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From Hitler to Gandhi: An arty history of Becontree

PUBLISHED: 15:34 22 October 2014 | UPDATED: 15:36 22 October 2014

Fine artist Biniam Ghide, from Dagenham, worked on the project.

Fine artist Biniam Ghide, from Dagenham, worked on the project.

Archant

The rich history of the Becontree estate has been depicted in a colourful new mural, set to be unveiled at Valence House on Saturday.

Artist Chad McCail designed the mural and spent his summer engaging with as many of Becontree’s residents as he could (Pic: Matt Benjamin)Artist Chad McCail designed the mural and spent his summer engaging with as many of Becontree’s residents as he could (Pic: Matt Benjamin)

Located on a visitor centre wall, the design charts the estate’s heritage through a winding street, beginning with the first cottages built for the government’s “Homes fit for Heroes” scheme for returning First World War soldiers.

Continuing through almost a century of change, Mahatma Ghandi’s 1931 trip to Kingsley Hall and a seldom-known visit of the Hitler Youth in 1938 are also featured, along with the Blitz, Dagenham carnivals and strikes of the ‘70s.

Entering the 21st Century, the mural paints a picture of the borough’s diverse community uniting to oust the British National Party in 2010, before finishing with children playing together in one of the estate’s open spaces.

Members of the public can meet Lanarkshire-based artist and mural designer Chad McCail at an afternoon of family-friendly activities and free refreshments on Saturday, between 2 and 5pm.

He said: “I hope the people of Dagenham will love the mural as much as I have loved working on it.”

MA history student and volunteer painter Matt, 21, wrote his undergraduate thesis on Becontree’s “Homes for Heroes”, assisted Chad and admitted his “immense pride” at his involvement.

“Watching it grow over the last few months has been so rewarding,” he said.

“It’s great to see the art community flourishing in my home town thanks to the hard work of Creative Barking and Dagenham.”

Supported by the council, Creative Barking and Dagenham and Valence House, the project is a collaboration between Historypin, the Barbican and Create London.

Read more:

Volunteers help clean up Becontree
Ushakov medal awarded to Dagenham seaman for wartime missions in Arctic


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