A History of the County of Essex: Volume 6. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1973.
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In 1903 the total attendance at Roman Catholic churches in West Ham was higher than that for any other borough in outer London. (fn. 1) The percentage of Roman Catholic worshippers was also far above the average for the area: 11.8 compared with 6.2 for the whole of outer London. (fn. 2) These high proportions were due mainly to Irish immigration, starting in the 18th century. A previous tradition of recusancy seems to have died out in the 17th century.
Margaret, widow of Sir John Throgmorton, incurred fines for non-attendance at church, and harboured a priest, James Young, during her residence at Upton from c. 1585 to 1591. (fn. 3) Some of her land was sequestered to pay the fines. (fn. 4) Several other West Ham recusants occur in records between 1577 and 1617. (fn. 5)
In 1706 there was said to be only one English papist, Mary Belchier, in West Ham, the other papists being the family and employees of a French calico-printer, Didier Richard. (fn. 6) By 1767 an influx of Irish labourers had raised the total to 53, and in 1780 it was 160. (fn. 7)
There are entries starting in 1770 in the baptismal and marriage register preserved at the Franciscan friary in Grove Crescent Road, and this is the traditional date for the foundation of the parish of Stratford, the first Roman Catholic parish in Essex. (fn. 8) About 1788 services were being held by Thomas Wright (d. 1799) (fn. 9) in a rented house at Plaistow. In 1789 he sought authority to rent a house in West Ham Lane, with two fields adjoining, which he registered for worship in 1791. (fn. 10) Wright was succeeded by John Jones (1799–1801) and John Singleton (1801–2). (fn. 11) Joseph Porter became chaplain in 1802, and in 1806 advertised for funds, pleading the extreme poverty of his congregation. He started a school, known first as Chapel House academy, then as Gaston Hall academy. (fn. 12) In 1810 this ran into debt, Porter absconded, and François-Joseph Chevrollais, a Frenchman who had taught at the school, took charge of the Stratford mission. Later in the same year the Catholics registered a chapel at Stratford Green. (fn. 13) This may have been the chapel occupying part of a dwelling-house (formerly the forest gaol) mentioned in a survey of the period; the congregation was said in 1813 to have been deprived of their place of worship 'by the death of a gentleman at whose house their chapel formerly was'. (fn. 14)
Chevrollais renewed the appeals for money, and in 1813 the church of ST. VINCENT DE PAUL AND ST. PATRICK was built on the south side of High Street, Stratford, between Channelsea Bridge and Harrow Bridge. As a precaution against rioters there were no windows on the High Street front. (fn. 15) The church also served the Roman Catholics in seven or eight neighbouring parishes; by 1820 the congregation was said to consist of over 1,200 labouring Irish. (fn. 16) Chevrollais opened a parish school for boys and girls. He continued to beg for money and to use his private fortune until his death in 1823. (fn. 17)
For the next thirty years the Stratford church and schools struggled against poverty, dilapidation, and the increasing population; the number of Easter communicants compared badly with those of other Essex congregations. (fn. 18) James McQuoin (d. 1870), who was appointed rector in 1856, found the High Street church inadequate and the schools closed. There had been no confirmations for 8 years. With great energy he set about raising money. He opened schools at Victoria Docks, and at Upton, where in 1862 he helped to establish St. Angela's Ursuline convent. (fn. 19) At last, in 1868, he was able to open the new church of ST. VINCENT DEPAUL, Grove Crescent Road, with a school-hall below. It is a red brick building with stone dressings in a simple Renaissance style, with a small spired bell turret at the west end. In 1873 the church was taken over by the Franciscan Friars Minor, and its dedication was changed to ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI. (fn. 20) It was enlarged in 1931 and is still (1966) administered by the Franciscans, whose friary is in the Grove. The friars also served the chapel of ST. PATRICK, Lett Road, opened in 1897 and closed in 1945. (fn. 21)
