Church of England
In Newham the parishes are grouped together to form a deanery, which is part of the diocese of Chelmsford with the Bishop of Chelmsford. The Suffragan [deputy] Bishop of Barking takes responsibility for the churches in Newham and other London Boroughs east of the River Lea. The Archdeacon of West Ham has particular responsibility for church properties.
The Diocesan Vision Statement
‘Our passion is Jesus, proclaiming and living out God’s love for all people. We aspire to be a transforming presence in every community, open and welcoming to all, and serving all through faithful people, prayer and worship, visionary leadership and liberating gifts’
HISTORY IN NEWHAM
Newham has three ancient ‘mother’ historic churches, all dating back to the 12thC- All Saints E15, the original West Ham Parish Church, founded from Stratford Langthorne Abbey; St Mary Magdalene E6, the original East Ham Parish Church and St Mary the Virgin, Little Ilford E12. Virtually all the Anglican parishes and churches in Newham root back to these significant churches.
The Church of England covers the whole of Newham area through parishes with a church building at the centre. These buildings, with their distinctive names, towers, spires and surrounding graveyards, halls and vicarages are a distinctive part of the Newham story. Each has their own history recorded in minutes, baptismal rolls, magazines or publications. There are currently 26 parish churches covering Newham. Over the years a total of 48 churches and 18 missions have been built in the Borough.
Notes on these follow on the linked sections as we trace the family development from Stratford Langthorne Abbey through the three ancient mother churches of All Saints, Stratford; St Mary Magdalene, East Ham and St Mary the Virgin, Little Ilford enabling daughter congregations like St John, Stratford; St Mary, Plaistow; Emmanuel, Forest Gate and St Mark, Silvertown to create further generations of churches in Newham.
Hundreds of thousands of people have entered these churches for the regular services, the rites of passage- christenings, marriages and funerals, or special events. Many more have attended the Sunday Schools, uniformed organisations, clubs and meetings in the church halls. From them have sprung schools, almshouses and a multiplicity of community services and organisations.
Many churches began in homes or temporary iron buildings before the permanent churches were built. Growing population in the 19th and 20th centuries brought a wave of new parish churches and mission halls. During the 1939-45 War eight churches were destroyed- St Gabriel and St Faith, both in Canning Town: St Philip, Plaistow; St Paul,Stratford; St Saviour, Forest Gate; St Bartholomew, East Ham; St Michael, Beckton; St Cuthbert,Upton Park At least 13 more were badly damaged.
Since that war there has been frequent re-organisation of parishes and adaptation of churches to meet changing population and needs. Parishes are now often grouped and served by a team of clergy, now including many women. Church buildings have been adapted, redeveloped and often shared by the new churches or are becoming community centres.
Allied Anglican organisations in Newham include the Religious Communities- The Society of Divine Compassion becoming the Society of St Francis from 1953 in Plaistow; Sisters of Charity are known to have been at Ascension, Custom House and the Missionary Sisters of the Community of the Servants of Christ had a training house in Upton Park in the early 20thC. Church Primary Schools include St Luke’s E.16, St James E7and West Ham E15. The Church Army has had officers working in parish team, ran the Hartley Centre in East Ham and built houses in Plaistow.
[Notes on each church in Newham are set out in three sections under the three mother churches of All Saints, Stratford- largely covering the old West Ham County Borough including E15, E13 and some E16; St Mary Magdalene, East Ham covering much of the old East Ham County Borough including E6, E7 and some E16; St Mary the Virgin, Little Ilford covering Manor Park and E12.]
Those Churches still here are marked with: ■
Buildings now used by different non-Anglican churches are marked with: ◆
WEST HAM AREA
ALL SAINTS [WEST HAM PARISH CHURCH] Church Street, West Ham E15 ■
The first ‘mother’ church and one of the three ancient and historic churches in Newham. All Saints dates back to the 12C. Founded as a parish church by Stratford Langthorne Abbey it had a church and vicarage on the site from the 1180s
After the dissolution of the Abbey in 1538 All Saints was the only Anglican place of worship in the whole of West Ham until 1830 with a parish covering Stratford, Forest Gate, Plaistow and Canning Town. In 1723 West Ham Church School opened- the first in Newham.
A large ‘family’ of churches have sprung from All Saints. Dates, links and some details are given.
