Barking and District Historical Society

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Pictures > Becontree


The following photographs are included in an album labelled "Becontree 1" and probably date to the mid-1920s. Four are dated 17th November 1925. They show gravel excavation, presumably during the dredging of Mayesbrook Park Lake and possibly the railway line near Becontree Station. Houses under construction as well as newly constructed dwellings and shops are also depicted. The extracted gravel was probably used during the building of the huge Becontree Estate.

Several photographs appear to show the dredging of the large lake at the southern end of Mayesbrook Park. Children may be seen playing and swimming in the lake. The park was opened in 1934. Becontree Station was opened as Gale Street Halt in 1926 by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway. The gravels are part of the Taplow Gravel Formation and were laid down by the river Thames between 245,000 and 120,000 years ago. The Ilford Silt Member, which is famous for fossil mammoth, rhinoceros and other large Pleistocene mammal remains, is about 210,000 years old and was deposited during an interglacial period sandwiched in the Taplow Gravel Formation. Images show railway lines, steam trains and dredgers.

The Becontree housing estate was built by the London County Council between 1921 and 1935 in Barking, Dagenham and Ilford. Eventually about 100,000 people occupied 26,000 homes. Images show houses being built and children playing in empty roads. Some of the buildings under construction are titled "Forsto Houses"; "Frantzen House" and "Wooden Houses". Recently completed houses and shopping parades were also captured by the photographer’s lens.

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