‘Half Barking’ is written by Elwin Cockett, the Archdeacon of West Ham.
For reasons going back to the Vikings and King Arthur, the River Lea has long been the boundary between London’s East End and what is now the greater part of East London but used to be in Essex – the area that Dickens labelled ‘London Over the Border’.
In Ecclesiastical terms, this area, East of the Lea and largely inside the M25, makes up the two Archdeaconries of West Ham and Barking. ‘My’ part – West Ham – is home to around a million people spread across the three London boroughs of Newham, Redbridge and Waltham Forest, and it is the place to be right now. It’s the home of the 2012 Olympics, West Ham United, Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Royal Stratford, the bottom half of Epping Forest, street markets galore, and the most culturally-diverse population in the UK.
There are over sixty Anglican churches in the West Ham Archdeaconry – churches of all traditions, many of them thriving and growing amidst the opportunities and challenges of urban life in the 21st century. With the Archdeaconries of Harlow and Barking, we are served and led by the Bishop of Barking (thus ‘half Barking’) as well as forming part of the Diocese of Chelmsford.
This blog is an attempt to reflect the life of the people of this area. Who knows how it will develop? We’ll see.