Barking was an important fishing port before the
coming of the railways. Until the mid-16th century,
development was centred on Barking Abbey, which was
founded in the 7th century. The ruins of the
abbey survive as a scheduled ancient monument.
Part of this complex, the 15th century Curfew Tower,
still stands at the entrance to St Margaret's
The tower has long been considered a landmark in
the town and featured as a heraldic device in the
arms of the former Urban District Council.
The contract carried out by RWA using heritage
lottery funding, included renewal of the roof
coverings in sandcast lead, replacement of oak beams
in the floor and roof structure, and the restoration of
limited areas of eroded stonework.