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Churches of the British Isles

Gallery: Churches of East London

by Peter Kessler, 2 May 2010

Redbridge Part 12: Churches of Gants Hill

St Laurence Church, Barkingside, Redbridge, East London

St Laurence Church Barkingside is on the eastern side of Donington Avenue, on the corner with Hamilton Avenue, close to Newbury Park (originally known as Horns Village). An iron mission church dedicated to St Laurence was erected on nearby Netley Road before 1890. It was enlarged in 1898, but remained attached to Holy Trinity, Barkingside, until 1934, when a conventional district was created from parts of the parishes of Holy Trinity, St Peter, and St Clement, Ilford.

St Laurence Church, Barkingside, Redbridge, East London

A church hall was built in Emmott Avenue, on the southern side of the present church (to the left of this photo), which was opened in 1939. The district became a parish at the same time. The church was built in brown brick with an aisled nave, transepts, and a central tower. Structural provision was made to add a chancel and raise the height of the tower at some future date. The congregation of 2010 was not large, but the church was tidy and well kept.

Cranley Road Christian Centre, Barkingside, Redbridge, East London

Cranley Road Christian Centre lies on the north side of Cranley Road, on the corner with Badger Close. Since October 2004 the chapel has been used by the Emmanuel Christian Fellowship, and is organised with leanings towards the Baptist church. Most of the members are from various parts of southern India, especially from Sri Lanka where many tried to escape the war there. Some have a Hindu background, and Sunday services are in Tamil.

Church of St Margaret of Antioch, Barkingside, Redbridge, East London

The Parish Church of St Margaret of Antioch occupies the northern end of Balfour Road, on the south-eastern corner with Perth Road. The church was built to a design by Edwin T Dunn and consecrated on 10 October 1914 as a chapel-of ease to St Clement, Ilford. It was built in red brick which looks warm and welcoming in the sunlight, in the Perpendicular style, containing an aisled nave and a chancel. A conventional district was formed in 1960.

Church of St Margaret of Antioch, Barkingside, Redbridge, East London

The parish absorbed that of the redundant St Clement's, which was demolished in 1977. The union of the two parishes was not effected until November 2002, as the St Clement's congregation had been meeting in a worship centre built into the upper level of Cecil Hall, a former parish hall. The new parish covers the north-eastern part of Ilford, a largely residential area, but also includes part of the heavily urbanised and extremely busy town centre.

Church of St George, Barkingside, Redbridge, East London

The Parish Church of St George Barkingside is on the eastern side of Woodford Avenue, on the corner with Gantshill Crescent. In 1899 an iron mission church was opened at the southern end of the parish of Barkingside, in the district then called the Beehive and which is now known as Gants Hill. In 1927 a larger, temporary church was built on the same site and in the following year a new parish was formed from parts of Holy Trinity, Barkingside, and St Clement, Ilford.

Church of St George, Barkingside, Redbridge, East London

The foundation stone for the permanent church building was laid by Lady Cooper CBE on 27 June 1931, and the completed church was consecrated in 1932. It was designed by Sir Charles Archibald Nicholson, second baronet of Luddenham (1867-1949), a well-known ecclesiastical architect, and is built in red brick, with a nave, chancel, lady chapel and organ chamber. The base of the west tower forms a baptistery, and the bishop of Chelmsford is patron of the vicarage.

Gants Hill United Reformed Church, Redbridge, East London

Gants Hill United Reformed Church is on the west side of Woodford Avenue, virtually opposite St George's. The church was founded as Woodford Avenue Congregational Church, with help from Ilford High Road Church. The first building was erected in 1927, and the present church, a brown-brick building with a long frontage, Gothic windows, and a tower, was completed alongside it in 1931. It also hosts All Souls Mission of the Redeemed Christian Church of God.

Ilford Synagogue, Gants Hill, Redbridge, East London

Ilford Synagogue, Gants Hill is on the northern side of Beehive Lane. The synagogue was founded in 1936, and moved to its present site at some point in the 1960s. The 'cathedral style' building has been maintained ever since as a community building which is constantly being improved. About 2008 a major refurbishment of the Mark Lewis Hall and the kitchen was undertaken to serve a varied membership ranging from strictly orthodox to less observant members.

The Drive Methodist Church, Gants Hill, Redbridge, East London

The Drive Methodist Church is on the south-eastern corner of The Drive and Eastern Avenue. It was opened on 8 September 1928 as Eastern Avenue Methodist Church. After the First World War, the local population grew rapidly and between 1928-1932 a school hall and tennis courts were added to the site on donated land. Church attendance declined in the 1960s, and when Cranbrook Park Church closed the two congregations merged and the church was renamed.

All photos on this page by P L Kessler.



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