Although Roman Catholic services had previously been held at the Ursuline convent, Upton Lane, it was not until 1884 that the Forest Gate parish, served by the Franciscans, was established, and the foundation stone of the church of ST. ANTONY OF PADUA, Khedive (later St. Antony's) Road, was laid. By 1891 the church, St. Bonaventure's school, and the friary buildings were completed to the design of Pugin & Pugin. They form an impressive group, all of yellow brick with lancet windows. The large church is in the Early English style. (fn. 22) By 1903, with Sunday congregations totalling over 2,600, St. Antony's was the strongest Roman Catholic church in Greater London. (fn. 23) According to Joseph McCabe, a former friar at St. Antony's, this success was the result of migration by 'the better middle-class Catholics from all parts of London' and 'nearly every priest in East London was exasperated against the friars for stealing his best parishioners'. (fn. 24) A convent of Franciscan minoresses in Clova Road, Forest Gate, removed to Maldon about 1957. (fn. 25)
James McQuoin started work in the Victoria Dock area in 1856. The iron chapel of ST. MARGARET AND ALL SAINTS, Barking Road, was opened in 1859, and Canning Town became an independent parish in 1870. The present building was consecrated in 1919. (fn. 26) The war memorial church of OUR LADY OF SORROWS, Wilberforce Street (later Killip Close), was built in 1925 as a chapel of ease to serve the Tidal Basin area. Within the same parish the Franciscan missionaries of Mary built a convent in Bethell Avenue in 1902 and added their chapel of the SACRED HEART OF JESUS in 1931. The convent, and St. Margaret's church, were damaged during the Second World War, when the congregation occupied premises in Chargeable Lane. (fn. 27) St. Margaret's was restored in 1951, and in 1966 the church of Our Lady of Sorrows was reconstructed as Bennett Hall for St. Margaret's Youth Club. (fn. 28)
The church of ST. ANNE, Throckmorton Road, Victoria Docks, with school attached, was opened in 1899. War damage was repaired in 1950–1 and a new presbytery built in 1953–4. (fn. 29)
The church of Our Lady and St. Edward, Silvertown, originally in West Ham but later rebuilt in East Ham, is treated under that place.
There has been a continuous tradition of nonconformity in West Ham since the 17th century. The Friends were active there by 1656, and by 1671 had formed a meeting at Plaistow, which survived until the present century. During the 1670s and 1680s there are several references to dissenters, (fn. 30) including some Presbyterians (1672) who were the probable founders of Brickfields chapel, later Congregational, which still existed in 1967. No other permanent congregation was formed until about 1790, when an Independent meeting-house was opened at Plaistow, and a Methodist one at Stratford. By 1851 there were ten nonconformist churches in West Ham, belonging to the Baptists (two), Congregationalists (four), Friends, Wesleyan Methodists, Wesleyan Association, and Primitive Methodists. (fn. 31) By 1870 there were about 30, and in 1903, when the Daily News census was taken, the total was at least 90, with Sunday congregations totalling about 31,000. (fn. 32)
In 1903 the nonconformists comprised 56 per cent (compared with the Anglicans' 32 per cent) of the total worshippers, a figure well above the average for outer London, though lower than that for East Ham. (fn. 33) Many of them were meeting in small groups, but on the other hand they had 21 churches out of the 38 with total Sunday congregations of over 500, including five that were larger than any Anglican church. The Congregationalists, with 7,318 worshippers, were then the strongest of the free churches. As well as having had a long start over their rivals in West Ham they had benefited from the leadership of such able men as John Curwen. They were followed by the Baptists (5,351 worshippers), Wesleyans (4,305), Primitive Methodists (2,698), and United Free Methodists (1,954). Most of the smaller sects were also represented. The Peculiar People, a sect native to south Essex and north Kent, had two congregations.
