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Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of East London

by Peter Kessler, 5 September 2010

 

 

Havering Part 3: Churches of Hornchurch & Upminster

Hornchurch Methodist Church

Hornchurch Methodist Church is on the northern side of the High Street. Wesleyans met in a house by 1829, perhaps at 'Hollies', which became North Street Chapel about 1835. In 1854 part of the building of Jonathan Diaper was registered for Wesleyan worship. That also seems to have been short-lived. The present Wesleyan church originated about 1929 with meetings in the Masonic Hall. A school-chapel opened in 1933 and the present church was built in 1958.

Hornchurch Baptist Church

Hornchurch Baptist Church overlooks North Street, although access is on the southern side of Leather Lane, part of a modern shopping block. The church seems to have originated in 1859, when Hermon Independent Chapel, High Street, was registered. In 1877 a church was formed, but failing to get a Congregational preacher, a Baptist one was found instead. In 1882 the North Street church was built, and was probably demolished about 2000.

St Andrew Hornchurch & Cemetery

St Andrew Hornchurch & Cemetery occupies a site on the southern side of Upminster Road, with the cemetery behind it. This 'church of Havering' existed by 1163, when Henry II gave it to the newly-founded Hornchurch Priory. When the priory was dissolved in 1391 its possessions in Hornchurch were bought by William of Wykeham, bishop of Winchester. The present church was erected probably in the period between 1220-1228, completely erasing the old church.

St Andrew Hornchurch & Cemetery

The church consisted of chancel, four-bay nave, and north and south aisles. It was built of septaria and ragstone, with some brick, and limestone dressings. During the fifteenth century the aisles and chancel were rebuilt and the north and south chapels, clerestory, north porch, and west tower were added. The south aisle and chapel were rebuilt in 1802, and the church was restored in 1869 and 1900. The embattled tower has a tall spire and a ring of eight bells.

St George's Church Hornchurch

St George's Church Hornchurch occupies a relatively small site on the north-western corner of Kenilworth Gardens and Connaught Road in the south-east of Hornchurch. Since 1849 six new churches, all originally missions of St Andrew Hornchurch (see above) have been built in Hornchurch. By 2010, two of them remained under St Andrew as mission churches, with St George's being one of those. It is built in red brick with a rendered brick bell tower at the north end.

Catholic Parish Church of the English Martyrs

The Catholic Parish Church of the English Martyrs lies on the northern side of Alma Avenue, at the very eastern end of the avenue and almost opposite Bevan Way in Upminster. East Hornchurch's Catholic parish was formed in 1955 out of part of that of St Mary Mother of God Catholic Church, Hornchurch Road, which had been built in 1931 to serve north-west Hornchurch. This simple red brick church is typical of the fifties and has a small south bell turret, above the porch.

St Matthew's Church

St Matthew's Church lies inside of the bend on the eastern side of Chelmsford Drive. The church was constructed in 1956 as a mission of St Andrew Hornchurch (see above) to meet the needs of the new population in Upminster, an area was expanded rapidly after the arrival of the electrified District Line Underground in 1935. It was one of six new churches built as missions from 1849 for St Andrew's. It is of undecorated red brick with minimal decoration and a tiled roof.

Havering Christian Fellowship

Havering Christian Fellowship occupies a site at 2 Craigdale Road, on the western side. Although halfway along the street, the rest of the western side consists of open grass leading down to the river and to a footpath which runs behind the building. This fellowship is amongst several small undenominational missions which arose in Hornchurch in the twentieth century. It dates to the 1920s, although it is unclear whether this is the original building.

Hacton Central Mission

Hacton Central Mission was at 'Smokeholes', on the western side of Park Farm Road, opposite Harwood Hall Lane. The undenominational mission was founded in 1904 by Mrs James Strang of Rainham Lodge, and for some years Wesleyan lay preachers helped there. In 1911-1963 it served as Hacton Congregational Mission, before services ceased, but the hall was in use in 1966 for undenominational youth meetings. In 1974 it housed an afternoon Sunday School.

Upminster Cemetery Chapel

Upminster Cemetery Chapel is on the northern side of Ockendon Road, close to Huntsmans Drive. The first burial took place here in 1902, and the chapel seats forty. Today the cemetery is attached to South Essex Crematorium, which lies on its western flank, but still retains its own identity. The first service took place on 4 July 1957 in the post-war crematorium, which is also known as Corbets Tey Crematorium, and which has two chapels which are interdenominational.

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