Thames Tributary Beam River - Dagenham Country Park

Thames Tributary Beam River
The Beam River flows south east towards the Thames. It is joined by the Wantz stream from the north west which itself has been joined by the Marley Stream from the north west.

TQ 50508 84123

Suburban Dagenham with some countryside and a never-happened canal

Post to the west Fords
Post to the north Dagenham East
Post to the south Dagenham Marshes

Beam River
The Beam River is the divide between Barking and Havering
The Wantz joins the Beam River just north of Beam Bridge. It is a small, gravelly stream.
Sluice. Below the confluence of the two rivers is a sluice. A pipe bridge above it marks the presumed line of the Romford Canal.

Beam Valley Country Park.
The Park lies at the southern end of the Dagenham Corridor, and crosses the Borough boundaries.
The channel of the Romford Canal runs parallel to the Beam on the Dagenham side and is flanked by a row of hawthorns.

Leys Avenue
Dagenham Hospital. In 1897 West Ham Corporation built a fever hospital on the site of Rookery Farm, an associated problem being caused by land owned by the Romford Canal Co. Rookery Farm was demolished and West Ham small pox hospital opened in 1899. In 1912 it was converted into a sanatorium - West Ham Sanatorium, later Dagenham Sanatorium - for adults with TB. It was closed as a sanatorium in 1965 and then became Dagenham Hospital, closing in 1996. The site is now an extension of the Beam Valley parkland open space
The Leys Children’s Centre
Theresa Greene Occupational centre. Now gone.
Lowen Road
Newtons Primary School.

New Road
Beam Bridge. Bridge over the river built originally by Tilbury Fort Turnpike Trust, which about 1810 built this stretch of road as part of the access for the military.
Coal post – a City of London coal duty marker should have stood here and is presumed moved during construction works.
Romford Canal - A lock was built at Beam Bridge and some parts of this were once still visible. This was the first of six locks which were planned.
Mill – A windmill is shown on the east bank of the Beam River in 1610 and a Beam River Mill are listed in directories until the 1880s.
Mill House Club.
Mardyke Estate – this is east of the Beam on some of the land of Mardyke Farm and there are many infilled gravel workings. It is now Orchard Village, having been transferred to Old Ford Housing Association in 2008. The name Orchard Village reflects the previous use of part of the estate as an orchard which supplied fruit to Wilkin & Sons. The former estate was the setting of the 2009 film Fish Tank by Andrea Arnold.

Oval Road North
Beam Primary School. Built in 1951 in brick and concrete with single-storey classroom blocks and a water tower. The playing field extends over what was the site of the proposed Romford Canal.

Romford Canal
A canal to Romford from the Thames was first proposed in 1809 and plans for a canal along the Beam valley were drawn up in 1824. In 1875 an act was passed to enable construction work to begin. Work was started on the lower Beam Valley section, including a bridge and a lock. Some of the canal was used for defence in the Second World War and subsequently infilled. Between Rainham and New Roads and channel is generally dry. About mid way is a military pill box. The canal bed above the lock became a school playing field in 1974.

South Street
Mardyke Community Centre

Beam School. Web site
GLIAS. Newsletter
London Borough of Barking. Web site
Lost Hospitals of London,. Web site
Pevsner and Cherry. East London
Victoria History of Essex. Barking and Dagenham


Dominic said…
Leys Avenue "Theresa Greene Occupational centre. Now gone."

Not sure it has gone, although I've not been down there for a while, so you could be right! (It's still visible on the fairly recent Google Streetview) - but it's no longer an Occupational centre, but Theresa Green Community Centre. Not sure when the change was made. Possibly the same time that Dagenham Hospital closed, or when Barking and Dagenham council had a policy of establishing "community centres" all across the borough (mid-1990s)
Dominic said…
Ballards Road Old Tuck Shop - now very small offices for an insurance co. Was still in use as a sweet shop in the late 1980s.

Dagenham Park Community School was formerly Dagenham Priory school (and had a second site on the opposite side of the park, in Rectory Road. That closed and was demolished..1990s/2000s. School renamed sometime during that period too)
bob flunder said…
The reference to the building of Dagenham Hospital necessitating the destruction of Rookery Farm I think is not so.
The actual Rookery Farm buildings complex was about a mile north west, fronting Rainham Road South.
It existed until about 1960 when Ballards Road was extended northwards from Leys Swimming Pool to Rainham Road South.
Unknown said…
The foundations of the mill could be seen when they cleared the land for the primary school, which I watched them build from the infants school playgrounds. I was one of the first pupils in the new school and remember the tuck shop well! I used to walk to school from Rookery Farm estate down Ballards Road.
Anonymous said…
With reference to beam bridge scool I attended in1947 when it was a wooden building .Not sure when it was orinally built.
Kati said…
The wooden building known as Beam
Bridge Primary School was bombed in WW2. I attended until 1948
when I went to Marley Secondary
School in School Road. The Tuck
Shop was on the corner of the road
and run by a Mrs Barret. We used
to walk from the school to Leys
Swimming Pool for our swimming
lessons and take our swimmung exams.
Lynn G said…
Dagenham hospital was already demolished by 1992, I’m not sure when but I moved here 2/11/1992 and it was already an overgrown wasteland where all the local children played

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