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Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of East London

by Peter Kessler, 19 December 2010

 

 

Redbridge Part 16: Churches of Ilford & Seven Kings

Ilford High Road Baptist Church

Ilford High Road Baptist Church is on the southern side of the High Road, with Green Lane on its west flank (on the right in the photo). In 1830 there was a Baptist chapel in Ilford village, the earliest nonconformist chapel here. Ebenezer Strict Baptist Church was formed in 1836 by seceders from the High Road congregation, but the church flourished, remaining one of the biggest in the district. The present building is late Victorian Gothic, although its date is unknown.

City Gates Christian Centre High Road

City Gates Christian Centre High Road occupies a confined plot on the busy south-western corner of the High Road with Green Lane. This is the second City Gates centre in Ilford, the other being on Clements Road. This Victorian building, by 2010 painted a dull grey with white trimmings, has probably had an interesting history before its conversion to a church, but the details are unknown. Could it have been a cinema, perhaps?

St Peter & St Paul Catholic Church

St Peter & St Paul Catholic Church is yet another of the many churches which occupy plots on the southern side of Ilford High Road, this one being located between the High Road Baptist Church (see above) and Ilford Spiritualist Church (see below). In 1895 a Roman Catholic mission was opened at Ilford on the initiative of the Reverend A S Barnes, a convert who had been chaplain of Ilford Hospital. A mass-produced Victorian iron church was erected in Ilford Lane.

St Peter & St Paul Catholic Church

In 1899 the permanent church was opened on the High Road. This is a brick building in the Perpendicular style, but the entrance front and tower are faced with stone. It consists of an apsidal chancel and an aisled and clerestoried nave, with the aisle terminating in side chapels. It also has a baptistery and a west gallery. In 1896 the Reverend (later Canon) Patrick Palmer started an influential ministry at Ilford that lasted for fifty-two years. A school was opened next door.

Ilford Spiritualist Church

Ilford Spiritualist Church is just a few metres to the east of the Catholic church, opposite Oaklands Park Avenue. In 1903 the Spiritualists were meeting in Clock House Hall. The present building was opened in 1908, with a memorial stone laid by the Reverend T E M Edwards on 17 October 1908. A church was also subsequently opened on Clements Road, and was licensed in 1933. At some point that building was abandoned and by 2010 no trace could be found of it.

Eden Christian Centre

Eden Christian Centre sits on the north-west corner of Connaught Road and Stanley Road. The building was opened as the Apostolic Church shortly before the Second World War. During the war it was wrecked by bombing and rendered unusable. In 1960 the present building was erected here as part of an amalgamation scheme between the Apostolic congregations of Ilford and Barking. Today it also operates Pathway Counselling, a Christian counselling organisation.

Buckingham Road Cemetery Chapel

Buckingham Road Cemetery Chapel stands in the middle of the burial ground which occupies the north-east corner of Buckingham Road and Stanley road, on the southern flank of St Mary the Virgin Church (see below). The cemetery is maintained by Forest Park Cemetery and Crematorium Ltd in Hainault, in partnership with Redbridge Borough Council, but sadly the small Victorian brown-brick chapel at its heart was, by 2010, little more than a dilapidated ruin.

The Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin Great Ilford

The Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin Great Ilford looks west along Ilford High Road, on the corner of Buckingham Road. The parish of Great Ilford differentiates itself from Little Ilford, which is just to the west, across the River Roding. These parishes were divided from the far older parish of St Margaret of Antioch, Barking, in 1830, and the new church was designed by the renowned architect, James Savage. It was opened in 1831 as Ilford's first parish church.

The Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin Great Ilford

While much of the original building remains, it was extended several times before the Second World War for its growing congregation. Plans to build a much larger neo-Gothic building at the beginning of the twentieth century were only partly realised with the result that the magnificent chancel at one end and imposing Victorian tower with its ring of eight bells at the other, enclose a much more moderate nave. The Resurrection Chapel is in the south-east corner (see above).

Seven Kings Baptist Church

Seven Kings Baptist Church was on the northern side of Cameron Road, opposite the railway station car park. The Baptists were the first to open a church at Seven Kings, a temporary building in 1899. A permanent church was built in 1913. The building was demolished in 1982 and replaced by a sheltered housing complex, named after the first minister at that site, John Chadwick. The members merged with Seven Kings United Free Church at their site.

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