Thames Tributary Beam -Dagenham East

Thames Tributary Beam
The Beam flows southeast towards the Thames

The Wantz Stream flows south towards the Beam River
TQ 49994 84465

The old original village of Dagenham is hidden away here somewhere

Post to the west Dagenham Heathway
Post to the east Bretons
Post to the south Dagenham

Ballards Lane
The Leys. This was once the fields of the manor of East Hall.

The river provides the dividing line between Barking and Havering –creating an area now known as the Dagenham corridor which consists largely of grassland and lakes from gravel diggings. Its earlier name was in fact ‘Le Markediche’ that is 'boundary ditch' The current name of the river comes from the ‘Beam Bridge’ a piece of wood which was used to cross it. A cascade has been placed in the river north of Rainham Road

Beam Valley Path
North of Rainham Road the path follows the line of the Romford Canal

Canberra Road
Remains of the Romford Canal east of the street

Charles Road
John Perry Primary School. Built 1952 with a nursery school built in 2003-4 by Deborah Saunt & David Hills. It is of dark engineering brick with translucent cladding.Capt John Perry was the engineer responsible for repairing the Dagenham Breach in 1715,

Church Lane
Cottages were demolished to form a new village green.
Minor Hall. This was the National School built in 1835. It is simple, with one central arch window and was built as the result of public action with a government grant of £60 and part of the glebe given by Mr. Fanshawe, who opened it. A Teachers College was later constructed adjacent.

Crown Street,
An extension of Ripple Street and Church Elm, and was once called Dagenham Street. It was named for the Rose and Crown pub. Which closed when the railway hotel was built in 1887.
St.Peter and St.Paul. Dagenham had a chaplain from 1205 when it was owned by Barking Abbey and the church probably dates from then. What stands now is mostly 18th but using old materials. Floods came up to it in 1707. It has an early 13th chancel and a 15th chapel. In December 1800 the tower had collapsed on to the nave and was rebuilt by William Mason in 1805. The spire was removed in 1921. Inside is a gallery with a benefactor’s board. The earliest monument is to Sir Thomas Urswick 1479 Chief Baron of the Exchequer and Recorder of London, a clever unscrupulous lawyer.
Churchyard. This is managed as a wildlife centre but has coffin-shaped tombs in the Essex manner. There are five ash trees between the northern wall of the church and Crown Street while the burial grounds lie to the south where there are a number of lime trees.
Vicarage. Built in the 17th and the front rebuilt in 1665 – date is is on the porch. It is timber-framed and rendered. It stands behind high walls and mature trees. It is in private ownership and listed Grade II.
War Memorial. A stone cross on an octagonal shaft and plinth.
Green This open space which no precedent but was created in the late 1960s by the, Borough Engineer and Planning Officer.
Cross Keys Inn. This is an early 15th hall house originally with a jetty but now cased in brick in 1952.

The name is first recorded in 687 and means ‘the homestead of Dacca founded near the upper limits of navigation of the Beam, and one of the earliest Saxon settlements in Essex. There is not much left of Dagenham village but some is left round the Church. Other buildings were demolished in the 1960s to make space for new housing.

Rainham Road
This was once called Bull Street after the pub
Bull Tavern. The first mention "the Bull" was in 1726. It has since been rebuilt and is slightly south of the older site.
Ebenezer chapel. Yellow brick structure which was built in 1846. In 1850 it seceded from the Wesleyan connection in sympathy with the Wesleyan Reformers. The building was later used by a mission which gave rise to the Dagenham Free church
Old Dagenham Methodist church. People who remained in the old Wesleyan connection built a chapel in the 1850s. Demolished for road-widening in 1958 and a new building opened in 1962
Dagenham East Station. Opened 1st May 1885. Trains now run between Elm Park and Dagenham Heathway. It was originally built by the London Tilbury and Southend Railway and opened as ‘Dagenham’. In 1902 became part of the Whitechapel & Bow Railway (Metropolitan District Railway) extension eastwards but in 1905 the District Line service ended. It resumed in 1932 with electrification. In 1949 it was renamed ‘Dagenham East’. The station buildings are in typical 1930s style and remains of its Victorian origins.

Shafter Road
The Railway. Big pub opened in the 1890s

South Dagenham road
Dagenham Beam Bridge, first mentioned 1299. The Dagenham beam was originally a baulk of timber specially cut to span the river and in use as a footbridge. In the early 15th this was replaced with a stone bridge. The change of name of the river at this point was noted as early as 1300.
Romford Canal, at the road crossing with lights. There was a bit of a bridge here which was turned into a pill box in the 2nd World War.
Dagenham Pumping Station, Built as a substation of the South Essex Water Co. c. 1910. Italianate, Engine House and Boiler House, The chimney has been demolished. Converted to offices,

Wellington Drive
Leys Children’s Centre

Western Avenue
Old gravel workings in the flood plain of the Beam River. These were in use until the 1960s. When the gravel deposits were worked out the smaller pits were filled in, but the largest was left as a lake.
Lake, this is leased by the Becontree and District Anglers Association, and is fenced off. The banks are mainly steep, with trees, and there are several fishing platforms. There are many waterfowl, which include breeding great crested grebes, coots and mallards. Kingfishers breed here.
Triangle of land west the fishing lake and reaching Rainham Road South. This supports willow woodland.
Pond east of the lake, filled with rubble.

Becontree and District Anglers. Web site
Bull. Web site
Cross Keys. Web site
Day. London Underground
GLIAS. Newsletter
John Perry Primary School,  Web site
London Borough of Barking. Web site
Old Dagenham Methodist Church. Web site
Pevsner and Cherry. East London
St.Peter and St, Paul. Web site
Victoria History of Essex. Barking and Dagenham


Dominic said…
re. demolition of old buildings in Dagenham village in 1960s/70s- There were other plans, thankfully aborted to build ten tower blocks in the area now occupied by the low-rise, and admittedly grotty enough, Ibscott Close estate, at the same time.

The Old Vicarage (Crown Street) was used from about 1988 to about 2005 as offices by the wine importers & distributors Ferry Freighting Ltd, who built two separate extensions to the building during that period.

The War Memorial is very recent. 1990s/2000s

Dagenham (East) railway station - the old 1860s buildings (disused since 1961, when main line trains stopped calling there) remained in place until c. 1989, when they were demolished. The Jewsons building yard is now on much of the site.

Probably worth mentioning is one of the oldest surviving residential properties in Dagenham, and Grade 2 Listed, Stoneford Cottage, on the corner of Rainham Road South and Leys Avenue
Anonymous said…
I can remember the old cottages by the church with their weather boarding. Also the long row of Victorian houses down Exeter Road. One in particular sticks in my mind because it was painted red and mauve. Also Victorian houses down Vicarage Road. My friend and I used to go inside when they had been abandoned and ready for demolition. There was a row of old shops along Church Elm Lane, probably about where Hollidge Way is. A man named Ted and his brother had a sweet shop there. I think they moved to Harlow. Bells Bazaar was famous too.
Anonymous said…
My grandparents lived in the pumping station house at the beam and my father was born there . My grandfather looked after the steam pumping engine. When my grandfather died very young my grandmother and 5 children were thrown out of the tied cottage. My dad went to work at 14 to support the family. I have the brass plate from the steam pump and the sight glasses and the oil can my grandfather used.
My dad then worked for South Essex a Water for over 40 years.
My mums family lived in Liberty a Cottages which were on New aRoad and attended the tin shed church adjacent to the Anglers Retreat before all the houses were knocked down to expand Ford. My mother used to walk to the Thames across fields from New Road before Fird was built

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