A writer commenting on the Daily News census pointed out that a large proportion of West Ham's church-goers came from the middle-class areas of Upton and Forest Gate. (fn. 34) This was especially true of the nonconformists. Their numerical superiority was greatest there, and smallest in the slums of Canning Town, Silvertown, and Victoria Docks. None of the principal free churches had made much progress in those southern slums. The most successful were the Primitive Methodists, nearly half of whose adherents were there. While their success may have been partly due to the fact that their connexion was more working-class in character than most of the larger denominations, they owed it mainly to the efforts of one outstanding minister. Their success is notable in relation to their slender resources. Measured against the needs of the area it is less impressive. Between Barking Road and the Thames their congregations numbered only 1,300 (some of whom were no doubt 'twicers') out of a total population of about 80,000. (fn. 35) The total attendance at all the free churches in that area was some 6,600, compared with 6,000 for the Anglicans. Very few of the free churches in the slums of West Ham seem to have been providing the recreational and welfare facilities that were so badly needed there. (fn. 36) One important exception was the Congregational church in Barking Road, which was linked with the Mansfield House university settlement. Others were the non-sectarian Conference Hall, in West Ham Lane, and the Baptist Tabernacle in Barking Road, where Robert Rowntree Clifford was minister.
After 1903 the number of nonconformist churches in the borough fell slowly, to about 70 in the 1930s. The decline in their congregations was probably more rapid. There are no comprehensive statistics, but such membership figures as are known usually fell steeply between the two world wars, except in places like the Barking Road Tabernacle where there was continuity of good leadership. This decline was greatest in the northern parts of the borough, from which most of the middle-class inhabitants had departed to suburbs farther east. The church remaining in that area tended to find itself with a reduced income, struggling to maintain large and ageing buildings still burdened with debts optimistically incurred at their erection in more prosperous times. All these causes of decay are illustrated in the later history of the Methodist church in Harold Road, Plaistow.
The Second World War hastened the process of decline, by bombing and by evacuation. After 1945 war damage compensation made it possible to rebuild some of the bombed churches, but many were not revived. Some wartime unions between congregations became permanent; other unions took place soon after the war. By 1966 there were only 41 free churches in West Ham—less than half the peak figure. Of the main denominations the Baptists had held their ground best, with 10 remaining, compared with 14 in 1903. The Congregationalists retained only 5 (15 in 1903) and the Methodists 5 (20 in 1903). The Methodists had suffered more severely from bombing than the others, which gave them opportunities for local reorganization and rebuilding, especially at Forest Gate and Canning Town, that were not altogether unwelcome.
The free church congregations in 1966 were much smaller than those at the beginning of the century. The Congregationalists, who had had 2,740 members in 1900, had then only 249. (fn. 37) Baptist numbers were 1,500 and 855 respectively. The Baptist Central mission, with 347 members in 1966, was then still one of the strongest churches in West Ham, though even this had greatly declined from its peak of over 1,000 in the 1930s. (fn. 38)
The following accounts of individual churches were, in most cases, completed in 1964–6. The dates in brackets after ministers' names show the period of their pastorates. Attendance statistics for 1903 are taken from the Daily News census.
Baptists. (fn. 39)
There were Baptists in West Ham in 1676 (fn. 40) but no permanent congregation was then formed. At the end of the 18th century Baptists helped to found the Plaistow Congregational church (Balaam Street), but the first churches of which they had undivided control were at Stratford.
