Barking’s 500 year old Curfew Tower is set to get a makeover, if plans by Be First, the borough’s regeneration organisation, get the go ahead in July.
The plan is to declutter the approach to the tower and radically improve the landscaping to make this historic gem more visible and a much more attractive place to sit, relax and visit.
A bronze model of the Saxon Abbey, to which the Curfew Tower was the principal gateway, will also be introduced to explain the historic importance of the site which includes the Abbey Ruins, Curfew Tower, and St Margaret’s Parish Church.
Colin Bannon, Be First’s Heritage Townscape Manager, explains: “In the past curfews have been used to shut people away, but with this project we want to do the opposite. We want to restore the Tower as the centrepiece of this historically important site and create a dramatic approach to it which will draw people in and encourage them to relax, and to learn about the history at the same time.”
The project includes reuse of the existing materials on site such as the Yorkstone flags and granite sets, and works to trim and maintain most of the existing trees, and has funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Be First also hopes that it will help to revitalise the quieter end of East street by enticing shoppers, local residents and visitors to explore the area and understand Barking’s rich history.
“We’re keen to hear what local people think,” adds Bannon, “and we have published the plans on our website.”