Dagenham Dock, Barking & Dagenham
Formerly an industrial and bulk storage district built on Dagenham Marshes, now evolving into a mixed-use area
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 a diesel engine plant but it seems likely that it will not be repurposed when the company goes all-electric.
On Chequers Lane, Barking Power Ltd built a privately-funded electricity generating station, which began to supply power to the national grid from 1995. This power station closed in 2014 and the site has since been cleared in preparation for the relocation here of Smithfield meat market, New Spitalfields fruit, vegetable and flower market and Billingsgate fish market.
The Dagenham Dock viaduct carries the six-lane A13 dual carriageway across the area.
The remainder of the Dagenham Dock area was until recently a motley collection of oil, coal and molasses depots, glass reclaimers, car breakers and container compounds but the area is now undergoing extensive regeneration as part of the Thames Gateway master plan. This is bringing new employment opportunities and thousands – potentially even tens of thousands – of new residents.
Postcode area: Dagenham RM9
Station: c2c (zone 5)