The Ark chapel, Francis Street, Maryland Point, was registered for worship by Francis Bell in 1834. (fn. 41) It was still used by the Baptists in 1848, when it was said to have been built in 1832. (fn. 42) In 1851 it was taken over by the Primitive Methodists. (fn. 43)
The Central Baptist church, the Grove, Stratford, originated in 1852, when G. W. Fishbourne from Bow (Lond.) started services in Rokeby House. (fn. 44) In 1854 a site was bought on the corner of Manbey Grove, on which soon afterwards Stratford Grove, later called the Grove church, was built. (fn. 45) A Sunday school was opened in 1861. (fn. 46) James H. Banfield, minister 1875–95, was the founder of two charities for West Ham. (fn. 47) During the pastorate of W. H. Stevens (1895–1909) the church prospered, but membership fell rapidly under his successor. (fn. 48) In 1917, however, the Grove was joined by the members of the Stratford Tabernacle, with their minister W. P. Hicks, editor of the Christian Herald. The combined congregation, called the Central Baptist church, flourished for a few years, but has steadily declined since the 1920s. The building was damaged during the Second World War but was repaired. (fn. 49)
The Stratford Tabernacle, Carpenters Road, was probably founded about 1870 by Dr. Gratton Guiness, of Harley College, Bow Road (Lond.), and first met in rented premises in Barnby Street. (fn. 50) In 1877 the Tabernacle, seating over 800, was built in Carpenters Road, between High Street and Rosher Road. (fn. 51) During the ministry of G. Towner (1877–90) membership was over 200 and the Sunday school flourished. (fn. 52) After 1900 numbers fell, and in 1917 the congregation therefore joined that of the Grove. The Tabernacle was sold to the Y.M.C.A. It was destroyed during the Second World War. (fn. 53)
The West Ham Central mission, Barking Road, was founded in 1871. For some years before this Baptists had been trying to establish themselves in south West Ham. A group at Plaistow formed by J. E. Cracknell in 1858 lasted only until the following year. (fn. 54) Another, which in 1863–4 was meeting in Barking Road, Canning Town, later moved to Bow. (fn. 55) Also in 1863 W. Palmer came from Poplar (Lond.) and built Mount Zion chapel, Barking Road. (fn. 56) This remained his property, and after he died in 1867 the members moved to a barn in Anne Street. (fn. 57) Most of them soon transferred to Providence chapel, Shirley Street, (fn. 58) but a few carried on, and in 1871 Henry Lester and others leased Mount Zion and formed a new church, (fn. 59) from which sprang the West Ham Central mission. (fn. 60) Its membership rapidly increased, and in 1876 under R. H. Gillespie (1873–89) a new building, the Barking Road Tabernacle, was erected with the aid of £1,000 from James Duncan, a Silvertown sugar refiner and philanthropist. Mount Zion was sold, later became the Labour Hall, and was destroyed in the Second World War. In 1887 a branch church, which still existed in 1966, was founded in Wythes Road, Silvertown. (fn. 61)
After Gillespie's departure the Tabernacle, burdened with debt, was almost forced to close, but Robert Rowntree Clifford, who became pastor in 1897, immediately revived and soon transformed it. By 1900 the debt had been cleared, 139 new members had been added, and there was a Sunday school of 500. In 1903 another branch church was opened in North Woolwich Road, West Silvertown; this was closed about 1939, and the site was later sold. (fn. 62) A third branch, in Prince Regent Lane, Custom House, became independent in 1915. Local unemployment after 1900 led Clifford to found the West Ham Baptist mission as a relief and welfare organization in conjunction with the Tabernacle. The mission, which issued its first report in 1905, gradually gained support from Baptists throughout the world. As early as 1907 larger church and mission buildings were being planned. These were completed in 1922 on a new site in Barking Road, at a total cost of £68,000. In 1926 the old Tabernacle was converted into a children's church. Several old people's homes and two country convalescent homes were also provided.
During this expansion of the West Ham Central mission, as it was now called, Clifford recruited a staff of full-time deaconesses, for whom Marnham House Settlement, Barking Road, was built in 1916, and of assistant ministers, including his brother, E. O. Clifford (1920–9). The membership of the mission rose during the 1930s to over 1,000. During the Second World War the basement of the children's church, equipped as an air-raid shelter, became the community centre in this heavily-bombed area. Most of the mission buildings were damaged in 1940–1 but were repaired. R. R. Clifford remained superintendent until his death in 1943, controlling its affairs with undivided authority. A trust deed of 1944 vested ownership and government in an undenominational church council and superintendent, with an executive committee. The new superintendent was Paul Clifford (1943–53), Robert's son and assistant. After the war the membership declined to 347 by 1966, but the mission was still active, and in touch with the social needs of the area. The main building (1922) is of red brick and stone in an elaborate Byzantine style with two domed towers. The old Tabernacle had by 1966 been taken over by a draper.
Woodgrange church, Romford Road, originated about 1880, with services in a hut lent by the builder of the Woodgrange estate. (fn. 63) In 1882 a church was built and J. H. French became pastor. In 1899 the Richmond (later French Memorial) hall was built, with other rooms. In 1901 the church itself was enlarged and new classrooms built. By 1903 Woodgrange was easily the strongest Baptist church in West Ham, with Sunday congregations totalling 1,351. French, whose successful ministry continued until his retirement in 1917, was president of the London Baptist Association (1903) and also served on the West Ham school board and the board of guardians. The church has declined since his time, but in 1966, with a membership of 172, it remained one of the strongest free churches in Forest Gate. The buildings were damaged by bombing in the Second World War but were repaired.
