While Metropolitan District Railway services began serving Barking in 1902, the station itself first opened for rail services way back in 1854. Today it remains a key interchange with both Underground, London Overground’s wonderfully named ‘GOBLIN’ route and National Rail C2c services all stopping here. It is also the Eastern Terminus for the Hammersmith and City Line.
Architecturally I didn’t find Barking Station inspiring. Unlike some of the others on this stretch of the line, it has been ‘extensively’ modernised and is now a drab, concrete affair. My friend remarked it was reminiscent of Euston Station, in terms of its ’60s/70s bleakness! However apparently it is Grade II listed, but I guess different strokes for different folks?
The Pub: The Spotted Dog, 15a Longbridge Road, IG11 8TN
You can’t miss The Spotted Dog from the station really, it’s just a minute or two down Longbridge Road. Before visiting it, I had been told on Twitter that it was the only good pub in the borough, so while that was a good omen for here, I’d say it was less so for the other stations I have to do in Barking and Dagenham!
From the outside, it looks like a small but friendly pub. My hopes were immediately raised by the fact it advertised it had real ales available. There was indeed, Bombardier and Greene King. Sadly the barman was having some trouble with the Bombardier on our visit, but these things happen – at least it is available! We sat in the pleasant, wood panelled room by the entrance closest to the station. There are various items of railway memorabilia on the wall.
There is also the ‘Dog House’ bar, which has timber beams, boothed areas and various garden machinery on the walls. This felt like an area people may sit if they were eating. There is a standard ‘pub grub’ menu that seemed pretty reasonably priced. In addition, there is the ‘Clink bar’, which I think is named because the door looks like one out of a prison. There are a few chairs and tables outside in a small seating area, backing onto the road. The pub also advertised regular jazz nights too. It was a sunny day on our visit so there were a number of people making the most of the early-spring sunshine.
Until last year, it was run by Davys of the wine bars fame. When their lease expired, there were fears the pub would shut altogether but thankfully it is still going strong. The pub itself dates back to 1870 so it is reassuring it has lived to fight another day.
The Spotted Dog is a decent pub. If you are after a drink in the Barking area, this is probably a good shout.