Time to get nostalgic: We want to hear from you about how Barking felt and smelt in the past

What did Barking smell like in days gone by? As part of our latest heritage project The Barking Stink, we are inviting people to get in touch and share their memories with us.

Thames Festival Trust are partnering with Valence House Museum to create a ‘scented history’ that will engage children and young people in the history of where they live. With local people’s help, we’ll use these shared memories to create exhibitions, films and teaching resources for schools and families to enjoy.

As Barking & Dagenham’s waterfront is being transformed, the memory of its industrial vibrancy is being lost, including the pungent smells that reputedly once emanated on and around the Barking Creek area. The Barking Stink project is currently exploring and recording this heritage and we need the help of those who lived/worked/spent time in the area!

We are looking to hear from anyone who has memories and stories to share with us. Whether you are remembering things that happened in Barking 5 months ago, or 50 years ago! Interested? Here’s how you can be part of The Barking Stink:

Barking Memories Cafe

Join us at our Barking Memories Café - scented reminiscence sessions with complimentary tea & cake!

You can come along to one of our free ‘Barking Memories Cafe’ sessions to look at photos, hear about local history in a slideshow talk from Valence House Museum’s Mark Watson and share your own memories over a cup of tea and cake with other local people.

- Tuesday 21 May, 1pm-3pm @ Valence House Museum, Dagenham

- Tuesday 28 May, 11am-1pm @ Thames View Library, Barking

Attendance is free, with refreshments provided. No need to book in advance, you can simply turn up on the day. Everyone is welcome, all ages. More event info here.

Do you run a community group or meet up for local people or a residential day centre in Barking that would like us to bring a reminiscence session to your members? Let us know and we can bring our project to you.

Get in touch online or on the phone

Who would we like to hear from

We are interested in hearing from a range of people with connections to Barking, including those who:

Used to work locally within one of Barking's industries or business including:

  • William Warne Rubber
  • Lawes Chemicals
  • Beckton Gasworks
  • Barking Power Station
  • Sewer works, timber yards, any other industries

Those who worked or lived along or on Barking's riverfront including:

  • Watermen or lightermen who collected cargo from Barking's riverside industries
  • Bovril or Sludge boat workers
  • Those who lived around Barking Town Quay, Fisher Street, Abbey Road or Creekmouth

Local business owners and workers including:

  • Pub landlords
  • Butchers
  • Bakers
  • Pharmacists
  • Fishmongers
  • Chicken Shop owners
  • Greengrocers
  • Police officers
  • Fire officers
  • Street maintenance workers

Or if you have just lived in the area for years and have stories to share, we want to hear from you!