Barking is a suburban town in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, England, 8.8 miles (14.2 km) east of Charing Cross. Historically an ancient parish in Essex, its economic history is characterised by a shift from fishing and farming to market gardening and industrial development south of the River Thames. The railway station opened in 1854 and has been served by the London Underground since 1908. As part of the suburban growth of London in the 20th century, Barking significantly expanded and increased in population, primarily due to the development of the London County Council estate at Becontree in the 1920s, and became a municipal borough in 1931, and part of Greater London in 1965. In addition to an extensive and fairly low-density residential area, the town centre forms a large retail and commercial district, currently a focus for regeneration. The former industrial lands to the south are being redeveloped as Barking Riverside.
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