Rippleside, Barking & Dagenham

A commercial locality in south-east Barking, north of the marshland of Ripple Level

Hidden London: 3D Scan of the Dagenham Idol, reproduced courtesy of Archaeoptics Ltd.
3D Scan of the Dagen­ham Idol

In Old Eng­lish a ‘rip­ple’ was a strip of land and Rip­ple Street was in exis­tence here by the 16th cen­tu­ry, lat­er becom­ing Rip­ple Side before tak­ing its mod­ern form, Rip­ple Road. A new­ly cre­at­ed local bur­ial board laid out the 31-acre Rip­ple­side ceme­tery in 1886.

The Dagen­ham Idol was dug out of the marsh­es just south of Rip­ple Road in 1922. Because Dagen­ham had no muse­um in which the idol could be dis­played it was tak­en to Colch­ester Cas­tle Muse­um, which still owns it. A pinewood fig­ure, prob­a­bly from the Bronze Age, the idol may have been buried as a tal­is­man to help crops grow – although since its redis­cov­ery it has been rumoured to bring bad luck. The bor­ough nowa­days has the excel­lent Valence House Muse­um and the idol is present­ly on indef­i­nite loan here.

Across the dual car­riage­way from Cas­tle Green, the area is dom­i­nat­ed by com­mer­cial estates and the rail sid­ings and depots of the Rip­ple Lane rail ter­mi­nal, which is nowa­days a major trans­fer point for Euro­pean freight.

Rip­ple Lane is the point of arrival for the first direct train ser­vice from Chi­na to the UK; which became the world’s sec­ond longest rail­way freight route on its inau­gu­ra­tion in Jan­u­ary 2017.

South of the rail­way lie the recent res­i­den­tial devel­op­ments of Bark­ing River­side and an ‘urban com­mon’ called the Rip­ple nature reserve. A range of habi­tats has devel­oped on this for­mer indus­tri­al site now man­aged by the Lon­don Wildlife Trust, with orchids, grass snakes and har­vest mice.

Postcode areas: Barking IG11 and Dagenham RM9