Marks Gate, Barking & Dagenham
A northern outpost of the borough, situated a mile north of Chadwell Heath, still surrounded by the fields of wheat, oats, barley that were once its raison d’être
Around 600bc a fortified hilltop village was established here, of which almost nothing remains but the hill itself. The medieval manor of Marks was one of Barking’s oldest free tenements (an estate held for life or longer), with its own manor court from the fourteenth century and special rights in Hainault Forest.
Marks Hall, the 20-bedroom moated manor house, was built in the mid-15th century and demolished in 1808. The estate, which was much reduced over the centuries, was sold to the Crown in 1855. It is now part of Warren Hall Farm, where part of the moat survives, as does a 17th-century brick barn, which is still in use.
Nearby were two other hamlets, now lost. Roselane Gate had its own entrance to the forest, at the northern end of Rose Lane near the Harrow public house. Padnall Corner was virtually wiped out when the Eastern Avenue was constructed. It was located at the bend in Padnall Road and Padnall Hall stood to its west.
In 1934 Chadwell Heath cemetery opened on an eleven-acre site on Whalebone Lane North. It has since been extended by eight acres.
Dagenham council built an estate at Marks Gate in the late 1950s and much of the housing remains in municipal ownership. At the southern edge of the estate, Padnall Lake is used as a flood storage basin and is part of the local land-drainage system. Working with the local community, the Friends of Padnall Lake have implemented a package of environmental improvements to increase habitat diversity, enhance the lake’s aesthetics and add ‘natural play facilities’ for kids. A remnant from the grounds of Padnall Hall has been planted as a community orchard.
The City Pavilion (formerly City Limits) is a popular local leisure facility, with function rooms, bars, restaurants and a bowling centre.
Postcode areas: Romford RM5 and RM6
Further reading: AE Baker, A Miscellany of Marks Gate, Barking and Dagenham Libraries, 1990