A programme of art, architecture and infrastructure to mark the centenary of the UK’s biggest council housing estate
Artist Leonor Antunes has designed Becontree commemorative plaques which are currently being installed on private houses and public buildings to celebrate significant residents and visitors to the estate throughout its history. The artist produced a series of 17 plaques that weave a dynamic pattern across the estate and in collaboration with design studio, A Practice for Everyday Life, conceived a Becontree specific font. The plaques are inspired by the geometric shapes found on old maps of the housing estate, while referencing its importance in terms of town planning and architecture through having an explicit connection to designs made by British architect Jane Drew (1911–1996).
Although little known, Jane was central to the team of architects that devised the modernist dream city of Chandigarh, India, built in the 1950–60s and is known for designing social housing outside of the UK, as well as the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London (1964). As with Leonor, Jane made a concerted effort to foreground female architects in a male-orientated industry.
Accompanying the plaques, Create London launched an extensive estate-wide nominations process, that sought out a diverse range of residents that have played an important role within their communities, inspirational figures in addition to the well-known characters that have all played their part in Becontree’s rich history.
Residents were given the opportunity to nominate their Becontree Hero and explain why they felt they deserved to be commemorated with a Becontree Plaque. Nominations closed Wednesday 7th April.
List of plaques:
- Sir Alf Ramsey, Chestnut Nursery
- Diversity, Sydney Russel School
- Zara McFarlane, Sydney Russel School
- Trevor & Doreen Lock, Wykeham Avenue
- Ford Dagenham Strikers, Brewers Fayre
- Abu Kawser, Madina Cash and Carry
- Paul Ince, Goodmayes Primary School
- Sir Hardy Amies, The White House
- Dudley Moore, Henry Green Primary School
- Stephanie Fontaine, All Saints Secondary School
- Beverley Gull, Becontree Heath Leisure Centre
- Pat & Jack Lock, Julia Engwell Clinic
- Barbara Ward, Valence House Visitor Centre
- The Padgett Family, Bethel Christian Centre
- Dagenham Girl Pipers, Osbourne Square Church
- Kingsley Hall, Livewell Centre
- Martin Peters, Raydons Road
Leonor Antunes has exhibited widely and represented Portugal at the Venice Art Biennale (2019). Engaging with the history of 20th century architecture, design, and art, Leonor reflects on the function of everyday objects and the potential of modernist forms to become sculptures. She investigates the coded values and flow of ideas embedded within objects and transforms them into reimagined abstract structures.
Co-commissioned by Create London and the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. Funded by LBBD’s Strategic Community Infrastructure Levy.