History Files


Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of East London

by Peter Kessler, 8 January 2012



Newham Part 4: Churches of Beckton & Plaistow

St Anne's Church Custom House

St Anne's Church Custom House, the Catholic Parish of the Royal Docks lies at the north-eastern corner of Berwick Road and Throckmorton Road in the Royal Docks area of Beckton. Opened in 1899 as St Anne's Throckmorton Road, Victoria Docks, the church was built with a school attached. War damage which was heavily inflicted on the entire district was in this case repaired in 1950-1951 (only the gateway is original) and a new presbytery was added in 1953-1954.

St Matthew Custom House

St Matthew Custom House stood on Ethel Road, which joins Freemasons Road. The unusual entrance gate for the post-war housing on the left may mark the original entrance to the church, which was a small building erected in 1860 at the expense of the chairman of the dock company. It was a mission of St Mark's and later of St Luke's until 1920, when a separate parish was formed. The church was closed in 1960, and by 1966 it had been demolished for redevelopment.

Victoria Docks Congregational Church

Victoria Docks Congregational Church stood on Victoria Docks Road, exact location unknown. It was built in 1869, initially as a union church, embracing Congregationalists, Baptists, and a few Presbyterians. The main building was destroyed during the war but subsequently rebuilt. It closed some time after the mid-1960s. Its West Silvertown Mission opened in 1883 but was short-lived. Prince Regent Lane Mission opened in 1885, but burnt down in 1908.

Custom House Primitive Methodist Church

Custom House Primitive Methodist Church stood on Bridgeland (formerly Frederick) Road. It originated in 1881 with open-air services. In 1882 it was meeting in Brindisi Terrace. An iron church was erected in Frederick Road in 1883. When this burnt down in 1888 a small brick church was built. Mostly undamaged by the war, in 1960 it united with Shirley Street and Barking Road churches to build the new Fife Road church. The old building had been demolished by 1966.

Varley Road Christian Centre

Varley Road Christian Centre is at the north-east corner of Varley Road and Mortlake Road in the Custom House area of Beckton. The building had been opened by 1922 when it was known as the Christian Community Mission. It was registered by the London City Mission in 1956, which also registered premises in Fen Street, Tidal Basin (1914), and in Nelson Street, Tidal Basin (1933). Today the centre sits behind strong fencing and looks more like a secure warehouse.

Custom House Baptist Church

Custom House Baptist Church stands at the north-west corner of Prince Regent Lane and the remains of Jersey Road, where the church originated in 1906 with meetings in a house. In 1908 the members of Prince Regent Lane Congregational Mission (above) joined. An iron building was erected in 1911 on the present site. In 1928 a new building was erected with funds left by a co-founder of Barking Road Tabernacle. It was wrecked by bombing in 1940 and rebuilt in 1950.

Church of St Cedd Beckton Road

The Church of St Cedd Beckton Road stands on the southern side of Chadwin Road, opposite Cranley Road, immediately north of Newham Way (formerly Beckton Road). It was originally a mission of St Andrew's when a brick hall was built in 1903-1904 on a donated site. It gained a parish in 1936. The present red-brick Romanesque building was opened in 1939, but was closed in the early 2000s. By 2010 it was the London Ghana Seventh-Day Adventist Church.

Plaistow Spiritualist Healing Sanctuary

Plaistow Spiritualist Healing Sanctuary is on the south-eastern corner of Cumberland Road and Holborn Road in Plaistow. Horeb Welsh (Wesleyan) Church was opened on Cumberland Road in 1915 by a society founded at Poplar in 1880. Part of the London (Welsh) circuit, membership was under fifty, and the church was sold in 1939. It is unclear if this is the same building. Other options are the Newham Youth Offenders Team site or Cumberland Road Gospel Hall.

Canning Town Synagogue

Canning Town Synagogue was on the northern side of Barking Road, opposite Clove Street. A Federated Synagogue was formed at Canning Town in 1901. It was registered in 1908 at No. 201, Barking Road (now lost), but in 1919 the site had moved to No. 269 (shown here). A new building was apparently erected on the site in 1923. The building looks more Victorian than twenties. By 2008 it was an Islamic Centre, with the Calvary Charismatic Baptist Church behind it.

Calvary Charismatic Baptist Church

Calvary Charismatic Baptist Church stands on the south-western corner of Barking Road and Croydon Road in Plaistow, behind the former Canning Town Synagogue building (see above). This Baptist church building seems to have served as some kind of workshop or trading centre in the past, and still has a very industrial look to it. By about 2000, and probably a few years earlier, it had become The Redeemed Christian Church of God, The Lord's Sanctuary.

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