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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 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 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
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.