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Churches of the British Isles

Gallery: Churches of East London

by Peter Kessler, 22 May 2011

Havering Part 7: Churches of Romford

The Parish Church of St John the Devine, Romford, Havering, East London

The Parish Church of St John the Devine Romford stands inside the corner of Mawney Road and Pretoria Road at the northern end of Romford. The brick church originated in 1897, when an iron mission, in Romford parish, was opened in Willow Street. In 1928, after long delays, the first stage of a permanent church was opened on the present site in Mawney Road. A separate parish, taken out of St Edward the Confessor and St Andrew, both in Romford, was assigned to it.

The Parish Church of St John the Devine, Romford, Havering, East London

Designed by W D Caröe in Byzantine style, the first stage comprised sanctuary, part of the chancel, and temporary nave. In the second stage (1932), the chancel was completed and a five bay aisled nave added. A side chapel was added (in memory of the vicar's late mother), in 1948, and a choir vestry in 1966-1967. Parts of the plan, including the upper tower and three western bays of the nave, were never finished. The church closed in early 2009 following the vicar's death.

Romford Christian Centre (Apostolic Church), Romford, Havering, East London

Romford Christian Centre (Apostolic Church) is on the northern side of Ingrave Road, midway between Dunton and Aveley roads. Founded as Romford Town Mission about 1886, meetings were held first in a Mawneys estate cottage, then in Laurie Hall (by 1895), and Regent Hall on Market Place (1913-1929) before the present site was taken. It ceased about 1933. The Brethren took it over as Ingrave Hall and by 2011 it was Romford Community Church (Apostolic).

Coverdale Independent Chapel, Romford, Havering, East London

Coverdale Independent Chapel is on the western side of Collier Row Lane (now North Street), sandwiched between Cosmo Street and Brooklands Lane. It started in 1846, in a secession from the Union Chapel (below). The small chapel was opened in 1847 almost opposite the Union Chapel. The split was healed in 1853, and the two churches reunited. The Coverdale building was sold in 1887 and converted into a dwelling. By 2010 it was a branch of the Samaritans.

Union Chapel, Romford, Havering, East London

Union Chapel stood on the eastern side of North Street, roughly at the south-east corner of Ingrave Road. Collier Row Lane Church originally stood here. It united in 1819 with Bethel Chapel and the Union Chapel was erected on the same site in 1823. The Congregational Church replaced it in 1877 and the old building served as a Salvation Army hall, an Anglican mission, a printing works (about 1900-1920), and a Peculiar People's chapel before demolition about 1934.

Romford Christian Spiritualist Church, Romford, Havering, East London

Romford Christian Spiritualist Church lies in a narrow, enclosed plot on the northern side of Church Lane (now St Edward's Way), opposite Market Link. Originally, meetings were held in a hall in Brooklands Road (1923-1928), before the present church was erected in 1929, paid for by voluntary subscriptions. The congregation increased, and in 1937 a larger church was built behind the previous one, which became a hall. The hall (the old church) is shown here.

St Edward the Confessor Catholic Church, Romford, Havering, East London

St Edward the Confessor Catholic Church lies between Church Lane, Park End Road, and St Edward's Way at the northern edge of the town centre. In 1852 a cottage in Church Lane was registered for Roman Catholic worship. The church, of Kentish ragstone, was built in 1856 by William Petre, Lord Petre, apparently on the site of an ancient chapel. The Sisters of Mercy Convent was founded on nearby Western Road in 1908 but has long since been lost to development.

Romford Baptist Church, Romford, Havering, East London

Romford Baptist Church is on the southern side of Main Road, midway between Mercury Gardens and Junction Road. It was the first Baptist church to open in the town, in 1836, and was then called Main Road Baptist Church. It was renamed at a later date, and by 1971, with 594 members, it was one of the largest Baptist churches in England. It has founded two other churches, Chase Cross and Dagenham Baptist churches, and helped to form a third, at Harold Park.

Romford United Reformed Church, Romford, Havering, East London

Romford United Reformed Church is on the southern side of Western Road, at the very middle of the street. The church was built in 1965 to serve as a replacement for Romford Congregational Church on South Street, which was demolished in that year. Following the 1972 union with the Presbyterians it was also known as Western Road United Reformed Church. The polygonal building is of red brick with central spirelet and has halls behind it.

Romford & District Synagogue, Romford, Havering, East London

Romford & District Synagogue is on the northern side of Eastern Road with Grimshaw Way behind it. A congregation was formed in 1933, gaining temporary burial rights in 1934. A synagogue hall in Palm Road was registered in 1938 but activities were suspended during the war, to be resumed at a house on Eastern Road. A permanent synagogue was built in the garden in 1954. In 1970 the house was demolished and the present, larger synagogue was built on the site.

Nine photos on this page by P L Kessler.



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