Barking and Dagenham is still Essex, say voters in Post poll

Essex County Shield

Essex County Shield - Credit: Archant

You may be paying taxes to the London Mayor’s office, but Barking and Dagenham is decidedly still in Essex... according to our readers.

In a poll on our website, 61 per cent of voters said they felt the borough was a part of the Essex county, whereas only 39 per cent of residents considered themselves to be Londoners.

Another poll we posted on community website streetlife, showed similar results - with 57 per cent declaring themselves Essex residents, while 43 per cent insisted they were from London.

It has been almost 50 years since the western section of Essex was sliced off to become Greater London, but people are still tied to the area’s Essex roots.

John Debenham, who co-authored London’s Metropolitan Essex, a book that examines the history of this section of the capital that was once encompassed within Essex’s boundaries, thinks being a London borough hasn’t had a cultural effect.

He said: “It is still Essex to me. I still think of my childhood as Essex.

“I know in Barking and Dagenham a lot of people, particularly those that are older, still consider it as Essex.

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“Obviously there has been a cultural effect with the growth and diversity of the borough but I don’t think there has been a drastic change.”

But he recognised there might be a generational difference in how people living here perceive their location, saying: “One of my children who lives in Manor Park says it is part of London.”

On Facebook people were less committed to calling themselves one or the other, saying both London and Essex, or calling it East London.

Stephanie Wallace wrote: “I switch between the two depending on who I am talking to.”

Mean while Jodie Wigmore wrote: “London, seeing as I pay my rent to the London borough of Barking and Dagenham.”