History Files
 

 

Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of East London

by Peter Kessler, 5 September 2010

 

 

Havering Part 2: Churches of Rainham, South Hornchurch & Elm Park

Our Lady of Salette Catholic Church

Our Lady of Salette Catholic Church is on the western side of Rainham Road, backing onto New Road. Edward Drury was charged with recusancy in 1641, but no local papists existed in a return of 1676. A temporary iron church was built in Cowper Road, opposite the gospel mission around 1902. This closed about 1938 when a brick barn formerly belonging to Dovers Farm was registered for worship in 1939. The present building was opened on an adjoining site in 1967.

Whybridge Christian Fellowship Church

Whybridge Christian Fellowship Church lies on the southern side of Rainham Road, midway between Hubert Road and Cherry Tree Lane in South Hornchurch. It was founded as Whybridge Hall about 1930, named after the nearby Whybridge Estate. Local farmer James Vellacctt purchased the land and set up the Rainham Evangelisation Trust to oversee the setting up of the church, with input by London City Mission. By 1978 it was Whybridge Evangelical Free Church.

Word of Life Worship Centre

Word of Life Worship Centre is on the northern side of Frederick Road, midway between Spencer and Manser roads, in South Hornchurch. The centre began as the Full Gospel Church of the Assemblies of God before 1951. It underwent some rebuilding in 2008 or 2009 to produce the present centre with its peculiar construction: a place of worship housing Praise Chapel Christian Fellowship sandwiched between two individually-occupied residential slices.

St John's Church

St John's Church sits on the southern side of South End Road, opposite Princes Park. A mission hall, situated on what is now the car park, was erected in 1864 and enlarged in 1882. By the inter-war period it was a mission for St Nicholas, Elm Park (below). In 1954, the administration passed to St Helen's in Rainham and work soon commenced on the present building, which was consecrated by the bishop of Barking on 9 March 1957. The church gained its own parish in 1992.

Elm Park Methodist Church

Elm Park Methodist Church stands on the western side of Mungo Park Road, accessible via the side road that is Freeborne Gardens. Various plans seem to have been laid for the construction of the church on this site from 1935 onwards, while the surrounding area was being built up from farmland. The church was finally built and opened in 1957. The original building has been lost, however, and replaced by the present functional 1990s block attached to housing and shops.

St Alban's Catholic Church

St Alban's Catholic Church lies between Langsdale Gardens and Ullswater Road, close to Camforth Gardens in the Elm Park area of South Hornchurch. Elm Park was not developed until after the arrival of the electrified District Line in 1935, and within twenty years it was realised that a Catholic church would be needed. As a result, the present church was built in 1960 and has a classic appearance that nevertheless is very much of the period. It is served by the Verona Fathers.

Elm Park Baptist Church

Elm Park Baptist Church occupies a corner plot between Rosewood Avenue and Ambleside Avenue. The church originated in 1937, with house meetings and a Sunday School which were supported by the Hornchurch Baptists and the Essex Baptist Association. A school chapel was built in 1938, and the church was formally constituted in 1939. The building was damaged by bombing in 1940. A youth hall was added in 1946, and the present church replaced the original in 1963.

Elm Park Synagogue

Elm Park Synagogue stood on the southern side of Woburn Avenue, roughly two-thirds of the way westwards down the street. Elm Park affiliated synagogue was established in 1939, and became affiliated to the United Synagogue in 1948. A permanent Orthodox building was erected here in 1949. The synagogue was demolished about 2008-2009, and could still be found in online directories in 2010. Woburn Court apartment buildings were constructed in the site.

St Nicholas Parish Church Elm Park

St Nicholas Parish Church Elm Park is on the north-western corner of St Nicholas Avenue and Woodcote Avenue, at the northern edge of Elm Park. The church originated in 1936, when a temporary building was erected on the site. The present permanent church, in unadorned red brick with a small south bell tower, was opened in 1956. The church gained its own parish from part of that of St Andrew in 1957, the advowson of the vicarage being vested in the bishop.

Bethany Chapel

Bethany Chapel used to stand on the western side of Abbs Cross Lane (at No 208), behind the 1930s semi-detached houses which front the street and almost opposite Devonshire Road, with Parkhill Close to the rear. The Brethren chapel stood by 1935, but was demolished about 2007-2008 and an apartment block put up on the land. Other Brethren chapels existed as Emerson Park Chapel, Athelstan Chapel in Harold Wood, and Hillview Hall on Hillview Avenue, Hornchurch.

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