History Files

Please help the History Files

Contributed: 175

Target: 400

Totals slider

The History Files still needs your help. As a non-profit site, it is only able to support such a vast and ever-growing collection of information with your help, and this year your help is needed more than ever. Please make a donation so that we can continue to provide highly detailed historical research on a fully secure site. Your help really is appreciated.



Churches of the British Isles

Gallery: Churches of East London

by Peter Kessler, 5 September 2010

Havering Part 2: Churches of Rainham, South Hornchurch & Elm Park

Our Lady of Salette Catholic Church, Rainham, Havering, East London

Our Lady of Salette Catholic Church is on the western side of Rainham Road, backing onto New Road. Edward Drury was charged with recusancy in 1641, but no local papists existed in a return of 1676. A temporary iron church was built in Cowper Road, opposite the gospel mission around 1902. This closed about 1938 when a brick barn formerly belonging to Dovers Farm was registered for worship in 1939. The present building was opened on an adjoining site in 1967.

Whybridge Christian Fellowship Church, Rainham, Havering, East London

Whybridge Christian Fellowship Church lies on the southern side of Rainham Road, midway between Hubert Road and Cherry Tree Lane in South Hornchurch. It began as Whybridge Hall about 1930, named after the nearby Whybridge Estate. Local farmer James Vellacctt purchased the land and set up the Rainham Evangelisation Trust to oversee the setting up of the church, with input by London City Mission. By 1978 it was Whybridge Evangelical Free Church.

Word of Life Worship Centre, South Hornchurch, Havering, East London

Word of Life Worship Centre is on the northern side of Frederick Road, midway between Spencer and Manser roads, in South Hornchurch. The centre began as the Full Gospel Church of the Assemblies of God before 1951. It underwent some rebuilding in 2008 or 2009 to produce the present centre with its peculiar construction: a place of worship housing Praise Chapel Christian Fellowship sandwiched between two individually-occupied residential slices.

St John's Church, South Hornchurch, Havering, East London

St John's Church sits on the southern side of South End Road, opposite Princes Park. A mission hall, situated on what is now the car park, was erected in 1864 and enlarged in 1882. By the inter-war period it was a mission for St Nicholas, Elm Park (below). In 1954, the administration passed to St Helen's in Rainham and work soon commenced on the present building, which was consecrated by the bishop of Barking on 9 March 1957. The church gained its own parish in 1992.

Elm Park Methodist Church, Elm Park, Havering, East London

Elm Park Methodist Church stands on the western side of Mungo Park Road, accessible via the side road that is Freeborne Gardens. Various plans seem to have been laid for the construction of the church on this site from 1935 onwards, while the surrounding area was being built up from farmland. The church was finally built and opened in 1957. The original building has been lost, however, and replaced by the present functional 1990s block attached to housing and shops.

St Alban's Catholic Church, Elm Park, Havering, East London

St Alban's Catholic Church lies between Langsdale Gardens and Ullswater Road, close to Camforth Gardens in the Elm Park area of South Hornchurch. Elm Park was not developed until after the arrival of the electrified District line in 1935, and within twenty years it was realised that a Catholic church would be needed. As a result, the present church was built in 1960 and has a classic appearance that nevertheless is very much of the period. It is served by the Verona Fathers.

Elm Park Baptist Church, Elm Park, Havering, East London

Elm Park Baptist Church is on a corner plot between Rosewood and Ambleside avenues. The church originated in 1937, with house meetings and a Sunday School which were supported by the Hornchurch Baptists and the Essex Baptist Association. A school chapel was built in 1938, and the church was formally constituted in 1939. The building was damaged by bombing in 1940. A youth hall was added in 1946, and the present church replaced the original in 1963.

Elm Park Synagogue, Elm Park, Havering, East London

Elm Park Synagogue stood on the southern side of Woburn Avenue, roughly two-thirds of the way westwards down the street. Elm Park affiliated synagogue was established in 1939, and became affiliated to the United Synagogue in 1948. A permanent Orthodox building was erected here in 1949. The synagogue was demolished about 2008-2009, and could still be found in online directories in 2010. Woburn Court apartment buildings were constructed in the site.

St Nicholas Parish Church, Elm Park, Havering, East London

St Nicholas Parish Church Elm Park is on the north-western corner of St Nicholas Avenue and Woodcote Avenue, at the northern edge of Elm Park. The church originated in 1936, when a temporary building was erected on the site. The present permanent church, in unadorned red brick with a small south bell tower, was opened in 1956. The church gained its own parish from part of that of St Andrew in 1957, the advowson of the vicarage being vested in the bishop.

Bethany Chapel, Elm Park, Havering, East London

Bethany Chapel used to stand on the western side of Abbs Cross Lane (at No 208), behind the 1930s semi-detached houses which front the street and almost opposite Devonshire Road, with Parkhill Close to the rear. The Brethren chapel stood by 1935, but was demolished about 2007-2008 and an apartment block erected. Other Brethren chapels included Emerson Park Chapel, Athelstan Chapel in Harold Wood, and Hillview Hall on Hillview Avenue, Hornchurch.

Nine photos on this page by P L Kessler.



Images and text copyright © all contributors mentioned on this page. An original feature for the History Files.