Exhibition launches to celebrate 100 years of Becontree Estate

ruby chapman photo

An exhibition showcasing the Becontree Estate has opened across the neighbourhood. Pictured is one of photography student Ruby Chapman's pictures. - Credit: Ruby Chapman

An exhibition has opened across the Becontree Estate to mark its 100th anniversary.

Photos by youngsters from Barking and Dagenham College have popped up across the historic neighbourhood on shop windows, lampposts, a disused pub and electricity substation.

David Bennett, the college's programme leader in photography, said: "The exhibition showcases work of the community for the community.

"By displaying the work in shop windows, we aim to bring back community cohesion and business after a year in and out of Covid restrictions."

david bennett

David Bennett from Barking and Dagenham College outside the disused Ship and Anchor pub where some of the students' work can be found. - Credit: Jon King

Entitled Coated in Trails of Wisteria, the exhibition - running from June 21 to August 31 - sees work appear at 100 locations chosen to mark each of the years the estate has existed.

perry brackenbury

Perry Brackenbury, 18, looks at how the Becontree Estate has changed over the past 100 years in his work. - Credit: Jon King


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Perry Brackenbury, 18, used an old tenants' handbook as the inspiration for his work, which focuses on how a lot of front gardens have become parking spaces.

Strict rules on keeping gardens in a good condition as well as when washing had to be taken off the line formed part of Perry's discoveries.

perry brackenbury pic

Perry Brackenbury's work highlights how the motor car has come to dominate the estate's roads. - Credit: Perry Brackenbury

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"It's weird, a hundred years later we don't see them in good condition. It's all messy. Some are in a good condition, it depends. Times have changed. We're lacking green space,"  Perry said.

Ruby Chapman

Ruby Chapman, 23, drew inspiration from the vintage cars and old bangers she saw around the historic estate. - Credit: Jon King

Ruby Chapman was inspired by the vintage cars and old bangers she saw on the estate for her photos, which celebrate the area's links to Ford Motor Company.

Her colour photo of a Triumph Herald parked on a drive adds a splash of colour to a fence in Whalebone Lane South.

"I've really enjoyed learning about how much history there is on your doorstep," the 23-year-old said.

catherine rothschild

Catherine Rothschild, 25, photographed the lights around the estate at night for her work entitled Becontree Coloured Dots. - Credit: Jon King

Wasting electricity is the focus of Catherine Rothschild's work, entitled Becontree's Coloured Dots, which is being projected on a substation in Grafton Road.

becontree's coloured dots

Catherine took photos of lights at night to highlight how electricity can be wasted. - Credit: Catherine Rothschild

The 25-year-old described the work as "spooky" but with a hopeful meaning.

Jacob Schwar

To see Jacob Schwar's work, scan the QR code found on lampposts in Grafton Road. - Credit: Jon King

And fellow student Jacob Schwar, 21, harnessed the skills of worshippers from the estate who documented their experience in photos highlighting the role of church community work during the pandemic.

"The results are brilliant," Jacob said.

St Mary interior

Jacob Schwar enlisted the help of churchgoers at St Mary's Church and St Thomas' Church for his contribution to the exhibition. - Credit: Jacob Schwar

The exhibition is part of the Becontree Forever season of art and culture.

For more, visit becontreeforever.uk/about

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