Castle Green

Castle Green, Barking & Dagenham

A residential locality with a wide variety of amenities, situated north of Ripple Road on the border between Barking and Dagenham

Hidden London: Castle Green by Marathon

In this area the present-day A13 approx­im­ately divides what were once uninhab­itable Thames marshes from slightly higher ground where homes could be built. Farmhouses were loosely strung out along Ripple Road – notably Scrattons Farm in this locality – with little else to be seen between Barking and Rainham. And that’s how it seems to have been for thousands of years. Evidence of an Early Iron Age subsistence farm has recently been discovered in a corner of what is now Dagenham leisure park.

Castle Green takes its name from Ripple Castle, a minor mansion with a castel­lated front half, which stood at what is now the south end of Castle Road from c.1800 to 1930. The area is also known as Goresbrook, after a small stream that makes its first appearance in Goresbrook Park and flows south to Dagenham Dock. A gore was a wedge-shaped strip of land but also Essex dialect for a ‘muddy obstruction in a water­course’ and it’s not known which meaning applied here.

After the demolition of Ripple Castle the area was built up as Barking and Dagenham expanded to meet each other between the wars. Goresbrook Village’s three 16-storey blocks signi­fic­antly increased the local­ity’s population density in the 1960s. This is an area with social diffi­culties and over the past few years it has been the focus of a range of projects designed to improve the quality of life of its residents.

The Castle Green centre, which opened on Gale Street in 2005, unifies an extraordin­arily wide variety of community resources. These include a crèche and nursery, the Jo Richardson community school, a library, an adult college, a theatre, enter­tainment and conference spaces, and sports and catering facil­ities.

East of the Castle Green centre there are sports grounds and, beyond those, Dagenham leisure park, which has a cinema, bingo hall, bowling alley and nightclub – and exactly the set of accom­pa­nying eateries that you might expect to find.

Goresbrook school opened in 2014 on the site of a former leisure centre. This is an entirely new insti­tution, created in response to a rapid rise in the number of children living in the borough. When it reaches full capacity, the school will accom­modate up to 1,355 children aged 3 to 18.

West of Castle Green recre­ation ground, the hefty tower blocks of Goresbrook Village have recently been demol­ished and replaced by Castle Green Place. Designed by the Stitch archi­tecture studio, most of Castle Green Place consists of council homes for rent, while the remaining properties were quickly sold privately.

Goresbrook Village featured in the 2010 Channel 4 reality documentary series Tower Block of Commons.

Postcode areas: Dagenham RM9 and Barking IG11
See also: Rippleside


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* The picture of Castle Green at the top of this page is adapted from an original photograph, copyright Marathon, at Geograph Britain and Ireland, made available under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. Any subsequent reuse is freely permitted under the terms of that licence.