Dagenham Dock, Barking & Dagenham
An industrial and bulk storage district built on Dagenham Marshes
The old docks were constructed in 1887 around Dagenham Breach, now a constricted industrial lagoon but originally a local beauty spot, created in the early 18th century by the Thames’ irrepressible habit of breaking through flood defences.
The docks’ founder was William Varco, who lived at Mardyke Farm in what became South Hornchurch. HMS Thunderer, the last warship built on the Thames, was completed at the docks in 1911 and took part in the Battle of Jutland five years later.
In the late 1920s the Ford Motor Company built their massive car factory here. For British drivers, Dagenham’s name became synonymous with Ford cars but vehicle manufacture ceased in 2001.
The Ford site is still home to an engine plant, stamping plant and tool room, with a powertrain engineering team and a substantial transport operation. Some 4,500 people work here, making it London’s largest industrial employer. Ford Dagenham presently produces almost one million diesel engines a year, for vehicles built all over the world. In 2014 Ford announced plans to invest in a new plant that will make low-carbon engines for cars and commercial vehicles.
The remainder of the Dagenham Dock area is a motley collection of oil, coal and molasses depots, glass reclaimers, car breakers and container compounds.
On Chequers Lane, Barking Power Ltd have built a privately funded electricity generating station, which began to supply power to the national grid from 1995. The Dagenham Dock viaduct carries the six-lane A13 dual carriageway across the area.
Dagenham Dock has been undergoing extensive regeneration as part of the Thames Gateway master plan. This is bringing new employment opportunities and, to the west, housing at Riverside. Planners hope to shift the industrial emphasis in a greenward direction from its formerly dirty character.
Postcode area: Dagenham RM9
Station: c2c (zone 5)