With industrialisation and a rapidly growing population in the 19C four significant daughter parish churches were established from All Saints:
1830 ST MARY Plaistow E13 ■
1834 ST JOHN Stratford E15 ■
1852 CHRIST CHURCH Stratford Marsh E15
1852 EMMANUEL Forest Gate E15 ■
Each of these churches added more buildings and divided up their own parishes as the population grew ‘By 1900 there were 17 parish churches and some 24 other churches within the West Ham Borough. 2 more parish churches and 4 others were added 1900-1910’ In a 1903 survey the Anglican congregations on a Sunday in the County Borough of West Ham were 17,600
From the mother church of ALL SAINTS itself came two churches and a collection of missions established in the local neighbourhood:-
ST THOMAS Rokeby Street, Stratford E15
A mission church of All Saints from 1878, a brick building replaced the iron one in 1889 and it became a parish in 1891. Badly damaged in the 1939-45 war it was closed in 1961
ST MATTHEW Dyson Road, Stratford E15 ■
The first mission was built in Vaughan Road in 1891 to serve the area between Romford Road and West Ham Park. A permanent church was built in 1896 and it became a parish in 1897. St Matthew had its own mission in Vicarage Lane E15 1900-1951.
ST MARY May Road Plaistow E13 ■
Established by All Saints in 1830. The church added a school in 1831 and became a separate parish in 1844. The church was rebuilt in 1894 during the ministry of Thomas Given-Wilson [1884-1914] who is remembered in the Given-Wilson Institute. A team of district nurses, two convalescent homes, a local children’s hospital and the provision of penny dinners followed. After the demolition of the large church around 1977 the site was redeveloped for housing and a much smaller church [pictured] opened in 1981.
St Mary, in turn, became a mother church. Twelve churches were built in the original St Mary parish between 1857 and 1903 and some of these added their own mission halls:
THE HOLY TRINITY Barking Road E13
A school was built in 1861 and used for worship before a permanent church was built in 1867 on the Hermit Road corner. The parish was created in 1868. Bombed in 1941, the church re-opened in 1942 but closed in 1948. Trinity Court is now built on the site and the old music hall song ‘at Trinity Church I met me doom’ was reputed to be connected!
ST ANDREW St Andrews Road/Barking Road E13 ■ ◆
Began in 1860 as a small mission in Whitwell Road [this became St Philip] The church and vicarage were built beside the old Sewer Bank in 1870 and became a parish in 1871. It was bombed in the 1939-45 war. The church closed in 1970 and the congregation moved to St Philip. The building and vicarage were then used initially by Newham Race Relations Council followed by In-contact Ministries, led by Patrick Sookdeo, who formed an independent church, keeping the St Andrew name, and adapted the interior of the building. This church closed in 2005 when the congregation crossed the road to merge with the Baptist church to become Memorial Community Church. The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God took over the site in 2006.
ST PHILIP & ST JAMES Whitwell Road Plaistow E13 ■
St Philip was initially a mission of St Mary from 1860. Under St Andrews from 1894 it was then called St Philip and St James Church It was linked for many years with the Society of Divine Compassion [SDC] in Balaam Street, an Anglican order led by Father Andrew which merged with the Society of St Francis in 1951. Severely bombed in the war, services continued in borrowed premises. A new church was opened in 1955.
ST MARTIN Boundary Road E13 ■
Dating back to 1894.The Newmartin Centre opened in the 1990s.
ST GABRIEL Wellington Street, Canning Town E16
Began in 1868, acquired a brick building in 1876 and became a parish in 1879. The building was badly war-damaged and demolished in 1955.
ST PETER Upton Lane Upton Cross E13
Began as a mission of St Mary in Pelly Road with the first services in a barn and then an iron church which was licensed in 1877. From 1894 it became a separate parish. St Peter was bombed in the second world war.
ST MATTHIAS Kimberley Road, Canning Town E16 ■ ◆
A mission in Garfield Road was opened by St Mary 1887 which then merged with St Cyprian in 1906 to become the parish with a new church of St Matthias built in Hermit Road in 1907. A new building within a Springboard housing association development opened in 1989.
ST CYPRIAN Beaconsfield Road E16 - Opened in 1896 and was merged with St. Matthias in1906
ST FAITH Clifton Road E16 - Built in 1891-1892 and destroyed in the 1939-1945 war.
