Councillor Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council was joined by fellow fans of the east London borough to pose for a tongue in cheek picture in the grounds of Barking Abbey. 

The picture – loosely based on the Downtown Abbey film poster – is part of a drive to promote the borough’s history and burgeoning reputation as London’s latest creative hotspot. 

Cllr Darren Rodwell said: “Never mind about Downton Abbey, we’ve got Barking Abbey!  

“In Barking and Dagenham we’ve got way more to offer, with historic gems such as the Abbey, a thriving artist community, fabulous film locations and an aspirational, egalitarian outlook!”  

Peter Murray, board member at Be First, Barking and Dagenham Council’s pioneering regeneration company, said: “Barking and Dagenham has a rich, proud past and a hugely exciting future.  

“Few other London boroughs have helped shape the capital and again we’re leading the way on the capital’s eastward’s growth too.” 

As well as delivering thousands of affordable homes, Be First is preserving the borough’s history with its £1.8million heritage project funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund.  

It will include a new landscaped entrance to the Abbey ruins from East Street, Barking around the Curfew Tower and refurbishing the historic buildings and shop fronts in the Barking Conservation Area. 

David Harley, Head of Regeneration at Be First, said: “At Be First we’re keen to preserve and celebrate the borough’s history alongside delivering new developments. The Abbey grounds are not only precious to Barking and Dagenham, they are precious to London.”