Swanscombe Street church, meeting at the Temperance Hall, was formed about 1881 by James Brittain, previously minister of the Shirley Street Strict Baptist church. It was flourishing in 1883 but collapsed soon after when he left. (fn. 64)
Upton Cross church, Neville Road, appears to have originated about 1883, possibly through missionary work carried on by members of the Independent Methodist church in East Road, (fn. 65) which seems to have had some Baptist connexions. A hall was built in 1885 on the corner of Neville Road and Upton Lane. The church has had close connexions with the Central Baptist mission, especially between 1940 and 1950, but has usually been independent. In 1966 its membership was 33.
Stratford New Town church, Major Road, originated in 1885, when a large building was erected near the junction with Crownfield Road. (fn. 66) A lecture hall was added in 1900. In 1907 Major Road was joined by another group which had originated in 1892 in Chandos Road, as a mission of Cann Hall Baptist church, Leyton, and about 1894 had erected an iron building in Edith Road. (fn. 67) The pastor of Edith Road took over the united church, which then assumed its present name. The church was wrecked by bombing in 1941 and was later demolished. Worship continued in the lecture hall, which in 1953 was rebuilt, its lower floor being converted into a small church. In 1966 the membership was 41.
Custom House church, Prince Regent Lane, originated in 1906. (fn. 68) Meetings were held at first in a house in Jersey Road. In 1908 the members were joined by some from the Congregational mission in Prince Regent Lane, whose own building had been burnt down. An iron building was erected in 1911 on the corner of Jersey Road and Prince Regent Lane. This was at first a branch of the Central mission, but in 1915, after some friction, it became independent. From 1916 to 1923 its pulpit was supplied by students from Regent's Park College, who continued to help the church under later pastors. In 1928 a new church was erected with funds left by Henry Lester, one of the founders of the Barking Road Tabernacle. It was wrecked by bombing in 1940 and reconstructed in 1950. In 1966 the membership was 32.
The West Ham Tabernacle, West Ham Lane, (fn. 69) originated in 1839, when members of Zoar, Whitechapel (Lond.), and the Ark, Francis Street, Maryland Point, (fn. 70) started preaching in the house of John Champness and under his leadership. In the same year a stable-loft was hired for services and symbolically named the Granary. (fn. 71) This leaked, and the congregation was disturbed by men swearing at the horses below. The Tabernacle was built in West Ham Lane in 1844. In 1847 it joined the London Strict Baptist Association, with which it had been informally linked from the first. It was enlarged in 1850, but in 1851 it had only a small membership. (fn. 72) Under William Bracher (1858–75) a gallery was added (1872), the Sunday school was revived (1873), and a new schoolroom opened (1882). G. Elven (1871–81) was paid no fixed salary, being supported by the profits of tea-meetings and anniversary gifts. James Clinch (1882–8) received £1 a week plus one annual collection. The Tabernacle flourished under Jabez Humphreys (1896–1901). (fn. 73) In 1902 the building was sold to the borough council for road-widening. In part payment the council gave another site in West Ham Lane, and the present Tabernacle was built there in 1903. Under H. J. Galley (1903–20) the congregation grew and the building debt was cleared. Membership reached a peak of 240 in 1926, and was fairly well maintained until 1939. In 1966 it was 78.
Enon chapel, Chapel Street, has sometimes been confused with the West Ham Lane Tabernacle, with which it may have had some connexion. It seems to have originated about 1840 in pioneer work led by Captain Whittle. (fn. 74) The chapel, built in 1842, was still in use in 1851, but closed by 1854, when Isabella Whittle sold it for use as the Stratford ragged school. (fn. 75)
Gurney Road church, Stratford, originated in 1870, when a small group led by James Mortar, a builder, met in a house in Forest Lane. (fn. 76) Soon after they moved to Chatsworth Road, using a room adjoining Mortar's house until 1882, when an iron church was erected in Gurney Road. A permanent church was built, probably by Mortar, in 1885. By 1889 the membership was 149, and it remained at about this level, with remarkable consistency, until 1939. A Sunday school, built in Buckingham Road in 1903, was used for services when the church was bombed during the Second World War. After the war the church was repaired. Its membership in 1966 was 85.
