Case study: Dagenham

Dagenham forms part of London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. The area remained mostly undeveloped until 1921 when the London County Council began construction of the large Becontree estate. Significantly, in 1924 planning of the Ford Dagenham plant began. As a result the population of the area significantly increased during the 20th century, with the parish of Dagenham becoming an urban district in 1926 and a municipal borough in 1938. Notoriously known as Dagenham’s ‘heyday’ (Asthana, 2010), Ford Motors was significantly important for the culture and community of the area. The area was thriving in this industrial boom and at its peak in the 1950’s it employed more than 40,000. “Through seven decades, the Dagenham workers produced about 11 million vehicles and turned a corner of east London into a showpiece of British industrial culture” (Asthana, 2010).

But now, it is estimated to only employ a total of 4,000 workers (Zino, 2009) which has had a huge impact on the area culturally and economically. An expert in the transformation of the area Ian Vickers stated “the loss of manufacturing has hit hard and that was followed by the loss of some of  the borough’s focal points. The two working men’s clubs have both gone; the cinema closed; a vast number of pubs have closed or been demolished. Not many years ago the town had a number of long-established businesses and shops; these have also shut up, many replaced by fast food outlets, pawnbrokers and pound stores. The town has altered beyond recognition, both in its populace and its fabric. The borough in the 1991 census was 96% white British, in 2001 this had dropped to 81%. In a 2005 estimate, this was given as 73%, which extrapolated to 2010 is just around 65%. The white British have been replaced with a large influx of chiefly African and some Eastern European migrants. Most people who lived around the actual town centre in 1991 have ‘escaped’, as they see it, further out into Essex, Kent, Norfolk and Suffolk, and some even abroad.” (Asthana, 2010) He concluded by stating “there is much hardship here, too.”

Evidently, Dagenham has witnessed major cultural and demographic changes showing that the area is constantly evolving through time. To categorically define Dagenham would be impossible, but through discourse it is evident that the area is diverse in ethnicity and for a period of time it was the “heartland” of the British industrial industry.

Reference List
Asthana, A. (2010). Dagenham’s heyday: ‘It was all just one big happy family then’. Available at: (Accessed: 24 March 2015).

Zino, K. (2009). Milestones: Ford Dagenham Estate Celebrates 80 Years of Manufacturing. Available at: (Accessed: 24 March 2015).

Post by: Georgina Miles

Case study: Dagenham

Breakfast at Pellicci’s

When walking the streets of London one thing has become apparent to me, how filled coffee shops/cafes are. “After more than a decade of rapid growth, the UK branded coffee shop market is defying all previous expectations as coffee wins the hearts and wallets of many British consumers. There appears to be no end to the trend to café culture which began more than a decade ago, with coffee achieving a current growth rate 7 to 8 times that of the British economy” (UK coffee: market grows and to grow strongly, 2013). Large named brands such as Starbucks, Costa Coffee are seeing continuous growth but also good artisan independent institutions are thriving in this café culture boom. Andy Harrison, chief executive of Whitbread, believes “coffee shops have now filled a hole in British society that would previously have been met by pubs” (Thomas, N, 2014). So why are people gravitating to this space?

Café’s and coffee shops are notoriously perceived as being social venues where people can gather with friends and family, or even integrate by chance with a stranger with a warm smile and chat for hours. They are also places where people can go to relax and work independently and for some people they provide a familiar habitat where they feel safe. The idea of familiarity is supported by De Certeau  (Harvey, 1991, p. 214) that believed “symbolic orderings of space ad time give profounder continuity”. Furthermore, De Certeau (Harvey, 1991, p. 214) defined a basis for understanding the ferment of popular, localized street culture by saying that the “resurgence of “popular”” practices cannot be confined to the past but “exist at the heart of the contemporary economy”. He then continued to state that they “provide a framework for experience through which we learn who or what we are in society”. The video below is a short film made by Amar Patel that tells the story of one of London’s most cherished café’s called Pellicci, on Bethnal Green Rd. It’s a bustling banter-charged hub, an East End institution and, above all, a family affair.

