Industries Old and New

Barking Creek and Creekmouth Today

Ariel view of the Thames and Roding rivers with the Barking Barrier (central), Beckton Sewage works (left), Sita Recycling (bottom.

Demolition

Even before Creekmouth village was earmarked for demolition in the 1950s, the surrounding area had witnessed significant development. New industries emerged alongside Barking Power Station, in the shadow of the giant pylons that now spread across Ripple Level. In 1952 James Bird wrote that the industries along River Road could be split into two types, with those on the west side primarily engaged in the production of ‘concrete building materials, asphalt, and zinc oxide’, while those to the east included the ‘manufacture of cork, synthetic rubber products, printing ink, and chemists patent products’. As Bird continues:

“The opposite sides of Creekmouth Road thus graphically stress the contrast between the large, sprawling riverside factory dominated by its raw material, while the roadside factory is typically compact, often completely masking its activities by a neat if sometimes precious facade.”

Companies such as Blumsom’s Timber Centre and Squibb Demolition, both located on the banks of the Roding, attest to this division. Founded in 1896, Blumsom’s opened their site on River Road in the 1950s. As the last remaining hardwood importer in London, Blumsom’s have worked on timber projects from 10 Downing Street to London 2012, and now lead the industry in reducing wood waste. Today, the unmistakable sight of the Blumsom’s steam train is one of the landmarks of the area.

Creekmouth School -Squibb Dem)

Squibb Group offices, formerly Creekmouth School

Squibb Demolition meanwhile can be found further along River Road, next to Creekmouth Open Space. Active since the post war years, Squibb’s moved to the area in 1999, taking over the building that once housed Creekmouth School. As well as demolition Squibb’s provide services in environmentally friendly brownfield development, a sign of the changing industries that have come to dominate the Creekmouth area.