Barking & Dagenham Through Time - Michael Foley

PUBLISHED: 12:42 17 January 2011 | UPDATED: 09:48 18 January 2011

Barking & Dagenham Through Time cover shot

Barking & Dagenham Through Time cover shot


NOW and then could have been the title of Michael Foley’s new book as it illustrates the visual changes Barking and Dagenham has gone through in the past century or so.

But maybe the historian intended to show the borough’s unity when he chose the title Barking & Dagenham Through Time (£14.99, Amberley Publishing), drawing together the two former villages for a revealing visual retrospective.

Many of the pictures show an area that has maintained some of its charming buildings in the face of war, like Barking Magistrates’ Court, the shopfronts in East Street, and one of the world’s largest housing estates in Becontree.

Some of the most striking comparisons are those showing changes from a landscape graced by brick buildings to one marked by modernist grey architecture.

One such example is a present-day bridge in Ripple Road, Barking, with an undated, grainy photograph of a level crossing in the same place.

In the early 20th century, Ripple Road resembled a rural road. But the current view of an asphalt street with postwar skyline and Barking’s landmark Lemonade building could not signify the change more starkly. And further towards the west of Barking, the site of the former windmill, demolished in 1926, is now covered by a retail park.

A tale of one mill, dating back to 1815, the year of the Battle of Waterloo and now gone, adds a fascinating insight to the area’s rural heritage. Buildings also stood right up to the famous Curfew Tower of Barking Abbey, the once powerful nunnery that was demolished in the 16th century.

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