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Parsloes Park

Articles > Barking & Dagenham > What's beneath our feet?

Parsloes Park, Barking TQ478848

Notes compiled by Gerald Lucy on Essex Field Club Website

In the early 1920s a small gravel pit existed on farmland north of the railway and east of Gale Street, just a short distance from Gale Street Farm which was on the south side of the line. The farm was demolished in 1926 for the building of Gale Street Halt (now Becontree Station) and the gravel pit was expanded to provide aggregate for the vast Becontree housing estate. During the pit’s working life it produced numerous Palaeolithic flint tools including 26 hand-axes, many of which are now in the British Museum.

This area is situated on the Taplow/Mucking terrace of the Thames and the gravel was laid down about 200,000 years ago (Marine Isotope Stages 8-6). Such a large number of hand¬axes in one spot indicates that this may have been the site of a camp used by Neanderthal hunters for butchering animals on the banks of the Thames.

The pit is now a large lake within Parsloes Park, a public park owned by the borough council.

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