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Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of East London

by Peter Kessler, 20 June 2010

 

 

Barking & Dagenham Part 5: Churches of Barking

St Cedd's Church Becontree

St Cedd's Church Becontree is on the eastern side of Lodge Avenue, a few metres south of the Neasham Road junction. Cedd was born in the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria and brought up on the isle of Lindisfarne by Saint Aidan. In 653, Cedd was sent by King Oswiu with three other priests, to evangelise the Middle Angles, who were one of the core ethnic groups of eastern Mercia, based on the mid-Trent valley. He later became bishop of the East Saxons.

St Cedd's Church Becontree

St Cedd in Becontree was erected for a Peel district in 1936. The present building on an adjoining site was consecrated in 1964. It was designed by Thompson and Whitehead in a mid-twentieth century style and is an octagonal brick structure with a copper roof and small flèche. A west vestibule is divided from the main church by folding doors. The Crown and the bishop of Chelmsford have alternate presentation to the vicarage, but in 2010 the church was in interregnum.

Upney Baptist Church

Upney Baptist Church is set well back from Cavendish Gardens on the north-western edge of the street's bend into Melford Avenue. The church was erected in 1935 on land donated by J R Leftley, who was then building a housing estate in the neighbourhood. The church was at first a branch of Barking Baptist Tabernacle on Linton Road (see below), but in 1937 became independent. The original building was extended in 1937 and again in 1954.

St Erkenwald's Church

St Erkenwald's Church is on the southern side of Levett Road, opposite Ventnor Gardens. Erkenwald, also known as Erconwald, belonged to a noble East Anglian family. He founded a monastery in Chertsey and a convent in Barking, was abbot of the Chertsey monastery and his sister, Ethelburga, was abbess of the convent at Barking. He became bishop of London in 675, and eventually retired to the convent in Barking, where he died on 30 April 690. He was buried in St Paul's.

St Erkenwald's Church

In 1934 a Peel district was constituted for the area north of the Southend Railway, and a temporary church was built in the same year. A permanent church was erected in 1954, partly with funds from a War Damage payment in respect of the destroyed Holy Trinity, Canning Town. St Erkenwald's is built of dark red brick in a traditional style and consists of aisled nave, chancel, south transept, north porch, and north-east tower. Several windows contain notable engraved glass.

Barking United Reformed Church

Barking United Reformed Church is on the north-west corner of Upney Lane and Salisbury Avenue. In 1782 George Gold, minister of the Brickfields Congregational Church in West Ham, began holding services in a hired house at Barking, and Barking Congregational Church was formed. After the First World War many residents in the older part of Barking moved into Becontree, so the church sold its building and in 1929 erected the present church in Upney Lane.

Society of Friends Meeting House

Friends Meeting House (Quakers) in Barking still stands at the south-west corner of North Street and Queen's Road (which is now mostly part of the Northern Relief Road). The Quaker meeting house for Barking was originally erected in 1673. The present building was erected in 1908 on the same site in the Queen Anne style but it closed by the 1960s. In April 1971 the building was inaugurated as the Gurdwara Singh Sabha London East Sikh Temple.

Society of Friends Burial Ground

The Society of Friends (Quakers) Burial Ground lies opposite the meeting house. One of the most famous Quakers was Elizabeth Fry. She died after a stroke on 12 October 1845 at Ramsgate, aged sixty-five, while visiting the Quakers there. She was laid to rest at this Quaker burial ground in Barking (the entrance is shown here), and her funeral was attended by over a thousand people. Only the gravestone was later moved to Wanstead Burial Ground.

Catholic Church of St Mary & St Ethelburga

The Catholic Church of St Mary & St Ethelburga Barking occupies the western side of Linton Road, just north of the junction with George Street. A church dedicated to St Ethelburga was opened in 1858 in temporary premises at the back of the Red Lion public house in Station (now Linton) Road. In 1863 services were being held in the Roman Catholic school. The permanent church was built in 1869 in the Early English style, later replaced by the present modern building.

Barking Baptist Tabernacle

Barking Baptist Tabernacle is on the eastern side of Linton Road, opposite St James Street. The Baptists attempted to establish themselves in the 1790s, and again in 1821. They were at last successful about 1848, when open-air services led to meetings in Fisher Street (now Abbey Road), and later in Bull (now East) Street. Queen's Road Baptist Church was erected in 1851-1852. In 1893 the present building was opened. It was repaired in 1905 due to poor workmanship.

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