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Gallery: Churches of East London
by Peter Kessler, 6 June 2010
Barking & Dagenham Part 1: Churches of Marks
Gate & Chadwell
St Mark's Church is on the south-west corner
of Rose Lane and Arneways Avenue in Marks Gate. Although Dagenham was
a large and scattered parish there was apparently no Anglican place of
worship, other than the parish church of St Peter & St Paul, until
the end of the nineteenth century. The parish reached as far as Marks Gate.
About 1880 the vicar, J S Moore, began to hold services at Chadwell Heath,
and in 1886, St Chad was opened as a chapel of ease.
In 1895 the new parish of Chadwell Heath was formed,
comprising Chadwell Heath and Marks Gate, in Dagenham, and part of Chadwell
Street in Ilford. The advowson of the vicarage was vested alternately in the
vicars of Dagenham and Great Ilford. In 1956 the church of St Mark was built
as a district church for Chadwell Heath, and was designed for additional use
as a church hall. Becontree Heath Mission room was also available between
about 1890-1894, now gone.
Marks Gate Baptist Church occupies half of the
northern side of Bardfield Avenue, at the corner with Newhouse Avenue on
the northern edge of Marks Gate. The church originated about 1917, when
Miss Fleet started a Sunday school. In 1951 Cranbrook Road Baptist Church
in Ilford, with assistance from the London Baptist Association, took over
the school, and in 1957 they erected the present church in the peaceful
Marks Gate Chapel was on the north-west corner
of Whalebone Lane North and Billet Road. Built in 1821, it was at first
Congregational, and later Methodist. In 1882 the recent opening of
Marks Gate Wesleyan Chapel (location unknown) caused a decline in
attendance, and before 1891 the Wesleyans had taken over the old chapel.
Services were suspended in 1939 and never resumed. The brown brick chapel
remained disused and was demolished between 1962-2000.
Chadwell Heath Cemetery Chapel lies just inside
the main gates on the western side of Whalebone Lane North. The eleven acre
site was originally opened in 1934 to cater for the local population increase
between the wars. The Art Deco-style chapel can seat up to sixty people. The
site is managed by the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham and is full
to new burials, although land immediately to the north was being developed
in 2010 to create a new eight acre site.
Eastern Avenue Baptist Church is on the north-west
corner of East Road and Havering Gardens. During the Second World War,
members of Chadwell Heath Baptist Church (below) began a Sunday School in
this area which grew into a church. In Autumn 1943, a prefabricated garage
was put on this site, and in Autumn 1944 this was replaced by a wooden hut.
The present building opened in 1956. In the late 1960s church hall was destroyed
by arson and rebuilt in 2000.
Mill Lane United Reformed Church is on the
northern side of Mill Lane, near Beresford Gardens. In 1880 a group
Independents met in a hut which stood on the present site. In 1884 the
land was donated by Joshua Pedley, solicitor, and the completed Mill
Lane Congregational Church opened early in 1887. In 1899 the church was
registered for marriages, and during 1910 work began on the present building
with additions being made to the old building (now the hall).
St Bede's Catholic Church occupies a long
stretch of ground on the northern side of Bishop's Avenue. The first
church here was opened in 1935, a brown brick building with white stone
dressings around the windows. In 1963 this was relegated to being the church
hall and alterations were made both inside and out to make it suitable. The
present octagonal church building was opened on the adjacent site,
constructed in a striking mid-twentieth century style.
Wangey Road Chapel is on the eastern side of
Wangey Road. In 1844 Francis Glenny built a meeting house and school for
Plymouth Brethren at the end of Chapel Lane, which overlooks the southern
end of Wangey Road. The meeting house was a yellow brick building with a
burial ground in front of it. It was superseded in 1928 by the present
building. By 1962 the old meeting house was a warehouse and by 2009 both
it and the burial ground were long gone.
Chadwell Heath Baptist Church lies on the southern
side of the High Road, almost opposite Japan Road. A Baptist chapel, with
fifty members, existed in Dagenham parish in 1829. This was probably at
Chadwell Heath, where in about 1844 there was a Baptist chapel on the southern
side of the High Road, probably founded by Baptists from Ilford High Road
Baptist Church. In 1860 Aenon Chapel was built in nearby Chadwell Heath
Lane. The present church was built in 1905.