Last week we went to meet with some of the staff at Valence House Museum and found out some fascinating facts about the history of the Mayesbrook neighbourhood, specifically the DIY Streets project area between Porter’s Avenue, Lodge Avenue, Rugby Road and Gale Street. Before the Becontree estate was built in the 1920’s Porter’s Lodge farm was on this land so it seemed quite appropriate to name the blog after the farm to describe this part of Mayesbrook neighbourhood. At Valence House they have a wonderful collection of photographs of how Porter’s Avenue looked in 1947, it looks very different now so do go and have a look if you can.

Did you know that there used to be Flamingo’s in Parsloes Park? Do you know where Matchstick Island is or where you might find a sunken Italian garden? Where are you going if you go ‘Down the Dip’ and who played in the Roundhouse in the 1970’s?

A photograph capturing the shops on Lodge Avenue from the 1930’s

If you want to share your photo’s or memories of Becontree then please do keep checking this blog, or send a message with your interest! We’ll be organising a local history session in the New Year as part of the street redesign project and looking at how we can incorporate the area’s history into its future. Do get involved as we’d be really pleased to see you there. You can also get involved by sharing your stories and photos here on History Pin and add your knowledge to the local area.


18 thoughts on “Have you ever seen a flamingo in Parsloes Park?

  1. Yes i have seen flamingos in parsloes park
    matchstick island is in mayesbrook park it was said the lake was formed after a fire at what was a matchstick factory at least that was the story i was told many years ago when we used to bunk in matchy during school lunch hour from bifrons school that was in the days when frogs covered the road once a year when they migrated from matchy
    italiean garden was also in mayesbrook park but long gone

  2. Do you have any photos? We would love to see them if so. We’d also be really keen to hear more stories about growing up in the area. Are you able to come to the launch on Saturday, hope so. Many thanks and thanks for posting your comments! Keep them coming.

  3. Yep, I remember the flamingos in Parsloes from when I was a kid – late 70s/early 80s. And I do know where Matchstick Island is too!

    • Amazing! Great to hear that. Do you have any photographs? What do you think kids today would think about the Park, what could improve it for everyone?

  4. Only just seen your comments in respect of Parsloes. What a great place to grow up in as a child. I’m from Gale Street and lived just up the road from the dip. Used to sit on the counter at Nortons the grocers whilst my Mum done her shopping and remember the old white farm house with a thatched roof by the gates of the park and the day it burnt down. The Ack Ack guns during the war that were situated on the common by the side of the Becmain football club and the old pavilion on the same land. The concerts that were provided by the council, the putting green, the paddling pool and swings and the corn fields that covered the area from Parsloes Avenue to Ivyhouse Road and beyond. Does any one remember the tack rooms on the common where I’m told that buggy races were held in the early 20’s or 30’s.As a kid my sister and I spent many a day laying in the corn fields chewing the ears of corn. The iron railings surrounding the park were taken down in the early 40’s for the war effort and went with every ones pots and pans. Great place to be wonderful people all round during the war years and after. On the old maps there is a reference to Gibralter at the junction of Gale Street and Porters Avenue does anyone know what this refers to.

  5. In the 1960s and 1970s when I grew up, Mayesbrook Park was magnificent! The Italian Gardens were exotic and provided wonderful shade in the summer and hours of fun tadpoling with fishing nets and jam jars. Such shortsightedness to have filled the gardens in. Maybe some archeologist will unearth it someday?

    A shame too that the WWII bomb crater near the “swings” was filled in too. The grassed depression was not dangerous and provided hours of simple fun for children rolling into the crater. It would have been a lasting historical reminder of how Barking and Dagenham were pumelled during the war.

