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Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of East London

by Peter Kessler, 6 June 2010

 

 

Barking & Dagenham Part 2: Churches of Chadwell Heath & Becontree

St Chad's Anglican Church

St Chad's Anglican Church sits between the terraced houses on the eastern side of St Chad's Road, just off the High Street in Chadwell Heath. Dagenham, a large and scattered parish, had only the original parish church until about 1880, when the vicar of St Peter & St Paul, Dagenham, J S Moore, began to hold services at Chadwell Heath. At this point, Becontree was still countryside, so there was a considerable gap between the two ends of the parish.

St Chad's Anglican Church

In 1886 the church of St Chad was opened at its northern end as a chapel of ease to the parish church. The building is red brick with stone dressings, and consists of an aisled nave, chancel, and embattled north-west tower. The church gained its own parish in 1895. This included part of Goodmayes which was formerly in the parish of St Mary, Ilford. However, South Goodmayes was lost to All Saints Church in 1914, and North Goodmayes to St Paul Goodmayes in 1917.

Chadwell Heath Methodist Church

Chadwell Heath Methodist Church formerly stood on the southern side of the High Road. In 1821 a house at Chadwell Heath was licensed for Wesleyans, but there are no later references to this. Chadwell Heath church was built for Wesleyans at Chadwell Heath in 1907. It was closed and sold in 1939. The exact location of the church is uncertain, but one of these two candidates, built about 1900 and lying opposite Ashton Gardens, would seem to fit the bill.

Albany Road Full Gospel Church

Albany Road Full Gospel Church was erected on the western side of Albany Road, close to the High Road which lies to its south. The easternmost place of worship in Chadwell Heath, this Full Gospel church was one of two opened in the parish of Dagenham in the 1930s, the other being Vicarage Road (in about 1931). Albany Road opened its doors in 1935, in a plain red brick building with cement facade. In 2010 it was being run by the Assemblies of God movement.

Hartley Brook Church

Hartley Brook Church is in the parish of St Mary Becontree. The simple brown brick building was constructed in 1955 to serve as a chapel of ease for St Mary Becontree. The building is tucked in behind terraced houses on the eastern edge of Rosslyn Avenue, and is linked to the main road by a short concrete trackway between the gardens. Perhaps coincidentally, there was a vicar in Braintree named Hartley Brook who held his post during the Second World War years.

Dagenham Road Hall

Dagenham Road Hall, Becontree is on the eastern side of Dagenham Road, opposite Fourth Avenue. In 1942 the London City Mission took it over as their third hall (after one each in Dagenham and Becontree). The hall had been built by W N Williamson in 1937, although its use is unclear. The Mission carried on their work there until 1960. The hall was then sold and the money used to buy a site on the Harold Hill Estate at Romford. By 2010 the hall was in use as a social club.

Eastbrookend Cemetery Chapel

Eastbrookend Cemetery Chapel lies a short way into the grounds, facing east. The cemetery is at the far eastern end of a lane which leads off Dagenham Road. Opened in 1914 by a private company as Becontree Park Cemetery, the first burial took place in 1916. It was later renamed Ilford Park Cemetery and was purchased in 1958/60 by Dagenham Borough Council, gaining its current name. The cemetery is now surrounded by the beautiful Eastbrookend Country Park.

Oxlow Lane Baptist Church

Oxlow Lane Baptist Church is on the northern side of Oxlow Lane, close to the Rainham Road North junction, leading westwards from Eastbrookend Cemetery. Mainly through the initiative of their Essex Extension Committee, the Baptists built four churches: Dagenham Baptist Church, Becontree Avenue Baptist Church, Wood Lane Baptist Church, and this one on Oxlow Lane. In 1961 all but Wood Lane joined in a federation under the leadership of a senior minister.

Becontree Heath Methodist Church

Becontree Heath Methodist Church is on the north-eastern inset at the junction between Whalebone Lane South and the north side of Wood Lane. Presbyterian worship began at nearby Havering Well Chapel about 1710, and Wesleyan Methodists were organised by 1800. In 1829 there were two Methodist societies in the parish. The larger met in a chapel on the southern side of Wood Lane, but in 1875 its members apparently joined the new church on the present site.

Green Lane Christian Fellowship

Green Lane Christian Fellowship lies on the northern side of Green Lane, almost opposite Stockdale Road. Originally known as the Christian Temple, Green Lane, the building was opened in 1932 by the Four Square Gospellers after they carried out a tent campaign in the area, a method familiar to nonconformists in order to secure new members and raise funds for new churches. The present fellowship is an Elim Pentecostal Church congregation.

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