Thames Tributary Wantz Stream - Becontree Heath

Thames Tributary Wantz Stream
The Wantz continues, culverted, to flow south towards the Beam River

TQ 49526 86539

On the edge of the giant Becontree Estate where there were attempts by the local council to create a centre. There is now a giant new leisure centre and one pub at least remains open.  Open space was created in the 1930s along with Dagenham's little civic centre.  There are many tower blocks set in spacious surroundings.

Post to the north Crowlands
Post to the south Dagenham

Althorne Way
Dagenham Swimming Pool designed by the Borough Architects, S.Harris and M. Maybury in 1972. Closed but used as a BMX track for a while
Becontree Heath Leisure Centre opened 2011

Ashbrook Road
Named for Ashbrook House, 18th house which was once called ‘Sparks’.

Becontree Heath
The name is also recorded as ‘Bentry Heath’. Becontree is the name of one of the ancient hundreds of Essex, and its meeting place was on Becontree Heath, a name recorded in the 13th. Originally a tree would have stood on the heath to mark the place where the hundred meetings were held

Bull Lane
This is the remains of Bull Lane which was once a main road the length of which is now covered by Rainham Road.
Housing was mostly developed post-war by the local authority. There are parallel blocks of maisonettes plus individual houses at each end.

Central Park
The park was created in the 1930s at the same time as the Civic Centre. It was opened in 1932 and made up of land belonging to Eastbrook Farm. During the Second World War it was ploughed up for and an anti-invasion ditch was cut across the park.
The Wantz Stream flows south underground through it

Clap Lane
Old name for a lane which now runs through Central Park

Frizlands Lane
Named for an early medieval family and landholders.
William Bellamy School. In the 19th William Ford, a local farmer, was interested in education and in the 1870s the new School Board for Dagenham bought some of his land on Becontree Heath and built Becontree Heath School there in 1877. In the 1960's A new open school plan was designed and built as Becontree Heath Junior School. It was then renamed for Alderman William Bellamy, a former Chair of the Board of Governors.

Listowel Road
Group of old people's cottages around a green

Marston Avenue
Clay Cottages stood here until 1962. These had been Tudor farm labourers’ homes and other such cottages had already been demolished.

Rainham Road North
Was once called Spark Street and then Bull Lane. It links the old village with Dagenham East
Tannery – there was once an important tan yard here and the Wantz Stream in this area was called ‘Tanners Brook’.
70 Fire station. Listed Grade II. Built 1937 by Berry Webber. Brick, with five engine bays and a huge practice tower.
Frizlands Lane local authority recycling centre and tip

Stour Road
90 Council Offices

Tannery Close
Named for the tannery which stood in the area

The Broadway
Becontree Heath Methodist Church.

Uvedale Road
Blocks of LCC style flats. On the centre block is a Festival of Britain badge.

Wood Lane
Merry Fiddlers. Pub demolished in 1982. The pub dated back to the 1860s.
Civic Centre. The LCC did not build a centre for Becontree and as Dagenham Urban District Council was keen to promote its civic identity this was built in 1936 by E. Berry Webber with E. C. Lloyd, Borough Engineer. It has a monumental facade sited for maximum impact. On the portico are pillars carved with panels of Engineering, Local Government and Navigation by Aumonier. Originally there were illuminated blue tiled lily ponds in front. When the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham was set up it kept both of its civic buildings.
Office block 1963, designed by Berry Webber.
Bus depot
The Three Travellers locally listed pub
Ship and Anchor. Locally listed pub

Evans. Bygone Dagenham and Rainham
London Borough of Barking. Web site
Nature Conservation in Barking and  Dagenham
Victroria Coumty History of Esssex


Dominic said…
Hmm. I'm not sure that the Merry Fiddlers pub was demolished as early as 1982, but I don't have any evidence to hand, apart from my memory...

It WAS renamed, to much controversy, "The Hustlers", for a time in the first half of the 1980s - quite possibly in 1982, possibly later - but soon changed back to "The Merry Fiddlers". One source online says it was demolished in 1992. Which sounds more like it to me. Safeways supermarket (now Morrisons) was built on the site.

The Civic Centre IS still there on Wood Lane (junction of Rainham Road North) - and a rather attractive building it is too.

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