Dagenham Dock

Dagenham Dock, Barking & Dagenham

An industrial and bulk storage district built on Dagenham Marshes

Hidden London: Sluice near Dagenham by Malc McDonald

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)


* The picture of a sluice near Dagenham on this page is modified from an original photograph, copyright Malc McDonald, at Geograph Britain and Ireland, made available under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. Any subsequent reuse is hereby freely permitted under the terms of that licence.