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Gallery: Churches of East London
by Peter Kessler, 10 January 2009
Waltham Forest Part 16: Churches of Highams Park
& Chingford Hatch
Highams Park United Reformed Church
is on Malvern Avenue, to the east of the railway line. The church
originated as a mission for Woodford Union Church. Services were
started in a cottage at Hale End in 1875 by both Baptist and
Congregational members in the early months of their secession from
Woodford Congregational Church. A small iron hall was built in 1881
and enlarged in 1887. In 1893 a church of 23 members was formed in
fellowship with Woodford Union.
A new church was built in 1897 and registered in
1898 as Congregational & United Free Methodist. It was also known as
Hale End Free church. In 1905 it became independent of Woodford
Union, and in 1915 it was reregistered as Congregational. From about
1912 it was known as Highams Park Church. In 1927 a hall was added
and this housed services after the church was damaged by Second
World War bombing. The church reopened after restoration in 1949.
Winchester Road Methodist Church,
Highams Park, is on the road of the same name, immediately to the
west of Malvern Road, across the railway line. It opened in 1903 in
an iron building on a site given by John Hitchman, at which time it
was a United Church. The permanent church was opened in 1904,
although a stone was laid on 3 October 1908, 'by John Hitchman Esq
of Walthamstow, donor of the site. George Baines, R Palmer Baines,
At the time of its opening, the church had 133
members. The society in its early years received help from Shern
Hall Methodist Church, but during the Blitz of 1940 it was damaged.
Repairs followed after the war, and a community centre was built
beside the church (on the far right in the previous photo), comprising
the Sunday school (1956) and the Memorial and Hodgson halls (1960).
These buildings were built in greyish-pink brick. In 1969 the church
had 179 members.
Highams Park Baptist Church lies on the
southern side of Cavendish Road, opposite Selwyn Avenue School. It
began in 1913 when Greenleaf Road members started a mission in the
school. A church was formed in 1915 and a building erected on the
present site in about 1917. The present church was opened in 1932.
Membership, which was 82 in 1939, rose after the Second World War
from 189 in 1949 to 293 in 1956, when a Fellowship hall was opened.
United Synagogue Highams Park serves
Highams Park and Chingford's Hebrew congregation. It lies on the
northern side of Marlborough Road, which connects to Cavendish Road
via Nelson Road. The hall is dedicated to Marc and Adele
Blair, and the synagogue was consecrated by the Very Reverend Dr J
H Hertz, Chief Rabbi, and opened by Henry B Pole Esq on 22 August
1937. The style is basic art-deco, with rounded corners, but very
little else to remark upon.
All Saints Church Highams Park is on
the corner of Castle Avenue and Church Lane. It was formerly
known as All Saints-on-the-Hill, to avoid confusion with
All Saints Selwyn Avenue. That church started in 1898
as a mission on this site on Castle Avenue for St Peter's-in-the-Forest,
and it gained its own parish in 1912. In the same year a new
and larger parish church, designed by Hoare & Wheeler, was
built a little way to the south, on Selwyn Avenue.
The Selwyn Avenue site had been home to an iron
mission room known as St Matthew's Mission, since 1908. The
new building, of brown brick with Decorated windows, was incomplete
at the east end. The original church on Castle Avenue,
All Saints-on-the-Hill, became a chapel of ease to the new church.
Since then, All Saints Selwyn Avenue was closed, completely demolished,
and cleared (probably for housing), and its chapel of ease is now the
parish church for the area.
Handsworth Avenue Methodist Church
formerly stood on the corner of Handsworth Avenue and Church Avenue.
It began as Highams Park Wesleyan church in 1906-1907. The original
church building was completed in 1909. It gained its later name in
1937, and by 1969 it had 49 members. Membership must have dropped
off after that time as the church was demolished in 2009 to make way for a block
of luxury flats, completion of which was due in 2010.
St Anne's Parish Church is on the eastern
side of Larkshall Road near Chingford Hatch, due north of Highams
Park. An iron mission church was opened here in 1890 on a site
donated by the Ainslie family of Rolls, Inks Green. In her 1901
will, Elizabeth Ainslie left £1,500 for the erection of a permanent
church and by 1953 this legacy, including interest, amounted to
£4,056. In that year it was used, with other funds, to build the
present church. It gained its own parish in 1956.