Billy Bragg explores family history in Barking

The ribbon cutting ceremony of a new walking and cycling bridge, that features a ‘portrait bench’ ar

The ribbon cutting ceremony of a new walking and cycling bridge, that features a portrait bench art work showcasing Billy Bragg, Ladies of the 1968 Ford Dagenham Machinist Strike and local solider Ian Fisher.Unvieling of Billy Bragg statue - Credit: Archant

The Bard of Barking has explored his family roots in the area to mark the centenary of his grandparents getting married and moving here from Essex.

Billy Bragg, the 60-year-old musician and political activist, has been going through the archives in Valence House to trace his family history and learn more about the place of his birth.

He said: “I have always felt very connected to Barking and Dagenham. My family still live here and my nephew still lives in the house we grew up in.”

Billy argues that change is a constant in the life of the borough.

He said: “We have always been that place where people come to change their lives and the people coming here now looking for a better life, are they really any different from my grandfather who came from north-east Essex to come and work at Beckton Gas Works?

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“That is the story of our borough and it goes on and on.”

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