ST KATHERINE Chapman Road E13 - Began as a mission church in the former St Mary’s school in 1891. A permanent church was erected in 1894 and demolished in 1965
ST THOMAS Northern Road E13 - Built in 1898 and demolished in 1950
ST CEDDS Newham Way, A13, Plaistow E13 - Started as a mission of St Andrews in 1903 and became a mission district in 1905. In 1936 it became a parish and a new church was built in 1939. The building was sold to the Seventh Day Adventists in 2006.
ST JOHN The Broadway Stratford E15 ■
The second significant daughter church of All Saints has stood on a prominent island site since 1834. It was first a chapel of ease to All Saints, then from 1844 a separate parish, becoming a mother church in its own right as the population grew. It nearly became the diocesan cathedral in 1908 but did provide Diocesan House for offices. War damaged, it was restored in 1951. The story is told in ‘On the Broadway’ The nearby Martyrs Memorial commemorating the 18 Protestants burnt at the stake in 1556 was erected in 1879 by the then vicar of St Johns.
From St John stemmed seven churches and two missions:
ST PAUL St Pauls Drive, Maryland Road Stratford E15 ■ - Became a parish in 1865 after initial work by London City Mission from 1850 who opened a building for a Sunday School in Queen Street in 1853. The site for a church was acquired in 1856, an iron church erected in 1859 followed by the permanent church in 1864 which was destroyed by a rocket in the second world war. A new building was opened in 1953.
ST MARK Windmill Lane E15 - Began in 1877 with services for factory girls in a shop in Leytonstone Road. A permanent building was provided in 1891 This was sold to the Methodist Church after the 1939-45 war.
ST JAMES 98 St James Road Stratford E15 ■
Began in an iron building in 1870 and became a parish in 1881 with a permanent building in 1882. St James had a mission hall in Chant Square E15 between 1872-1946. St James church was demolished in 1964 and the parish was merged with St Johns in 1966 with a congregation meeting in Durning Hall chapel from 1964. A dual-purpose building was opened in 1968.
THE HOLY TRINITY Oxford Road E15 - Active within 1888-1945 years and then closed after war-time bombing. It was a mission church connected with Trinity College, Oxford
ST STEPHEN Cedar Road E15 - Mission church from 1883-1943 with a brick building opened in 1917. It was bombed in the second world war and closed.
To the west St John took part in a much smaller extension in an area by the Lea heavily industrialised and now dominated by the Olympic Park area. Here work took place at:-
CHRIST CHURCH Stratford Marsh E15 - Linked with St Johns, schools were built first and then a church to serve Stratford Marsh area in 1852. Merged with St Johns parish in 1961.
ST AIDAN Ward Road E15 - A mission in Ward Road was started in 1882 and the church of St Aidan was built there in 1895-9. A new building was erected in 1921 and it was closed and demolished after bombing in 1944.
EMMANUEL Upton Lane/Romford Road, Forest Gate E7 ■
Emmanuel is to the east of St Johns.The parish originated in 1852 and, unusually, was composed of parts of the original West Ham and East Ham parishes. The congregation was split by a secession to the Free Church of England in Earlham Grove E7 around 1893
Eight new parishes and churches followed within the mother Emmanuel parish between 1880 and 1902 as the population expanded:
ST SAVIOUR Macdonald Road Forest Gate E7 ■
Starting in 1880 with an iron mission hall with a permanent church built and parish created in 1884. The church was severely damaged in the 1939-45 war and a new church building was opened in 1977.
ALL SAINTS Hampton Road/ Romford Road E7 ■
The district was in the original East Ham parish but linked with Emmanuel. Initially an iron building it became a permanent church and parish in1886.
ST MARK Lorne Road Forest Gate E7 ■
A mission of Emmanuel to serve the area between Romford Road and Wanstead Flats. Began in 1886 in a rented cow-shed in Tylney Road. A site was acquired in 1888 and a church building in Lorne Road was erected in three stages between 1893 and 1898. A new centre was built in 1986. Story told in ‘Moving On’ written for the centenary in 1986
ST EDMUND Halley Road E7 ■
Carved out of All Saints parish in 1895. Started in 1895 and became a parish in 1901 with its own church. A new church within a housing association site opened in 1987.
