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Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of East London

by Peter Kessler, 11 October 2019

Newham Part 6: Churches of Plaistow & West Ham

Elim Fellowship Church and House of Faith Elim Way, Plaistow, London

The House of Faith Elim Way Church is on the east side of Elim Way (about forty metres along), which itself is opposite the cemetery entrance on Grange Road (below). Only the very start of the street exists on the OS 25-inch 1892-1914 map, as a gap between terraced housing. Post-war, a through road connected Grange Road to today's Bethell Avenue and a 'ruin' existed on the chapel site. By 2011 what was Elim Fellowship Church had been given its current name.

East London Cemetery & Crematorium Chapel, Plaistow, London

East London Cemetery & Crematorium Chapel is reached via the main entrance on Plaistow's Grange Road. The cemetery opened in 1872, with a site that covers 13.4 hectares. Both chapels can seat seventy, with standing room for a further thirty and each has an organ. The cremation chapel is non-denominational, decorated in a simple, elegant style. The burial chapel has been consecrated by the Church of England, traditionally decorated with stained-glass windows.

Calvary Church of God in Christ, Plaistow, London

The Calvary Church of God in Christ (Bethany Assembly), Plaistow, is on the eastern side of Chesterton Road at its western end, and immediately south of the junction with Chesterton Terrace. A converted Victorian house, in 2011 when this shot was taken the mission was 'temporarily closed'. By 2018 the building had been overhauled, painted entirely in white, and renamed the Church of God in Christ, Congregational Independent, House of Refuge.

St Cuthbert's Church, Plaistow, London

The lost St Cuthbert's Church, Florence Road in Plaistow, was the third of the mission churches to be founded by St Stephen's, being opened in 1902. It is shown on relevant OS maps as a mission hall on the corner of Salmen Road, two blocks farther down from the site shown here which was home to the later St Mary's Hospital. The mission hall was bombed during the Second World War and was not rebuilt. The site was sold to the borough council to be used for flats.

Salvation Army Citadel, Plaistow, London

Plaistow's Salvation Army Citadel. Upper Road, sat on the southern side, near the High Street. Salvation Army work started at nearby Canning Town in 1872. It spread into Plaistow in 1873, and the Upper Road hall was registered in 1875. This was still in use in 1966 but by 2013 it was boarded up and closed, and remained as such in 2018. A young people's hall was opened briefly in The Broadway at the other end of Plaistow High Street between 1903 and 1904.

St Mary's Church, Plaistow, London

St Mary's Church, Plaistow, lay between St Mary's Road and May Road to the north of the High Street. It was built in 1830 as a chapel-of-ease to All Saints West Ham on a site given by Sir John H Pelly. The first building was in brick in a late Perpendicular style with pinnacled turrets. The church in this photograph replaced it in 1894. A separate parish was formed in 1844 and a great deal of mission work from here led to the formation of more churches and new parishes.

St Mary's Church, Plaistow, London

These missions included St Katherine, Chapman Road, temporarily opened in 1891 in what previously was a school, rebuilt in 1894, and demolished in 1965; and St Thomas on nearby Northern Road, built 1898 and demolished about 1950. As for the second St Mary's building, it was found to be too large for post-war congregations and was demolished around 1977 in favour of the present smaller building which opened in 1981 on the site of the former hall.

North Street Hall, Plaistow, London

North Street Hall was on North Street itself. It began with a Baptist mission of 1796, held in private houses in Plaistow. In 1807 a group of Independents and Baptists opened this hall and they unified in 1812. They opened Balaam Street Church in 1860 (see links) to replace the hall which was taken by Plymouth Brethren in 1903. This may have been their Welcome Mission Hall in North Street, registered in 1923. Later part of Curwen Press it was still there in 1970.

Newham United Reformed Church, West Ham, London

Newham United Reformed Church, West Ham, is at 663 Barking Road, midway between Credon Road and Samson Street on the west side. It began in 1886 with independent Primitive Methodists who became Congregationalists in 1888. Their small Samson Street Chapel was replaced in 1892 with an iron church here on Barking Road. Now called Greengate Church, it was joined by Balaam Street members in 1943. The building was bombed in 1945 and replaced in 1949-56.

St Martin's Church, West Ham, London

St Martin's Church, West Ham, lies along Boundary Road, close to the south-western corner with Claughton Road on the boundary between Plaistow and West Ham. Originally built as a mission church in 1894 it tended to the needs of some of the more distant parishioners of St Andrew's Church in Plaistow (see links). For a period between the two world wars it served a conventional district, but later reverted to its original status as a mission church.

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