A mosaic that tells the unique historical story of the industrial workers of Barking down the ages has been unveiled. 

It is located by the Gascoigne neighbourhood redevelopment on a wall in Dock Road, next Barking and Dagenham canoe club.

The site was chosen close to the old Abbey Works jute factory on the River Roding, which put Barking on the industrial map in the 19th century.

Its design was a collaboration by Barking and Dagenham Council, with schools including Gascoigne Primary and the Bulgarian School, to be part of the Barking Heritage arts trail.

“It’s great to see the contributions from children to the mosaic take its place here,” council leader Darren Rodwell said.

“We’ve always been a multicultural town, with Scottish and Irish women depicted in the mosaic who spun jute in the factory that was just round the corner from here, who then went off to campaign for women’s right to vote.

“It also shows the Asian workers at a rubber factory and people who came to work at the Ford Dagenham factory.

“Art and culture bring communities together and we are stronger because of our diversity which puts the ‘Great’ in Great Britain.”  

The Gascoigne Workers’ heritage mosaic is said to represent the threads that have shaped the town’s identity over the centuries.

It was created by Mosaic Art, drawing on the lives of people in past centuries, inspired by stories of women jute spinners and weavers during Victorian times and later Asian immigrants in the post-War industrial landscape. 

Mosaic Art’s director Tamara Froud said: “Public artwork should have a reason to be in any given location and the local community should have a connection to it and be part of its process. 

“This mosaic brings the town’s heritage to life through visual art. We created the mosaic border with schools in the area to show the cultures and heritage of new families on the Gascoigne redevelopment.”

The tiled border shows images of women workers taken from the archive collection at Valence House museum. 

Archive images are also incorporated in the mosaic, like the woman at the weaving machine, as well as narratives that help create a tableau of history and heritage that is unique to Barking.