the early twentieth century, was William Holmes Frogley. We have been lucky enough to see this wonderful old record of Barking at the borough’s Archives and Local Studies Library, Valence House.

    Also accompanying us on our tour was Jonathan King (we wondered if he knew of the King Family who owned businesses in Barking for several decades – the best photo of one of them is that of John H King’s store in 1931, on our website homepage). We are grateful for Jon’s report of our Rippleside cemetery tour on the Post website, the link is included here, it has additional photos of the day and the portrait of Dr Mason. The Post will also be publishing a heritage article on the ‘Stories behind the Stores’ of East Street, for Woolworths/Abbey Lodge – so stay posted for that!

    Post Report on the tour