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Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of East London

by Peter Kessler, 11 October 2019

Newham Part 7: Churches of West Ham & East Ham

Our Lady of Compassion Catholic Church, West Ham, London

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 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, East Ham, London

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is at 56 Tudor Road, at the very eastern end of the street. In 1856 two societies of Latter-Day Saints registered premises in West Ham. One, at the Carpenters Arms, Church Street, cancelled its registration in 1866. The other, at 5 Wharf Place, Canning Town, had ceased by 1897. A Stratford meeting of 1868 also failed, while the present church must descend from the Workmen's Hall Meeting in West Ham Lane.

Elim Church Arragon Lane, East Ham, London

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, East Ham, London

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, East Ham, London

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 (see above).

St George & St Ethelbert, East Ham, London

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.

St George & St Ethelbert, East Ham, London

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 building.

East Ham Jewish Cemetery Chapel, London

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 overhead.

St Mary Magdalene, East Ham, London

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 of restoration.

St Mary Magdalene, East Ham, London

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 1966.

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