ST STEPHEN Green Street E7
The site was in a boundary area with St Mary, East Ham, again working with Emmanuel. Began with mission service in Crescent Road cottage in 1881, then erected a school-church and became a parish in 1887 with a large church built in 1894 seating 1150 [memorial church to Elizabeth Fry] One of the few local ‘high-church’ congregations St Stephen had six curates in its hey-day. Renovated in 1938 it was wrecked in 1940 by bombing, united with St Edmund in 1953 and the building was demolished in 1954 and the site sold. The name is remembered by St Stephens Road.
St Stephens had three missions leading to the churches St Alban, St Michael and St Cuthbert
ST ALBAN Wakefield Street East Ham E6 ■
Started in 1889 with an iron building in Boleyn Road and 1897 a small brick church was erected on corner of Wakefield Street and Friars Road. A church building, own parish and a vicar all came in 1903. The church was bombed in 1940 and repairs completed in 1949. United with the East Ham parish in 1967, the old building was demolished in 1968 and a new building opened in 1980. Now St Albans Christian Centre with community use.
ST MICHAEL Rutland Road E7 ■ ◆
Services in a home in 1895 preceded an iron church erected in 1898. Permanent, unusual building erected in 1912 after planning issues. Now Greek Orthodox Church
ST CUTHBERT Florence Road E7
Begun in 1902 it was bombed and not restored in the 1939/45 war. Council flats now cover the site.
EAST HAM AREA
ST MARY MAGDALENE High Street South, East Ham E6 ■
The second ‘mother’ church and one of the three ancient, historical churches in Newham dating from the early 12thC. St Mary was the only parish church in East Ham until1852. The building has known restoration in 1896, 1931 and 1965 and was also war-damaged and repaired in 1944. ‘Memories of St Mary’s’ celebrates the life of the church.
The largest churchyard in the UK surrounding St Mary is now a nature conservancy area bounded by Norman Road, High Street South and the A13.
A large ‘family’ of churches sprang from St Mary Magdalene. Dates, links and some details are given.
As docks and industry came to south East Ham, together with a rapidly increasing population, St Mary helped to establish seven parish churches, two other large churches and five mission halls in the East Ham Parish by 1903. They included:
ST MARK North Woolwich Road, Victoria Dock E16 ■ ◆
Initially in an iron building 1857 which was also used as a school. A permanent church was built in 1862 after an appeal in The Times following a cholera epidemic and a parish was created in 1864. By 1965 a tiny congregation was on an island site. It is now the home of the Brick Lane Musical Hall.
From St Mark sprang a series of churches:
ST JOHN Albert Road, North Woolwich E16 ■
A church was built in 1872 and a parish was created in 1877 A new church and community building came in 1968. The building is now shared with Roman Catholics and known as the Parish of North Woolwich with Silvertown-St John with St Mary and St Edward. Mass at 9.00 and Communion at 11.00 caters for the double congregation. The linked community centre continues to serve the neighbourhood.
ST LUKE Ruscoe Road, Canning Town E16 ■
First site and parish in Boyd Road, Victoria Docks E16 with a building in 1875. The 1901 census showed that St Luke’s parish with 39,450 people was, after Portsea, the most populous parish in England. Linked with Boyd Workmens Institute, re-opened as a youth centre in 1956 but closed in the 1970s. A new school and church centre in Ruscoe Road opened in 2000. The listed old St Luke’s building is now a community centre.
ST MATTHEW Ethel Road, Custom House E16
A small building was erected in 1860 at the expense of the chairman of the Dock Company. It was a mission of St Mark at first and then St Luke until 1920 when it became a separate parish. After 1939-45 war it was placed under Ascension but demolished by 1966.
ST BARNABAS Eastwood Road, West Silvertown E16
Established in 1882 it remained a mission church of St Mark until 1926. The church was badly damaged by the Silvertown munition explosion in 1917 and the congregation moved to a temporary building until a new church was opened in 1926. Date of closure not known. The first ever deaconess, Annie Cook, in the diocese came from here.
CHURCH OF THE ASCENSION Baxter Road, Custom House E16 ■
Started in 1887 and remained a mission of St Luke to 1905. Linked with Felsted School which provided a club room in 1892. The church was built in 1903 and became a parish in 1905. Shared in a Local Ecumenical Project and covenant with Baptist church in 1970s. Now has a linked community centre with recent fame through Ascension Eagles-a cheer-leading group-who moved on to the Excel in 2010.
