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Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of East London

by Peter Kessler, 22 May 2011

 

 

Havering Part 6: Churches of Hornchurch & Romford

St Mary Mother of God Catholic Church

St Mary Mother of God Catholic Church is on the southern side of Hornchurch Road, opposite Holy Cross Church (below) in Hornchurch. There are a few references to Hornchurch recusants in the late sixteenth century, and only a few more in the next two centuries. The church, which serves north-west Hornchurch, was built in 1931 and consecrated in 1933. A parish was formed for east Hornchurch in 1955, and the Church of The English Martyrs was opened for it.

Holy Cross Hornchurch

Holy Cross Hornchurch watches over the north-eastern corner of Hornchurch Road and Park Lane on this gently rising road. The church originated in 1920, when a hut which was formerly a chapel in the army camp at Grey Towers was re-erected at the corner of Malvern Road and Park Lane to serve as a mission church. A new parish, taken from that of St Andrew, was formed in 1925, and a permanent church was built on a new site, the present one, in 1933.

Havering Well Presbyterian Chapel

Havering Well Presbyterian Chapel stood at Roneo Corner, on the northern side of Rush Green Road, opposite Upper Rainham Road in Romford. First mentioned in 1691, by 1698 a large meeting house with graveyard existed. Romford Independent Church then took over, and it became the Independent Meeting House. In 1819 it was demolished and the materials were used for Union Chapel. In 1973, a third of the graveyard was ploughed up for road widening.

Bethel Independent Chapel

Bethel Independent Chapel stood approximately on what is now a green, lying between South Street (formerly Hornchurch Lane) and Rush Green Road, flanked to the west by Rom Valley Way. The chapel appears to have originated in 1792 when the house of Hannah Gray was registered for worship nearby. The chapel was built in 1796. Friendly relations with Collier Row Lane Church saw Bethel unite with it in 1819. After the building of Union Chapel in 1823, Bethel was sold.

Grenfell Hall Methodist Church

Grenfell Hall Methodist Church stood on the western side of Grenfell Avenue, opposite 21 Grenfell Avenue. The church originated in the early 1930s with meetings in private houses. A site was donated by Thomas England, the estate developer, and a two-storey church was opened in 1936. Although it is hard to be sure, it seems it may have ceased either in 1974 or 1989. The hall was then demolished and within a decade apartment housing had been built on the site.

St Augustine of Canterbury Rush Green

St Augustine of Canterbury Rush Green is at the north-western corner of Rush Green Road and Birkbeck Road. The church originated in 1946 as a mission for St Andrew Romford. In 1948 a hut was erected on the present site, and in 1953 a conventional district was formed. The dual-purpose church was built in 1958, and a hall was added in 1965. A separate parish, taken from those of St Andrew, St Peter & St Paul Dagenham, and Holy Cross (above), was formed in 1969.

Rush Green Gospel Hall

Rush Green Gospel Hall stands on the northern side of Birkbeck Road, close to West Road. The double hall seems all to have been built at the same time, opening in 1935. It was one of five Brethren halls opened in Romford. Ingrave Hall, Ingrave Road, was apparently taken over from Romford Town Mission about 1933. The others were Collier Row Hall, Rise Park Hall (later to become a chapel), Pettits Lane North, and the Carlisle Room, Carlisle Road in Romford.

Romford Cemetery Chapels

Romford Cemetery Chapels stand within the grounds of the cemetery which runs a good distance along the southern side of Crow Lane, to the south-west of Romford itself, on the eastern edges of Becontree. The site was originally named Crow Lane Cemetery and the first burial took place in 1871. Allotment grounds and fields still stood to the south of it in 2010. One of the Gothic chapels is for Anglican funerals while the other services those of nonconformist groups.

St Agnes Hall & Church

St Agnes Hall & Church stands close to the south-eastern corner of Jutsums Lane and Jutsums Avenue. The small wooden-framed church was opened as a hall in 1928 with a small sanctuary attached. Improvements were made in 2004 when the building was redecorated throughout. It continues to serve the spiritual needs of the area and mass is celebrated each Sunday, but it apparently remains a chapel of ease to the parish church of St Edward the Confessor.

Mawneys Baptist Church

Mawneys Baptist Church stands on the western side of Pretoria Road, located just below the bend as the road heads to the north. It was founded in 1910, when Salem Church in Romford opened it as the Pretoria Road Mission. The original iron hall was replaced by a brick building in 1928, and a separate church was formed in 1931. By 2010 the brick building apparently remained, converted to a dwelling, while housing had been built on the rest of the small site.

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