Illustration of paint cans

Booming Barking: Industries in Barking

Historically it has been common planning practice to locate the most foul-smelling industries downwind of the capital city and for a hundred years or so they gathered in ever greater numbers around Barking Creek: bitumen and asphalt producers, paint and chemical works, fertiliser factories, gas product works and rubber works, iron foundries, breweries, soap factories and timber mills. Other unpleasant fumes came from factories processing animal bones and hides and guano (bird poo). Fishermens’ homes, small businesses and local shops were demolished to make way for these industries and, in the process, Barking Creek’s waters get ever more polluted by the decade and effectively gets cut off from the town. Out of sight, maybe, but certainly not out of mind - its acrid odour making certain of that.

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