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Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of East London

by Peter Kessler, 19 December 2010

Redbridge Part 14: Churches of Ilford

Hospital Chapel of St Mary & St Thomas of Canterbury

The Hospital Chapel of St Mary & St Thomas of Canterbury is on the southern side of Ilford Hill. It was founded about 1145 by Adelicia (Adeliza), abbess of Barking, as a hospice for thirteen aged and infirm men. The complex consists of the chapel itself plus almshouses on each side. The nave and chancel of the present building were built during the fourteenth century, and the hospital survived the Dissolution, probably because it also served as a chapel of ease.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints occupies a large plot on the northern side of Audrey Road, and faces out over the busy Winston Way which bypasses Ilford High Road. The two-storey building is modern, probably not more than ten years old, and looks more like an apartment block than a place of worship, with a large extension into a private car park at the rear. Only the needlepoint white tower at the southern end gives it any religious appearance.

Ilford Methodist Church

Ilford Methodist Church lies on the south-west corner of Ilford Lane and Britannia Road. The three Methodist connections which united in 1932 all had churches in Ilford, but none of these was directly descended from the original Wesleyan Chapel in the village, founded about 1817. That chapel was weakened by the Reform controversy of 1849-1851, which led to the formation of this rival Ilford Lane United Methodist Free Chapel, and closed soon after 1863.

Ilford Methodist Church

The High Road (Wesleyan) Methodist Church erected an iron building in 1884 and a permanent church in 1895. In 1959 it merged with Ilford Lane, forming a new society called Ilford Methodist Church, which in 1961 moved into the present building on Ilford Lane (replacing the 1902 Perpendicular building), while the High Road church was sold for demolition. Connaught Road (Primitive) Methodist Church opened an iron building in 1897. In 1936 its members joined Ilford Lane.

Clementswood Baptist Church

Clementswood Baptist Church is at the south-west corner of Ilford Lane and Hamilton Road, south of the Methodist Church. It began about 1903, when a group of Evangelists met in Loxford Assembly Room, Ilford Lane. In 1904 they moved to a hall, formally constituted as Kingston Road Tabernacle in 1906, but were asked to leave in 1907. In 1908 an iron church was put up on the present site. A permanent church, delayed by the First World War, opened in 1927.

Apostolic Church Kingston Road (House of Prayer)

The Apostolic Church Kingston Road (House of Prayer) lies on the northern side of Kingston Road, just off Ilford Lane and behind the shops fronting the lane. Barking Apostolic Church was established in Linton Road in Barking by 1933, but in 1960 the building was compulsorily purchased for demolition as part of a municipal development scheme, and the congregation amalgamated with this one at Ilford, whose building probably also dates to the 1930s.

The Parish Church of St Luke Great Ilford

The Parish Church of St Luke Great Ilford lies on the northern side of Baxter Road in the Loxford area of Ilford, on the southern border of the borough of Redbridge with that of Barking & Dagenham. The present church was built in 1915, replacing a smaller church which was then converted into the parish hall (below). It gained its own parish from St Clement in 1916. The building is of stone and red brick, designed by E T Dunn in a scholarly Perpendicular style.

The Parish Church of St Luke Great Ilford

It consists of an aisled nave and transepts, but the cruciform plan was never completed and the chancel remained unbuilt. In 1940 the church was virtually destroyed during a bombing raid but was rebuilt in the original style, reopening in 1954. In 1983 the church was completely reorientated, placing the altar at the west end and creating a new chapel, meeting rooms, kitchen and toilets at the east end. In 1998, a donation allowed the church to redecorate the interior.

Jubilee International Church (House of Prayer)

Jubilee International Church (House of Prayer) is an Apostolic church which occupies St Luke’s Church Hall on Baxter Road, immediately west of the church itself. The hall served first as St Luke's Church itself, being built in 1909, but was replaced in 1915 when the present church was built. The old church was then converted into the parish hall. It served again as St Luke's in 1940-1954, when the church was damaged by enemy bombing and needed to be rebuilt.

The Catholic Church of St Mary & St Erconwold

The Catholic Church of St Mary & St Erconwold is on the south-east corner of Ilford Lane and Khartoum Road on the very edge of Redbridge. The church was opened in 1953 in an iron building which had previously been used as the Emmanuel Congregational Church (since 1906). The present building was put up at a later date, although a date is unavailable. Judging by the architectural style and the bricks used, it was probably at some point in the 1980s.

All photos on this page by P L Kessler.

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