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Churches of the British Isles

Gallery: Churches of East London

by Peter Kessler, 20 December 2009

Waltham Forest Part 12: Churches of Walthamstow

St James Chapel, Walthamstow, East London

St James Chapel is part of Alfred English & Sons, Funeral Directors, which specialises in horse-drawn funerals. Its small chapel, which lies alongside the main premises on St James Street, is named after the former Anglican church of the same name which was closed in 1961 and demolished. A chapel of St James was formed in the south aisle of St Barnabas, which took over its parish, and the section of the main road on which St James formerly stood still bears its name.

Church of Our Lady of the Rosary and St Patrick, Walthamstow, East London

The Church of Our Lady of the Rosary and St Patrick is on Blackhorse Road, a short way north of the chapel of St James. During the sixteenth century, repeated prosecutions were brought against local families for recusancy, most notably the Hale family of Moons, which licensed its own chapel in 1536, perhaps for secret Catholic worship. Indictments continued to 1629, although by then they were tailing off, and no Catholics were recorded at all in 1676.

Church of Our Lady of the Rosary and St Patrick, Walthamstow, East London

By 1780 numbers were beginning to rise again. In the 1840s mass was being said in private houses. In 1847 the mission chapel of St George was opened in Shernhall Street on the eastern side of Walthamstow. This, and the later church of Our Lady and St George served all of Woodford, Leyton, Wanstead, and Chingford, until their own missions opened. The church of Our Lady of the Rosary and St Patrick was opened in 1908, and in 2008 celebrated its centenary.

Walthamstow Blackhorse Road Baptist Church, Walthamstow, East London

Walthamstow Blackhorse Road Baptist Church is divided from Our Lady only by Tenby Road on the western side of Blackhorse Road. It was founded in 1898, with the help of the Pioneer Mission, at a time when large areas of southern Walthamstow were disappearing under new housing estates. There were 120 members in 1903. The original building, fondly known as 'The Tin Tabernacle', served the church well, until the construction of the present building in 1932.

Walthamstow Blackhorse Road Baptist Church, Walthamstow, East London

During the late 1980s, extensive modernisation was carried out in the worship area. The floor was carpeted, and wooden pews were replaced with chairs which could be moved around to give a flexible layout. In recent years, new kitchen and toilet areas were added, together with a new front wall and gates. Over the past century, the church has also hosted many other organisations with a Christian basis, such as the Band of Hope, Crusaders, Scouts and Guides.

St Michael and All Angels Parish Church, Walthamstow, East London

The Parish Church of St Michael and All Angels sits on the corner of Palmerston Road and Northcote Road in Walthamstow. It is the largest church in Walthamstow, and was built to serve the area of St James' parish north of the former Great Eastern Railway. The cost was met by public subscription which was assisted by the bishop of St Albans' fund. The design was by James Maltby Bignell in 1882. The completed church was consecrated on 18 November 1885.

St Michael and All Angels Parish Church, Walthamstow, East London

The building, of brown and red brick with stone dressings, is in the Early English style, and has a very lofty nave and chancel with lower side aisles. It gained its own parish in 1887 and is now a Grade II listed building. The Church of St Paul, on Courtenay Road at the very western edge of Walthamstow, was built in 1900 as a mission church for St Michael's, on a site given by T Courtenay Warner. It was closed in 1917, reopened in 1919, and finally closed in 1964.

Forest Road Hall Baptist Church, Walthamstow, East London

Forest Road Hall Baptist Church seems to have been sited on this western corner with Hervey Park Road, but no sign remains of it today. The church was registered in 1892, but may have served as the Forest mission of Wood Street Union Church. By 1903 it was certainly Baptist, when Sunday attendances totalled 210. It continued to be listed until 1926, was included in 1928 among extinct Baptist missions but found new independent use until as late as 1970.

Walthamstow Spiritualist Lyceum Church, Walthamstow, East London

Walthamstow Spiritualist Lyceum Church is on the northern side of Coleridge Road, with just three semi-detached 1930s houses between it and Borwick Avenue. The Spiritualist Lyceum church was meeting in the Workmen's hall on the High Street in 1929. It was able to open the church in Coleridge Road in 1933, which was little more than a narrow, long hall with a small entrance porch. It may now be closed as in 2009 it bore the appearance of being a dwelling.

Erskine Road Spurgeon Memorial Church, Walthamstow, East London

Erskine Road Spurgeon Memorial Church stood between Coleridge Road and Melville Road. It began life in the High Street in 1898, perhaps as a mission for Boundary Road Baptist Church. In about 1901 an iron hall was erected in Erskine Road, registered in 1902. The church appears to have ceased by 1911-1912, when there were 32 members. Tradition states that the church furnishings went to Spruce Hill Baptist Church while the site is now a community centre.

All photos on this page by P L Kessler.



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