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Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of East London

by Peter Kessler, 20 June 2010

 

 

Barking & Dagenham Part 6: Churches of Barking

Barking Methodist Church

Barking Methodist Church is on the southern side of London Road, opposite St James Street. Opened perhaps as early as 1824, a Wesleyan chapel was sited in Bull Street. In 1869 a new chapel was built, and in 1928 a central hall was added on the opposite (north) side of East Street. The old chapel was demolished, but most of the hall was destroyed by a Second World War rocket. The present church went up at the rear of the site in 1958, with a London Road frontage.

Elim Christian Centre

Elim Christian Centre is on the northern side of Axe Street, close to Ripple Road. It was established here about 1926, in an iron building, replaced in 1954 by the present brick church. Close by was the small Heath Street Latter-Day Saints meeting (from 1851). They were in North Street in 1854, surviving for a few more years. Queen's Road Peculiar People met from 1898, when they bought the old Baptist chapel. This was demolished in the municipal redevelopment of 1961-1962.

Barking Abbey

Barking Abbey lay immediately north of St Margaret's Church (below). Founded by St Erkenwald in 666 as a missionary centre, it was destroyed by Vikings in 870 and rebuilt in the tenth century. Dissolved in 1539, the buildings were demolished within three years, and for almost 400 years the site was used as a quarry and a farm. The Curfew Tower pictured is a fourteenth century gateway to the abbey. A small chapel existed above it, and was once a place of pilgrimage.

The Parish Church of St Margaret of Antioch

The Parish Church of St Margaret of Antioch Barking lies on the large expanse of ground between Abbey Road and North Street, and between Barking Creek and the centre of Barking. Originally part of Barking Abbey, on its southern side, the church began life as a chapel for the local people and worship was lead by a chaplain from the abbey. The oldest part of the present building is thought to be the chancel which was built between 1200-1215.

The Parish Church of St Margaret of Antioch

The bell tower was added in the late 1400s and houses a peal of eight bells. Captain James Cook was married here on 21 December 1762 and not long afterwards, in 1772, the ceilings of the nave, chancel and sanctuary were covered in plaster, which was removed from the nave in 1842. A mission hall was added in Fisher Street (now Abbey Road) in 1878 (now gone), and a mission church was opened at Creekmouth by 1894, which probably closed before 1928.

Barking Congregational Church

Barking Congregational Church stood on the north-eastern corner of Barking Broadway (North Street) and Clockhouse Avenue, next to the town hall (which is to the right of these buildings). A meeting house was erected here by Brickfields Congregational Church in 1785. It was enlarged in 1805 and rebuilt in 1824-1826. A larger building was opened in 1864. The church moved to Upney Lane in 1929 (now United Reformed) and by 1964 the old church was the market hall.

Axe Street Meeting House

Axe Street Meeting House lies on the northern side of Axe Street, close to North Street. About 1846 a group of 'Protestant Christians' built a meeting house here. In 1862 it was described as a chapel of the Brethren, and perhaps had been taken over by Brethren who in 1858 were meeting in Fisher Street. It was subsequently known as Park Hall. In 1931 it was rebuilt on a neighbouring site in Axe Street. By 1963 it was an undenominational church called the New Park Hall.

Emmanuel Baptist Mission

Emmanuel Baptist Mission existed at a location along Gascoigne Road, seen here from its northern end. In 1909 members of Barking Baptist Tabernacle started a mission in Heath Street, which was later transferred to Abbey Road, as the Abbey Hall Mission, and subsequently to Gascoigne Road as the Emmanuel Mission. This existed in 1966 but had long vanished by 2009. No sign of the mission's existence remains and its exact location cannot be pinpointed.

Gospel Faith Mission International

Gospel Faith Mission International exists on the southern side of Ripple Road, midway between King Edward's Road and the Salvation Army citadel (below). It houses an Evangelical church which is also known as the Divine Connection Centre, but the building may formerly have been St Margaret's Church Hall (this cannot be confirmed). The hall was built in 1955 on the site of St Paul's Church, erected in 1893, completed in 1914, and destroyed by bombing in 1944.

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army citadel stands on the southern side of Ripple Road, close to the junction with Movers Lane on its eastern side. Barking was one of the earliest centres of Salvation Army work. In 1873, a station was opened in a building called the Old Bethel at the Town Quay. It eventually proved inadequate and in 1889 a hall was taken in Ripple Road. In 1922 a new hall was built in the same road. This burnt down in 1934, and in 1935 a new set of buildings was erected.

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