Providence chapel, Shirley Street, Canning Town, was in existence by about 1870, when it was joined by some of those who had previously met at Mount Zion, Barking Road. (fn. 77) In 1878 it was taken over by a group which since 1876 had been meeting in the Temperance Hall, Wouldham Street. (fn. 78) James Brittain was minister in 1880, but by 1881 had left to form a church in Swanscombe Street. (fn. 79) The freehold of the Shirley Street site was bought in 1894, but about 1910 the membership, always small, was weakened by secession, and in 1917 the chapel was closed. It was sold in the following year, the proceeds being given to the Metropolitan Association of Strict Baptist churches, to which Providence had belonged.
Jireh chapel, Sebert Road, originated in 1888, when Mr. Allen began to hold meetings in a small building attached to Jireh Lodge, no. 133 Sebert Road. (fn. 80) In 1921 the present chapel was built at no. 244 Sebert Road with materials from one demolished at Woburn Sands (Beds.); the membership was then about 20. In 1965 Jireh had a membership of 2. Jireh Lodge was sold after 1921 and later used for a time by the Seventh Day Adventists. In 1965 it was occupied by a builder.
The Bignold Hall, Bignold Road, Forest Gate, originated during the 1870s with services in an iron room. (fn. 81) In 1881, after summer tent meetings, a hall was built in Station Road on the corner with Bignold Road. In 1903 this was the largest Brethren's meeting in West Ham with total Sunday attendances of 430. During the Second World War part of the premises were bombed, and to replace them a new hall was opened in 1958, fronting Bignold Road. In 1965 the membership was about 50. There are references in 1906–8 to a Brethren's meeting room in Forest Lane, Forest Gate. (fn. 82) It is not known whether this was connected with the Bignold Hall.
There have been various other Brethren's meetings, mainly at Plaistow, none of which now survives. There was a chapel in Upper Road in 1878, and a mission room is mentioned, with no street name, in 1890. (fn. 83) A meeting in Lower Road (1903) still existed in the 1930s. There were also meetings in Plashet Road (1903–c. 1908), Beaumont Road (1903), and at the Hall, North Street (1903). (fn. 84) The last may have been identical with the Welcome mission hall, North Street, registered for worship in 1923. (fn. 85) The Children's Welcome mission hall, Pelly Road, was registered in 1916. (fn. 86)
The Catholic Apostolic Church. (fn. 87)
Catholic Apostolic missionaries held meetings at the Artillery Hall, Stratford, in 1868. They tried again in 1873, when Rokeby House, Stratford, was registered as their place of worship. (fn. 88) H. M. Prior, who had made the arrangements for the 1868 meetings, later seceded from the Catholic Apostolic church, and in 1875–7 gave lectures at Stratford, published as a book in 1880, attacking that church. In 1878 Catholic Apostolic meetings were held at the Workmen's hall, West Ham Lane, but again without permanent results.
