The abridged history of Barking

I went on a cycle round round historic Barking on Wednesday to discover that Elizabeth Fry the prison reformer is burried next to the Sikh Temple (the Quakers sold it to the Sikh’s in 1971); and came across the pilgramage holy rood stone in the surviving curfew tower from Barking Abbey (recently renovated by a team from Danbury in Essex); or the many sites where Barking was bombed such as Blake’s Corner where Boots now stands. Indeed there was a veteran cyclist, who’d lived in Barking in the war, and had survived a V1 bomb (‘Doodlebug’) just 250 yards from him. Records show that 37 V1s and 21 V2s hit the borough.

All I had to offer as anedecotal input was, in mentioning there used to be a R White’s lemonade factory in the centre, that I once met the son of the guy who performed the famous R White’s TV commercial (note for the technically minded: Ross MacManus – father of Elvis Costello – who sang the “Secret Lemonade Drinker” song – & it was television presenter Bob Holness that composed the tune). But then again I’ve also met by chance the daughter of the guy who did the English dubbed voice for the character of Monkey in the cult TV series of that name. Funny the things who come across without trying too hard.