Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|OS Grid Reference:|
|Borough:||Barking & Dagenham|
|Ceremonial County:||Greater London|
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The manor of Barking was the site of Barking Abbey, a nunnery founded by Eorcenwald, bishop of London. William the Conquerer 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 Tudor times (March 1950). 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. 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.
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.
Places of interest
- The ruins of the Barking Abbey , first founded in 666 by Erkenwald, Bishop of London, destroyed by the Danes and reconstructed about a hundred years later in 970 by King Edgar.
- The Norman church of St Margaret. Here Captain James Cook married Elizabeth Batt of Shadwell in 1762
- Edgar J. March, Sailing Trawlers, 1950
- Fishing News supplement on Short Blue Fleet, ca. 1964
- Census data
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