Made in Dagenham Brook

Children’s art is inspired by Leyton’s little-known river, writes Poppy Flint

Tail for Dagenham Brook

Poppy Flint at the Dagenham Brook exhibition

The protector of Dagenham Brook is getting ready to emerge.

Myself and fellow artist Gemma Seddon have been running creative workshops with Waltham Forest residents over the summer, around Leyton Jubilee Park. We have been hearing tales about the area in the past, imagining what the little-known Dagenham Brook could look like in the future, and creating an imaginary creature called the ‘Brook Protector’.

Invented in the minds of many children, this creature will keep Leyton Jubilee Park and the brook an important habitat for wildlife and a pleasant, pollution-free place to visit.

Banners showing models and artwork by more than 100 young people are being exhibited on two bridges over the Dagenham Brook in Leyton Jubilee Park until Sunday 17th December, as part of the project A Tail for Dagenham Brook, a project funded by a Waltham Forest Council arts development grant.

The exhibition continues outside KuKooLaLa Café, displaying information about the local environment and recollections from long-time residents to give an insight into the history of the park and surrounding area.

Accompanying this are the first sightings of what the Brook Protector might really look like. Is it a kaleidoscopic tunnel which funnels rubbish away? Or does it rise tall above the nettles, reflecting the beauty of the natural landscape back at passers-by?

A Thames 21 action day took place last Saturday, when residents were given the opportunity to take part in improving their local environment and helping with the installation of A Tail for Dagenham Brook. Thanks to everyone who got involved.

For more information on A Tail for Dagenham Brook: