Barking and District Historical Society

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Pictures > Barking > Barking A-D > Boundary Markers

When the new parish of Barking was formed in 1888 it was decided to identify the boundaries. Firstly, according to Frogley, a "Beating the Bounds" ceremony  took place. This ancient custom, which had not been carried out in Barking for many years, involved perambulating the boundary and whipping a band of boys who had been procured for this weird practice. Apparently "the party including the boys - enjoyed  the outing". This ceremony still takes place in some more rural and primitive parts of the country. However the boys, normally members of the church choir, whip the boundary posts with long willow canes. Secondly two years later, in March 1890 boundary  posts were erected at a cost of nearly £90 - more especially to define the division of Barking from East Ham. Frogley informs us that identifying the boundaries proved beneficial to Barking. Land at Beckton, previously marshes which had become the  site of many valuable industries, including part of Beckton Gas Works, and which had been claimed by neighbouring parishes was proved to belong to Barking.

Several different type of boundary marker have survived in Barking and Dagenham. A few white limestone post, erected in 1641, mark the ancient boundary of Hainault Forest. Several cast iron Victorian Coal Duty posts survive. Probably the most common surviving boundary markers are the low pyramid topped cast iron parish posts, mainly dating from 1890.

The markers were usually placed to show where the boundary changed direction. Many of the stones and posts shown on earlier editions of large scale Ordnance Survey maps have disappeared. The following pages feature some of the surviving markers.

A good indication of where the modern borough boundary runs in urban roads is where the refuse wheelie bins etc change. This is clearly displayed in Crow Lane.

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