Congregationalists. (fn. 89)
Brickfields church, Welfare Road, Stratford, originally in Salway Place, off the Grove, is said to have been founded in 1662. (fn. 90) It is also suggested that its founder was an ejected vicar of West Ham. (fn. 91) Both claims are possible, since Thomas Walton, ejected in 1660, later taught school not far away, at Bethnal Green, (fn. 92) but there is no proof of them. The earliest certain evidence of a dissenters' meeting in West Ham is in 1672, when the houses of Benjamin Benton of Ham and James Day of Stratford were licensed for Presbyterian worship; Benton was also licensed to preach. (fn. 93) The church probably originated in one or both of these meetings. It is not known when the Salway Place meeting-house was opened. Apart from Benton the church's first known minister was Thomas Pakeman (1687–91), an old man who had suffered ejections elsewhere. He received no salary, and used his private income freely in the work of the church, even maintaining a school for poor children. (fn. 94) His successor, Joseph Bennet, a young man without private means, left before 1694, when he took Anglican orders. (fn. 95) Christopher Meidel is said to have been minister in 1696. (fn. 96) He may have been followed by John Gough, who was at Stratford by 1718 and remained until his death in 1729. (fn. 97) A document of his time describes the church, by implication, as 'Protestant, Presbyterian, or Independent'. (fn. 98) During the next 40 years it declined, and little is known except ministers' names. (fn. 99) It was revived by John Fleming and others who in 1773–4 reconstituted the church, as Independent, and appointed George Gold minister. (fn. 100) In 1775 the lease of the Salway Place meeting-house expired. With financial aid from Fleming the congregation therefore built a new chapel, opened in 1776, with a graveyard, on the present site at Brickfields, then open land off Jackass (now Vicarage) Lane.
Gold stayed until his death in 1810. (fn. 101) During his ministry the church was never strong: there were 33 members in 1776 and only 36 in 1810. By 1804, however, the debts incurred on the new building had been cleared. Gold was tough and determined as well as an effective evangelist. All these qualities were displayed in his encounter with a highwayman in Epping Forest. (fn. 102) Towards the end of his ministry the church opened a girls day-school and a Sunday school. (fn. 103)
Gold was succeeded by John Emblem (1810–40). (fn. 104) During Emblem's ministry the schools grew, and in 1816 a gallery was added to the church. Soon after this men from Brickfields founded the first Congregational church at Forest Gate. When the trust was renewed in 1836, a new constitution was drawn up for this society of 'Calvinistic Independents'. It provided, inter alia, that women were to have a voice in choosing the minister. Emblem's successor, Robert Ferguson (1841–9), was soon claiming a revival. (fn. 105) He was a man of some distinction (fn. 106) and may have felt himself too big for Brickfields, for he resigned after a dispute, possibly embittered by the political ferment of the times, (fn. 107) concerning his salary.
When Thomas Stallybrass (1850–82) succeeded Ferguson, the total Sunday congregations were averaging nearly 600, including children, (fn. 108) but by then, as West Ham grew less rural, Brickfields was beginning to lose its wealthier members, without gaining compensating recruits from among the new inhabitants, who at first settled some distance away, at Stratford, Forest Gate, and Plaistow. Brickfields's part in founding the Grove church at Stratford is described below. Another church which owed its foundation, at this period, at least partly to Brickfields, was that in Barking Road, Canning Town.
Tom Warren (1895–1902), who had previously been a lay agent at Shirley Street United Methodist church, was probably Brickfields's most effective pastor. He restored the church (1896), raised the membership from under 50 to its peak of about 180, (fn. 109) and built a new infants schoolroom (1897). He was also active in local government. When he left the membership soon fell back to its old level. In 1940 the church was badly damaged by bombing. Its members migrated to the Romford Road church, returning in 1943 to use the schoolroom behind Brickfields. (fn. 110) The main building was reopened, after repairs, in 1952. In 1966 there was a membership of 21. (fn. 111)
The chapel in Salway Place is shown on a map of 1744–6. (fn. 112) Brickfields is a plain, well-proportioned building not greatly altered since it was built in 1776. Until 1950 it was six feet higher than at present, the side walls containing round-headed windows above and square-headed ones below. There was a fine 18th-century doorway to the front. (fn. 113) A rear gallery was erected in 1816. The reconstruction of 1896 included the addition of side galleries, approached from a foyer by a pair of pyramidal-topped towers, and the removal of the old box-pews. (fn. 114) In 1950–2 the roof was lowered, the side galleries removed, and the side windows reconstructed. (fn. 115) Since 1912 the graveyard has been maintained by the borough council, which in 1913 bought part of it for road widening.
