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Gallery: Churches of East London
by Peter Kessler, 11 October 2019. Updated
22 October 2019
Our Lady of Compassion Catholic Church is
between Green Street and the former West Ham United football ground,
close to Barking Road in West Ham. During the 1580s a secret
Catholic printing press operated for a short time from Green Street.
Boleyn Castle Catholic Chapel opened in East Ham in 1901. It
was attached to St Edward's industrial school, opened 1870, closed
1906 when a Catholic school opened in Castle Street, to be replaced
by Our Lady in 1911.
The old Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day
Saints is at 56 Tudor Road, at the south-east corner. In 1856
two Latter-Day Saints groups registered in West Ham. One - Carpenters
Arms, Church Street - was cancelled in 1866. The other - 5 Wharf Place,
Canning Town - ended by 1897. An 1868 Stratford meeting also failed,
while the Workmen's Hall Meeting, West Ham Lane, may have met
here. In 1923 Upton Park District Synagogue was built here,
closing fairly recently.
Elim Church Arragon Lane occupies a new
building at the northern end of Arragon Road (sic), on the western
side in front of Cleves Primary School. It is a sister church to the
one on Central Park Road (below). The building is the ICM Centre -
International Christian Missionaries - while behind it is the Priory
Park Centre. The site was formerly occupied by Victorian housing
right up to the school boundary, but the last four houses were lost
since the 1960s.
St Alban's Christian Centre, Wakefield
Street in East Ham, is at the south-west corner with Friar's Road.
The original church was an iron structure of 1887, replaced by a
brick building started in 1903. The Lady Chapel and vestries were
completed in 1934, but the building was damaged by bombs in 1940.
Repairs in 1949 found the roof to be unsafe and demolition followed
in 1950. Flats now stand on the site, while the old church hall is
the present Christian centre.
Elim Church Central Park Road sits at the
convergence of Geoffrey Gardens and Cheltenham Gardens in East Ham.
In 1926 a building on this site was registered as a place of worship
under the name of the Elim Tabernacle. The site was still in
use in 1965, subtitled on the then-current OS map as Elim Foursquare
Gospel. By then this building had been erected, if not in 1926,
while a sister Elim church has since been opened on Arragon Road
The Parish Church of St George & St
Ethelbert is on Burford Road, while also backing onto Buxton
Road in East Ham. This was one of several mission churches planted
by St Mary's Church Plaistow. It originated about 1912 when a site
was purchased on the Greatfield Estate. By 1914 a temporary, wooden
St George's Mission Hall had been erected on the corner of
Boston Road (the next street along from Buxton Road) and Masterman
Road, gaining its own parish in 1923.
The present church building was erected in
1936-37, after which the mission building became St George's Hall.
That caught fire in 1954 and was subsequently demolished. The site
has since been re-used for a terraced set of houses. The addition of
St Ethelbert to the name was due to the diocese of Hereford - where
King Ethelbert of East Anglia was killed and buried in 793/4 -
meeting over half the total cost of construction for the church
East Ham Jewish Cemetery Prayer Hall lies
within wide cemetery grounds between Masterman Road and Lonsdale Avenue,
albeit hidden on both sides by terraced housing, with its main
entrance at the western end of Marlow Road. This cemetery was
opened in 1919 and, like Plashet Cemetery, it belongs to the United
Synagogue. Some headstones are damaged in a diagonal line, adjudged
to be shrapnel or bullet holes due to a Second World War dogfight
The Ancient Parish Church of St Mary Magdalene,
East Ham, sits between High Street South and Norman Road. Records
from 1086 suggest an Anglo-Saxon church was here before being
replaced. The walls are mainly coursed ragstone rubble with some
flint and Roman tile. The nave, chancel, and apse were built early
in the 1100s and have been relatively little altered. The tower
probably dates from the early 1200s, but has undergone a good deal
The west and south doorways in the nave are both
from the 1100s, and two windows of the same period survive. The apse
still contains faint remains of thirteenth century wall paintings
but others mentioned in records have since been lost. The earliest
elements of the tower may have been built a little earlier than the
start of the 1200s due to the lack of weathering in the masonry in
the west wall of the nave. Restorations were completed in 1896 and
All photos on this page by P L Kessler (from