Councillor Darren Rodwell and Be First's Caroline Harper at the Princess Alice memorial, Barking

Improvements have been made to a memorial of a Thames shipping disaster as part of drive to bring back to life one of east London’s hidden gems.

The works included cleaning a mural commemorating the sinking of the SS Princess Alice in River Road, Barking, and improving signage to a riverside greenspace along Barking Creek where it meets the Thames.

The SS Princess Alice disaster took place in 1878 near where The Thames meets Barking Creek.

Over 650 lives were lost when the boat collided with the collier Bywell Castle. It is the greatest loss of life of any British inland waterway shipping disaster.

Councillor Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, said: “We feel this part of Barking Creek is one of east London’s hidden gems.

“The views of The Thames along the riverside green are stunning and the SS Princess Alice memorial is little known.

“These works are about recognising an important part of London history and improving walking routes so people can enjoy a healthier lifestyle.”

The improvements are part of a wider programme to improve roads and pavements and street furniture refurbishment by Be First.

Caroline Harper, Chief Planner at Be First, said: “These works demonstrate Be First’s approach. We’re building on our proud past while investing in our future to make a better Barking and Dagenham.”