The Parish Church of St Elisabeth's Becontree
occupies the south-west corner of Wood Lane and Hewett Road. In 1931
the temporary church of St Christopher was put up on Raydons
Road (close to Bethel London Riverside Church, see below). The following
year the permanent church of St Elisabeth, Wood Lane, was built to cater for
this southern-central section of the Becontree Estate, the world's
largest council-owned housing estate.
Funds for the construction of the church were subscribed
by the Chelmsford Diocese Mothers' Union. The church is a red-brick
building with stone mullioned windows, and consists of an aisled nave,
chancel, organ chamber, Lady chapel, and north-west bellcote (visible in
the centre of the previous photo). St Christopher's continued as a mission
church until it was closed in 1962. The bishop of Chelmsford is patron of
the vicarage of St Elisabeth.
Wood Lane Baptist Church (Halley Memorial Hall)
is on the southern side of Wood Lane, close to the Keppel Road junction.
The Baptists, mainly through the initiative of their Essex Extension
Committee, built four churches in Becontree: Dagenham Baptist Church (1928),
Becontree Avenue (1929), Oxlow Lane (1939), and Wood Lane itself in 1933.
The Wood Lane church was donated by Mrs Halley in memory of her husband and
therefore bears his name.
The Catholic Church of the Holy Family, Oxlow
Lane lies on the northern side of Oxlow Lane, opposite Halbutt Street
in Becontree. A mission for the central area of the Becontree Estate was
established on the site in 1928. The present church was opened in 1934,
and now sits alongside a school. The building is constructed in red
brick, orientated north-east to south-west, with nave and chancel
and a bell turret at the north-east end (visible on the right here).
Dagenham Evangelical Congregational Church
occupies Osborne Hall, at the centre of Osborne Square, which is a
cul-de-sac that leads off the circular road of the same name. The
church was founded in 1930 by the London Missionary Society and the
London Congregational Union, and the present building was erected in
1931. It sits behind plain steel fencing and is affiliated with the
Evangelical Fellowship of Congregational Churches.
St George's Church Dagenham occupies a
long plot along the eastern side of Rogers Road in Becontree, with
the church building sitting opposite Petit's Road. The location is an
open and very pleasant one, on a quiet suburban side street, with
budding trees (in April) on the grounds partially obscuring the front
of the church. The church was opened in 1929 in a temporary building.
The present building replaced it in 1935, gaining its own parish at
the same time.
The building was constructed by architect Sir
William Milner, whose firm, Milner & Craze, was also responsible
for the building of St Thomas, Oakwood, in 1939, and St Alban, Becontree,
in 1934. It was built in brown brick and consists of a nave with passage
aisles and a chancel flanked by chapels. The advowson of the vicarage is
held by the bishop of Chelmsford, and a hall lies alongside the church
(to the right of this photo), almost as large as the church itself.
Bethel London Riverside Church is on the southern
side of Parsloes Avenue, opposite Harris Road. The church has had an active
involvement in the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham since its
commencement in 1927. By 2010 the building was too small for a burgeoning
membership, so meetings began to be held at the 800-seater Castle Green
Community Centre which had a state of the art auditorium. Sunday night
events continued to be held at Parsloes Avenue.
Porters Avenue Methodist Church used to lay on
the northern side of Porters Avenue, opposite Gale Street (to the lower left
of the mini-roundabout). Manor Road Primitive Methodist Church existed
in Barking in 1861 (Manor Road later formed the north end of Linton Road). This
appears to have closed between 1929 and 1933. Porters Avenue church was possibly
founded by the same group, and opened in 1936. It closed in or after 1965, and
was demolished about 2008.
There is an Unknown Church on the southern side
of Lillechurch Road, opposite Easebourne Road, in the south-western area
of the Becontree Estate. No data seems to be available for it and the church
itself seems to have been closed for several years. That it is a church is in
no doubt, as the small painted sign at the centre of the frontage, just below
the roof, says so. But the rest of the sign cannot be read. The building
almost certainly dates to about 1930.