London's Parks and Green Spaces
Barking Park, in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, in east London, is a park covering just under 30 hectares to the east of Barking town centre. It lies north of Longbridge Road, and is near the boundary with Loxford. The park was the first council-controlled park in the Borough, and was established as a classic Victorian park in 1896. It was officially opened on 9 April 1898 by Councillor C. L. Beard JP, Chairman of Barking Town Urban District Council. The park's most significant feature is a 910 metre long boating lake on the north side of the park. Rowing boats were introduced first, and then on 1 April 1953, motor boats and a Mississippi style paddle steamer called Phoenix II made their debut. The paddle steamer continued to operate on the lake until 1967. Other facilities include tennis and basketball courts, two bowling greens (indoor and outdoor), a children's playground, a waterpark, football pitches and a flower garden. A lido was built in 1931 but this was closed permanently in 1988. The longstanding park cafe was demolished and a roller-skating park built on the site. The park contains a war memorial, renovated in 2000, for men of the Barking Town Urban District who fell in World War I and World War II. Every year on Remembrance Day (usually the 2nd Sunday in November) a commemorative ceremony is held at the war memorial preceded by music from a local marching band. In 2006 the council received "stage one" funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to develop a proposal for restoration and improvement of the park. Funding of over £3 million was approved, and works were completed between 2010 and 2012, including two lengthy new pathways, a children's play area and splash park.
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