New name for Barking’s Gascoigne estate under fire

Barking historian Tony Richards on the estate

Barking historian Tony Richards on the estate - Credit: Archant

The rebranding of the Gascoigne estate has raised concerns that its history will be lost as its buildings are demolished.

The Barking estate is undergoing a complete transformation as the site is flattened over the next decade to pave the way for new low-rise accommodation and green spaces.

But renaming the estate “Weavers Quarter” – without any consultation – has come under fire.

John Blake, 68, who chairs Barking Historical Society, said: “It seems very sad that they are taking the name away.

“It’s part of Barking’s history; they’re saying the new name is about the jute factory but it sounds a bit pretentious.

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“Personally I thought the name was adequate – if they wanted to call it something different then why not Gascoigne Quarter?”

Historian Tony Richards, of Wilmington Gardens, agrees.

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“What particularly gets up my nose is that they deliberately kept from us that they are going to change the name, without asking anybody first – I’m yet to find anybody who was consulted on it.

“There are 400 years of history in the Gascoigne name – versus 25 years of the jute factory.”

A staggering 81 per cent of readers who took part in the Post’s poll were also against the name change.

The name Gascoigne derives from Sir Crisp Gascoyne, the brewer and lord mayor of London, who settled in Barking with his family and whose family’s connection with the borough is remembered through Gascoigne Primary School and several other institutions around the borough.

The new name refers to Barking jute works, which employed 465 women and 156 men in the late nineteenth century.

But Nolan Akal, who lives on the estate, thinks a rebranding is important.

“The name should change,” the 49-year-old said.

“I’ve been in these flats for 12 to 14 years. If you say to someone that you live on Gascoigne they belittle the name.

“It will be good for us to have a new name to give off a whole new image.”

A spokeswoman for the council said: “This is a key regeneration site and is undergoing a huge physical transformation. As a result it felt right that with the exciting new plans, a new name was needed, which will give both the existing community and new residents an opportunity to develop a joint sense of belonging.”

She added that Gascoigne Road will retain its name “ensuring the history of the Gascoigne family is not forgotten”.

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