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OS Grid Reference:Template:Gbmappingsmall
Borough:Barking & Dagenham
County:Greater London
Region:Greater London
Ceremonial County:Greater London
Traditional County:Essex
Post Office and Telephone
Post town:BARKING
Dialling Code:020
London Assembly:City & East London

Barking is a town in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, England. The town is situated on the A13 road and the River Roding near its junction with the River Thames in East London. Barking is 9.1 miles (14.6 km) east north-east of Charing Cross.



The manor of Barking was the site of Barking Abbey, a nunnery founded by Eorcenwald, bishop of London. William the conqueror took up residence in the Abbey until the completion of his castle in the Tower of London. At the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536, Barking Abbey was demolished: the parish church, St Margaret's stands upon its site, where some walling and foundations are all that otherwise remains.

Barking was a fishing village attached to the Abbey but independent at least from the Tudor period. Fisher Street was named after the fishing community there. From about 1775 welled and dry smacks were used, mostly as cod boats. Fishermen sailed as far as Iceland in the summer. They served Billingsgate Fish Market in London, and moored up at home in Barking Pool.

Sam Hewitt, born around 1802, ran the Short Blue Fleet (England's biggest fishing fleet) based in Barking, and using smacks out of Barking and east coast ports. This fleet used gaff ketches which stayed out at sea for months, using ice for preservation of fish. This ice was produced by flooding Essex fields in winter.
Missing image
Arms of the former Barking Borough Council
At first the fast fifty-foot gaff cutters with great booms projecting beyond the sterns were employed to race the fish to port to get the best prices. In the 1870s steamers replaced the cutters. However the early steam boilers were unreliable, and a bad explosion in 1900 ended the history of this fleet.

Fleeting involved fish being ferried from fishing smacks to steamer-carriers by little wooden ferry-boats. The rowers had to stand as the boats were piled high with fish-boxes. Rowers refused to wear their bulky cork lifejackets because it slowed down their rowing. However they wore heavy seaboots, and many rowboats overturned and rowers were drowned. (Fishing News 1964).

The Short Blue Fleet supported other industries in Barking, such as victuallers and block and spar makers. However many such small companies collapsed or moved out around 1854 when the Thames became so polluted that many smack-owners moved to the east coast.

Barking was a suffragan bishopric in the diocese of St Albans.

Elizabeth Fry, the famous prison reformer, was buried in the Society of Friends (Quakers) Cemetery in Barking.

Former location of biggest power producing unit in Europe at Barking Reach along the river Thames.

The mouth of the Roding (Barking Creek) has great sewage works, receiving the Northern Outfall sewer from London. As of 1911 there were also chemical works and some shipping trade, particularly in timber and fish.

Notable for a large BNP following who came third in the 2005 general election in Barking, the BNP's highest achievement in 2005.

Places of interest

External link


  • Edgar J. March, Sailing Trawlers, 1950
  • Fishing News supplement on Short Blue Fleet, ca. 1964
  • Census data (

no:Barking, England


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