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Churches of the British Isles

Gallery: Churches of East London

by Peter Kessler, 18 October 2009

Waltham Forest Part 8: Churches of Upper Walthamstow

St Peter's-in-the-Forest Church, Walthamstow, East London

St Peter's-in-the-Forest Walthamstow is on Woodford New Road, on the heavily forested eastern edge of Upper Walthamstow. It was built in 1840 as a chapel of ease for St Mary's, Walthamstow, and was designed by John Shaw (1803-1870). The church was put up as a small square building of yellow brick in a Romanesque style, with an eastern apse and south-west tower. A separate parish was formed for it in 1844, when the rising population made this necessary.

St Peter's-in-the-Forest Church, Walthamstow, East London

In 1887 the church was extended westwards so that the tower stood at the centre of the south side. The interior was renovated in 1936-1937, but in 1945 the church was badly damaged by a German V1 rocket. Repairs were completed in 1951. The cemetery, consecrated in 1845, is the only one attached to a modern Anglican church in Walthamstow. Behind the church at Forest Rise is Peterhouse Church & Community Centre, which serves the church as its hall.

St Gabriel's Church, Walthamstow, East London

St Gabriel's Church on Havant Road, off Wood Street, began in 1880 as a mission for St Mary's, with the current church building being completed a few years later. The foundation stone reads: 'Saint Gabriel's Sunday Schools and Mission Room. This stone was laid July 24, 1884 by Lieutenant-General Sir F W J Fitz-Wycram Bart, MP, donor of the site and of the adjacent site for a church. Architect J T Bressey.' A family centre was built at the side of the church in 1993.

Brandon Mission Church, Walthamstow, East London

Brandon Mission Church is now on Waverley Road, on the eastern side of Wood Street and close to St Gabriel's. Brandon Road railway mission was founded in about 1883 and an iron hall was built beside the railway in 1886. The hall was damaged by bombing in the Second World War, but this was rebuilt, and another prefabricated hall was bought in 1949. The mission is still in use in spite of the complete redevelopment of this area and Brandon Road being cut in two.

Immanuel International Christian Ministries, Walthamstow, East London

Immanuel International Christian Ministries is on Vallentin Road, a little way south of St Gabriel's. Founded in 1807 by an Independent congregation, a small leasehold church was built in 1811. In 1854 a new building was put up on the current site, which became Wood Street Congregational Church in 1880. In 1940 the church was wrecked by bombing, and the remains were demolished in 1952 to be replaced by the current smaller building in 1956.

Wood Street Tabernacle, Walthamstow, East London

Wood Street Tabernacle on Wood Street, near the railway bridge, plays host to the Calvary Church of God & Christ. Independent meetings were registered in private houses in 1798 and 1799. A permanent Independent congregation was formed in Wood Street in 1807. From the 1850s the Wood Street Independent Church, became a Union Church. Further down Wood Street, and in a 1907 building now apparently lost, the Old Union Baptist Church regularly met.

St George's Church Hall, Shernhall Street, Walthamstow, East London

St George's Church Hall, Shernhall Street was the first visible presence for the local Catholics. In 1847 the wife of Captain Collard gave a two acre site in Shernhall Street to build the mission chapel of St George. This small building of Kentish ragstone (now covered over) was opened in 1849 by Dr (later Cardinal) Nicholas Wiseman, who was then living at Shern Hall and was one of the trustees. In 1901, the mission hall was replaced by the Catholic church next door.

Catholic Church of Our Lady and St George, Walthamstow, East London

The Catholic Church of Our Lady & St George, Walthamstow incorporates the former mission of St George's, which is now the church hall. This Walthamstow mission also served Woodford, Leyton, Wanstead, and Chingford, until their own missions opened. The present church was opened in 1901, a massive brick building in the Early English style with circular apse and domed roof and a Lady chapel on the north side. Six other chapels were added later.

Shern Hall Methodist Church, Walthamstow, East London

Shern Hall Methodist Church, further down Sherhall Street, originated in a temporary iron church opened in 1897, while a permanent church opened in 1901, a Gothic building of red brick with stone dressings. An institute was opened in 1909 in Oliver Road, adjoining the church. The Institute now seems to form the rear section of the current building, severely damaged by bombing in the war but later restored. The curved front is a brand new 2008 addition.

Union of Zion Church, Walthamstow, East London

The Union of Zion Church on Maynard Road started in 1874 in Orford Road, with services being held in Maynard Road from 1876. In 1890 Zion was joined by a local non-Conformist congregation. Then the Commercial Street Particular Baptists, formed in 1633 in Wapping, sold their premises in 1909 and in 1911 invited Zion to join them in building the Commercial Street Memorial Church, which was opened in 1913 on Church Hill. It is uncertain if this union still exists.

All photos on this page by P L Kessler.



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