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Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of East London

by Peter Kessler, 6 June 2010

 

 

Barking & Dagenham Part 1: Churches of Marks Gate & Chadwell Heath

St Mark's Church

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.

St Mark's Church

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

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 Bardfield Avenue.

Marks Gate Chapel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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