In the E16 Dockland districts two buildings survive from three very different missions once connected with the Anglican church:
ST ALBANS AND THE ENGLISH MARTYRS MISSION Coopers Street E16 ■ ◆
Initially sponsored by Malvern College Oxford, becoming Dockland Settlement, then Mayflower Family Centre and now the Pentecostal River Church. The church itself was rebuilt in 1930 as ST GEORGE & ST HELENA as part of the Dockland Settlement.
LASCAR MISSION- one of three centres- with an Indian curate in Ford Park Road in 1890 serving seamen
MISSION TO SEAMEN Flying Angel, Victoria Dock Road E16 ■ ◆
HQ for all Mission to Seaman’s work, Accomodation for 150 seamen. Later used by students and now housing.
To the north of East Ham a further series of church buildings and parish creation within the original St Mary Magdalene parish took place to serve the rapid population expansion from 1890:
ST JOHN THE BAPTIST High Street North E6
Dated from 1864 with a church built in 1866 in the centre of a developing East Ham. It became the main focus of parochial activity. In 1902 it became the church hall to nearby St Bartholomew and was demolished in 1925. The site was used by the London Co-op and then as a car-park and is now under development. St Johns Road remains as historical marker.
ST MICHAEL AND ALL ANGELS Beckton Road E6
Opened as mission of St Mary in 1883, destroyed by fire in 1887 and then rebuilt. A new church in 1906 [funded largely by the Gas Light and Coke Co] was built behind the Ferndale pub. Bombed in 1941 and not rebuilt. The area then reverted to St Mary parish.
ST MARK Ferndale Street, Cyprus E6
Linked with St Michaels the building [provided by the Gas Light and Coke Co] was used for 62 years between 1890 and 1952 and then stood derelict until 1966
ST BARTHOLOMEW 292 Barking Road, East Ham E6 ■
Built in 1902 to replace St John. Gutted by in 1941 with ‘St Bartholomews in the ruins’ the local name for temporary wooden hut erected in 1944. It was restored in 1949 and 1953. Then rebuilt and redeveloped with sheltered housing [Springboard], doctor’s surgery and community facilities alongside the sanctuary and opened in 1983. Once linked with the nearby Hartley Centre. The adjacent listed Fellowship House is still linked.
ST PAUL 227 Burges Road East Ham E6 ■
A mission of St Mary, the original church was built in 1907 on land given by Colonel Burges and the parish created in 1924. A new church was erected alongside the original building in 1933
ST GEORGE AND ST ETHELBERT Burford Road East Ham E6 ■
The site was bought in 1912 and became a parish in1923. The church was built in 1936-37
ST ANDREW Roman Road E6
Another mission of St.Michaels with a short-lived work between the building of 1934 and closure in 1952 before the sale in 1957.
ST MARKS CENTRE Tollgate Road, Beckton E16
Worship in the area took place in ‘The Portacabin’ from the mid-1980s before the Centre was built. As an ecumenical venture under the Newham Churches Docklands Group it was originally known as the Beckton Christian Centre. The 1987 foundation stone has Church of England, Roman Catholic and Methodist denominations listed. Dedicated in 1989 the church sanctuary is set in a complex of offices and community meeting places. Free Church ministers initially worked alongside Anglican and Catholic priests. In 2011 Anglican and Catholic congregations shared the premises with the New City Church, launched in 2010.
LITTLE ILFORD AND MANOR PARK AREA
ST MARY THE VIRGIN Church Road, Little Ilford E12
The third ‘mother’ church and one of the three ancient and historic churches in Newham. It had early links with Stratford Langthorne Abbey. This early 12th C building with its graveyard was the only Anglican church in the Little Ilford and Manor Park area until 1894 and continued to be the parish church until 1938. War-damaged in the 1939-45 war it was restored and re-opened in 1951 after repairs.
Three daughter churches or missions stemmed from St Mary.
ST MICHAEL AND ALL ANGELS Toronto Avenue/ Romford Road E12
Started in 1894 with a new building in 1898 replacing the initial iron building. In 1938 it became the parish church in place of St Mary which then became a ‘chapel of ease’. After demolition of the old church a new Church was built within the community centre Froud Centre in 1992.
ST BARNABAS Browning Road Manor Park E12
Began in 1897 with an iron building with a permanent church built 1900-1906 and the parish established in 1901. From the 1970s a significant inter-faith ministry was started by the then vicar, Nigel Porter.