  6. I used to live on Spurling Road and regularly visited the flamingos at the park, I loved them.Them were the days of park rangers, ice cream kiosks and double swings! No photos tho 😵

  7. I lived in Ivyhouse road as a child from 1963 to 1972 I can confirm that there were flamingos in the lake in Parsloes park they were put there by the council and had their wings clipped in order that they would not fly away i also remember that they did not stay pink for long due to their diets they turned white and many of them perished due to the climate they also failed to reproduce much to my disappointment as at the time i was a keen collector of birds eggs like a lot of kids, looking back now it was so cruel. i also remember the paddling pool the american swings and sandpit in the playground the ice cream man on a tricycle in the summer a van used to show films to the kids a zoo used to also come to the park we had punch and judy or a pantomime or magic show every friday just writing this brings back so many great memories of my childhood i feel so very sorry for kids now ok they got nice clothes and phones and all that computer stuff which is really good but wheres the freedom most of us kids used to run around with our arses and toes hanging out of our clothes never even watched telly cos it was rubbish we used to play football marbles conkers make go carts go fishing bird egging i dont think i had my first can of coke till i was about 10 the only takeaway was georges chippy down the dip although we did used to rob maynards sweet shop i remember jubblys lucky dips sweet tobacco i remamber when tongue and groove was the height of good taste along with brass ornaments and prints of monalisa i remember my uncle who was a bank robber coming round in a new triumph spitfire that was fitted with a radio that also played 45 singles which you slid in like a cd

  8. I am so glad I googled this. I remember when I was little girl in the early 80’s, seeing pink flamingos at the park. I asked my dad he said no. I asked my mum too. Only last week in fact! She said no too. Then I went to visit her today in Becontree and saw a shop with the shutters down and pink flamingos on them. I asked my mum to google it and found this 🙂 I can confirm that I saw flamingos there in the early 80’s. FACT!

  9. I remember the Flamingos in Parsloes park, some one let their dog in there and it killed the last two. so sad. then someone put broken glass in the sand pit, so they shut that. The Parkie was an old lady who would sling you out for going up the down part of the slide, and you left when you were told, I was a good girl, never got slung out. I took my children there with cossie and picnic’s.. it was a day out
    my son went there a few years ago, he was so sad how it had changed…sigh 😦

  10. Grew up living right between the great parks Mayesbrook and Parsloes! Great memories especially in the Summer hols

  11. I remember going to the paddling pool in Parsloes with my nan in the 70s and, until visiting this site, I had forgotten about the flamingos. I loved the paddling pool. I went to school near Parsloes and had mates all around there. Matchstick island at Mayesbrook…The Italian garden had gone from Mayesbrook by my childhood, but I remember playing in the remnants on a sunday while my dad ran the line for the White Hart Pub football team in Green Lane. There used to be low walls and sunken areas all over the Matchstick island end of Mayesbrook (between the sports stadium and the lakes). I played for Ivy Walk Rangers (named after Ivy Walk, bordering Parsloes) kids football team in the early 80s.

    And, Pink Floyd played the Round House in, I think, 1970. One of my teachers at St Joseph’s school was a bouncer on the night.

  12. I lived in Ilchester road till I got married in 1964, Mum and Dad lived there till mum passed away in 2005, Out all day with not a care in the world, I can remember the sunken garden in Mayesbrook park it had a seating area backing on too the where the back of the shops were at the roundhouse and a large round pond full of fish, Well tendered grass borders and flower beds, the last time I looked it was a complete wreck and the pond was full up with rubbish, such a shame.It used to be our yearly cross country run when I attended Erkenwald School from 1956-1960, we started at the tennis courts once round the two lakes and back again. There used to be a small river running along the edge which we called the ditch full up with sticklebacks, but I can’t remember seeing any flamingos on the lakes.There used to be prefab housing in Parsloes park we used to ride in at the Gale street end and see the odd person sitting on there doorsteps. Fishing for sticklebacks, scrumping, bows and arrows, air pistols, key on a piece of string on your door, the yearly fair over Matchstick Island, candyfloss and Rock & Roll, Lovely memories and lovely people, I just wish I could turn back the clock, hard times but I an glad I was there.

  13. Walking over the bridge that took you over the tube track I’d get butterflies. That’s how excited I’d get about going to see the Flamingos. Parsloes was a real adventure for me; from that amazing non health and safety adventure playground to the witches hat in the younger playground. The American swings and the Bat watching in Maysbrook…….
    Wonderful memories 🙂

  14. The flamingos were a dull brown colour as they were never fed the correct food (the bulk of their diet stale bread that was thrown for the ducks.)

    The Ian Dury & The Blockheads song, Plaistow Patricia*, features the line…

    “From the Mile End Road.
    To the Matchstick, Becontree.”

    *not to be listened to with the kids! – This song does contain most swear words in the first few lines.

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