As De Certeau believes and what the video shows is that certain social spaces that enable daily routines give people structure and provides people with experiences and interactions that shape us. In particular with the video, it is evident that Pellicci’s provides a space where varying cultures of the East London (In which we have discovered that there are many) can come together and form a multicultural community. A place where everyone is valued, everyone converses with each other and everyone feels safe.

Reference List
UK coffee: market grows and to grow strongly (2013) Available at: (Accessed: 13 March 2015). Thomas, N. (2014).

Why coffee shops are replacing pubs in Britain. URL: Accessed: 13 March 2015.

Harvey, D. (1991) The Condition of Postmodernity. United States: Wiley – Blackwell.

Post by: Georgina Miles

Breakfast at Pellicci’s

Has ‘Multicultural London English’ replaced ‘traditional Cockney’ as East London’s dialect?

There are plenty of examples of language being linked to social class in England. It may even be suggested that working class accents are subject to a certain stigma (not from others with the same accent) but from outsiders and this may include potential employers.

East London has strong historical roots as a working class area and its inhabitants have traditionally been known to speak ‘cockney’, a working class accent. The increasingly diasporic nature of East London seems to have contributed to a new dialect that replaces East London’s ‘traditional cockney’ accent.

Paul Kerswill points out that the new dialect that is forming is becoming separate and distinguishable from the more traditional and recognisable ‘cockney’ accent which has long been integral to East London culture. For example, ‘Multicultural London English’ speakers do not drop their ‘h’ when speaking (a hallmark of ‘Eastender cockney)’. Certain slang terms that have originated from Jamaica have also apparently become a part of a typical East Londoner’s vocabulary, for example, ‘bare’, ‘blood’, ‘yout’ and ‘mandem’.

While the physical changes to East London’s landscape are visible and plain to see, increased ethnic diversity  in the area has brought about certain linguistic changes which are contributing to East London’s evolving identity. (TED, 2011)

Posted by: Dianne Bonney


TED, (2011). TEDxEastEnd – Paul Kerswill – Who’s an Eastender now?.Available at: [Accessed 8 Mar. 2015].

Has ‘Multicultural London English’ replaced ‘traditional Cockney’ as East London’s dialect?

Multiculturalism |The positives and negatives

London is one of the worlds most multi-cultural cities. However, East London appears to be the main attraction for families of different ethnicities. Over the years the buildings and people within the area are forever changing as different cultures are inserted.

VLUU P1200  / Samsung P1200
Photo by: Margot Wilson (2010)

For example, in The Times, Carly Chynoweth (2013) wrote an article that included the changes of Jamme Masjid Mosque Brick Lane. She stated that;

 ‘It was built in 1741 as a Huguenot church, spent much of the 19th century as a Baptist chapel, became a synagogue in 1893 before eventually becoming a mosque in the last quarter of the 20th century’. 

Many religions have been worshipped in this one building and will continue to do so over the years. Brick lane is well known for its Asian culture which delivers some of the cities best curry houses. Bricklane and Spitalfields have street markets most days of the weeks that are popular with tourists, residents, students etc that sell second hand clothing, vintage items, hand made products that are from different cultures.

Old_Spitalfields_Market_Panorama,_London,_UK_-_DiliffPhoto by: David Illif (2014)

Although culture brings many positive things such as educational experiences, food, materials and so on, to many Londoners it has brought many negatives. Out of all the districts in the country, Newham has the highest ethnic minority population, but no particular ethnic group dominates. This causes negativity for many white british individuals who feel their culture and individuality is lost because they are no longer the majority. The different ethnic groups also creates a divide between the people as many of them keep themselves to themselves. As many languages are therefore incorporated into the area, there becomes a language barrier as many fail to learn the commonly accepted language.

Chynoweth, C. (2013) Getting to know multicultural London. Available at: [Accessed February 16, 2015]

Illif, D (2014) Available at:,_London,_UK_-_Diliff.jpg [Accessed: 16 February, 2015)

Wilson, M. (2010) Available at: [Accessed February 16, 2015]

Post by: Abi Groves


Multiculturalism |The positives and negatives