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Gallery: Churches of East London
by Peter Kessler, 19 December 2010
Redbridge Part 16: Churches of Ilford & Seven
Ilford High Road Baptist Church is on the
southern side of the High Road, with Green Lane on its west flank
(on the right in the photo). In 1830 there was a Baptist chapel in
Ilford village, its earliest nonconformist chapel. Ebenezer Strict
Baptist Church was formed in 1836 by seceders from the High Road
congregation, but the church flourished, remaining one of the biggest
in the district. The present building is late Victorian Gothic, but
its date is unknown.
City Gates Christian Centre High Road
occupies a confined plot on the busy south-western corner of the
High Road with Green Lane. This is the second City Gates centre in
Ilford, the other being on Clements Road. This Victorian building,
by 2010 painted a dull grey with white trimmings, has probably had
an interesting history before its conversion to a church, but the
details are unknown. Could it have been a cinema, perhaps?
St Peter & St Paul Catholic Church is
yet another of the many churches which occupy plots on the southern
side of Ilford High Road, this one being located between the High Road
Baptist Church (see above) and Ilford Spiritualist Church (see below).
In 1895 a Roman Catholic mission was opened at Ilford on the initiative
of the Reverend A S Barnes, a convert who had been chaplain of Ilford
Hospital. A mass-produced Victorian iron church was erected in Ilford
In 1899 the permanent church was opened on the
High Road. This is a brick building in the Perpendicular style, but
the entrance front and tower are faced with stone. It consists of an
apsidal chancel and an aisled and clerestoried nave, with the aisle
terminating in side chapels. It also has a baptistery and a west
gallery. In 1896 the Reverend (later Canon) Patrick Palmer started
an influential ministry at Ilford that lasted for fifty-two years. A
school was opened next door.
Ilford Spiritualist Church is just a few
metres to the east of the Catholic church, opposite Oaklands Park
Avenue. In 1903 the Spiritualists were meeting in Clock House Hall.
The present building was opened in 1908, with a memorial stone laid
by the Reverend T E M Edwards on 17 October 1908. A church was also
subsequently opened on Clements Road, and was licensed in 1933. At
some point that building was abandoned and by 2010 no trace could
be found of it.
Eden Christian Centre sits at the
north-west corner of Connaught Road and Stanley Road. The building
was opened as the Apostolic Church shortly before the Second
World War, during which it was wrecked by bombing and rendered
unusable. In 1960 the present building was erected as part of an
amalgamation scheme between the Apostolic congregations of Ilford
and Barking. Today it also operates Pathway Counselling, a Christian
Buckingham Road Cemetery Chapel stands in
the middle of the burial ground which occupies the north-east corner
of Buckingham Road and Stanley road, on the southern flank of St Mary
the Virgin Church (see below). The cemetery is maintained by Forest
Park Cemetery and Crematorium Ltd in Hainault, in partnership with
Redbridge Borough Council, but sadly the small Victorian brown-brick
chapel at its heart was, by 2010, little more than a dilapidated ruin.
The Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin Great
Ilford looks west along Ilford High Road, on the corner of
Buckingham Road. The parish of Great Ilford differentiates itself
from Little Ilford, which is just to the west, across the River
Roding. These parishes were divided from the far older parish of
St Margaret of Antioch, Barking, in 1830, and the new church was
designed by the renowned architect, James Savage. It was opened in
1831 as Ilford's first parish church.
While much of the original building remains, it
was extended several times before the Second World War for its
growing congregation. Plans to build a much larger neo-Gothic building
at the beginning of the twentieth century were only partly realised
with the result that the magnificent chancel at one end and imposing
Victorian tower with its ring of eight bells at the other, enclose a
much more moderate nave. The Resurrection Chapel is in the south-east
corner (see above).
Seven Kings Baptist Church was on the northern
side of Cameron Road, opposite the railway station car park. The Baptists
were the first to open a church at Seven Kings, a temporary building in
1899. A permanent church was built in 1913. The building was demolished
in 1982 and replaced by a sheltered housing complex, named after the first
minister at that site, John Chadwick. The members merged with Seven Kings
United Free Church at their site.