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Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of East London

by Peter Kessler, 16 August 2009. Updated 1 March 2012

 

 

Waltham Forest Part 2: Churches of Leytonstone

Leytonstone United Free Church

Leytonstone United Free Church is a joint Baptist and United Reformed Church on the south-west corner of Fairlop Road and Wallwood Road. The site's use originated with Fillebrook Baptist Church, which began with local meetings in 1874. A modest Victorian building was opened on the present site in 1878, and a hall was added in 1888. The Baptist church was demolished in the 1960s following a reduction in attendees, and meetings were held in the church's halls.

Fillebrook Baptist Church

In 1972 the Congregational and Presbyterian churches in England combined to form the United Reformed Church. In 1979, Leytonstone Baptist church and the URC church (the former Congregational Church, see below) also merged. The first meetings were in the old Baptist church halls, but this proved unsatisfactory, so a new building was agreed. The present church opened in 1991, designed for the changed needs of its congregation, with a multifunctional chapel space.

Leytonstone High Road Methodist Church

Leytonstone High Road Methodist Church is on the corner of the High Road and Lister Road. Founded by Wesleyans who began preaching in 1875, the first building was a small 1876 iron church. The first permanent church was large, in brick with stone dressings and two Italianate west towers. It opened in 1880 and was enlarged in 1892 and 1902. It was demolished in 1968 to make way for the current building. The Ghanaian Methodist Fellowship also meets here.

Leytonstone Congregational Church

Leytonstone Congregational Church stood on the south-west corner of the High Road and Wellesley Road (now Michael Road). A large iron church was placed on Wellesley Road in 1873. The permanent church was build alongside that, but facing onto the High Road, in 1877. It was a large and elaborate construction, built in the Lombardic style, which was damaged by enemy bombing in 1944. It  reopened in 1946 but was demolished and replaced by flats in the 1960s.

Leytonstone Christ Apostolic Church

Leytonstone Christ Apostolic Church is in Ferndale Road, off the High Road. It began life as a London City Mission central hall in 1901 when Henry Borton, a builders' merchant at Wanstead, built it for his five evangelical children, Designed in brick and stone with baroque features by T & W Stone, it became a centre of evangelism in the district. In 1948 the London City Mission took charge, and between 1968-2008 it was handed over to the current owners.

Leytonstone Salvation Army Hall, Leytonstone, London

Leytonstone Salvation Army Hall is just off High Road Leytonstone, on Southwell Grove Road. SA work in Leytonstone began in 1886 in Cann Hall Road, but this ended by 1910. Due to the success of an open air ministry on Harrow Green, a new site was secured at the hall's current location in 1899. In 1901-1902 the worship hall was built by F J Coxhead (Corps Sergeant Major at Leyton Citadel), and in 1954 a community hall was added on to house the Sunday school.

Wesleyan Christian Centre, Leytonstone, East London

Wesleyan Christian Centre is at 1 Harrow Road in Leytonstone. The building also operates a day care centre. Wesleyan Methodism was introduced to Leytonstone by Mary Bosanquet (1739-1815), daughter of Samuel Bosanquet of Forest House. She was said to have been influenced by a servant, and wrote in her diary when only twelve years old, 'If I knew where to find the Methodists I would tear off all my fine things and run through the fire to them.'

St Margaret of Antioch, Woodbridge Road, Leytonstone

The Parish Church of St Margaret of Antioch is on Woodbridge Road in the Cann Hall district. It originated in 1884, when an iron mission church in connection with Holy Trinity in South Leytonstone was opened nearby to serve the working-class district near Wanstead Flats. A permanent church building was constructed soon afterwards and was opened in 1893. The building comprised of a chancel, nave, and north and south aisles, and was designed by J T Newman.

St Margaret of Antioch, Woodbridge Road, Leytonstone

The vestries were added in 1899 and the Lady Chapel in 1910. The flèche and tower included in the original design were never completed, but the church still has some notable furnishings. The high altar, carved by the people of Oberammergau in Bavaria, was presented in 1893. In 1951 the parish of the Church of St Columba (opened 1888 and wrecked by bombing in 1944) was amalgamated with St Margaret's, and the church roof was re-tiled in 2009.

Tabernacle Church of God

Leytonstone Tabernacle Church of God, with the inscription on its name board reading: 'Pillar and Ground of the Truth', is next door to St Margaret's, on Woodbridge Road. It began life in 1895 when the old iron mission church was moved from Lansdowne Road to this site adjoining the church for use as a parish room. This was burned down in 1908 and the church institute was built in 1910 and enlarged in 1930.

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