Brickfields has received several endowments. John Hiett, distiller of London, by his will proved 1719, gave an annuity of £4 for the minister. Like Hiett's apprenticing charity this was not paid after 1839. (fn. 116) Anne Algehr, by will proved 1794, left £200, later converted into £262 stock, in trust for the minister. (fn. 117) Thomas W. Shipston, by will proved 1885, left £666 in trust for the maintenance of the church. (fn. 118)
Plaistow church, Balaam Street, originated in 1796 in a mission conducted by W. Newman, a Baptist minister from Bow (Lond.). (fn. 119) Regular meetings were held in private houses, and in the open air, until 1807, when a building was erected in North Street by a group of Independents and Baptists under Robert Marten, who was the leading layman until his death in 1839. A union church of the two denominations was constituted in 1812, with Henry Lacey (1812–24) as minister. 'Marten and his religious crew' encountered local opposition and even violence in the early days, but their numbers grew. John Curwen (1844–64) is best known as a music publisher, and advocate of the tonic sol-fa system, but his ministry was successful as well as his business. (fn. 120) A day-school was opened (1844) and in 1860 a new church was built in Balaam Street. The North Street church later became part of the Curwen Press premises, and still survived in 1970. In 1851 Curwen was also holding services in a house at Canning Town. (fn. 121) In retirement he helped to found the churches in the Grove and Romford Road. John Foster (1865–9) was the church's only Baptist minister. In 1869 part of the congregation—probably the Baptists—apparently seceded with him to form a church in Upper Road, Plaistow, which soon disappeared. (fn. 122) After this, Balaam Street seems to have had little or no Baptist connexions. Under Richard Partner (1888–1903) the membership increased rapidly as the area was built up, reaching 670 in 1902, by which time the church had been enlarged to accommodate 1,000. In 1887 a mission hall was built in Southern Road. After 1903 Balaam Street began to decline, though it remained fairly strong until 1939. During the Second World War the church was bombed, being finally abandoned in 1945 and later demolished. Meanwhile, in 1943, the members of Balaam Street and Southern Road united with Greengate as Plaistow Congregational church.
Forest Gate church, Sebert Road, originated about 1825, in services conducted by Jabez Legg, a trustee of Brickfields, in what was then a village. (fn. 123) In 1831 he and William Strange, another trustee, built a chapel at their own expense on the corner of Forest Lane and Woodgrange Road. (fn. 124) In 1856 a larger building was erected in Chapel (later Chapter) Street. Legg continued to assist the church until 1865. (fn. 125) Progress was slow until the time of William Skinner (1882–99), who doubled the membership in his first year, launched many new activities and, in 1884–8, built a new church, seating 1,100, in Sebert Road, on a new housing estate. The Chapter Street building was retained as a mission hall, and the original chapel in Forest Lane, which still existed, as a glass-works, in 1965, was sold. When Skinner retired the membership stood at 650, with Sunday schools of about 1,000. From this peak the church gradually declined. In 1928–30 the Chapter Street buildings were sold and Sebert Road was remodelled on a smaller scale. In 1966 the membership was 92. The founder of the Forest Gate church also established the Jabez Legg alms-houses, Odessa Road, Forest Lane. (fn. 126) He built three of the houses in 1858 and three more in 1863, for the accommodation of women formerly in domestic service. In 1939 the charity was amalgamated with the Edith Whittuck charity in Wimbledon (Lond.) as the Legg-Whittuck trust. The alms-women can come from any part of the country, but in practice most of them have local connexions.
The Canning Town church, Barking Road, originated in 1855, in services conducted at Plaistow Marsh by Thomas Perfect, who had been converted at Brickfields by Robert Ferguson. (fn. 127) Although lacking formal training, he served successfully as pastor until he retired in 1884. In 1860 a small chapel was built in Swanscombe Street. This was superseded in 1868 when a new building was erected in Barking Road, but remained in use as a mission hall. Another mission hall was maintained at North Woolwich from about 1879 to 1907. Under F. W. Newland (1884–94) (fn. 128) the Mansfield House university settlement became closely associated with the church, its boys' club being centred at the Swanscombe Street hall, which was rebuilt in 1891. The Canning Town church reached its peak membership of 261 in 1902. F. W. Piper (1905–9) devised a scheme to unite under his superintendency most of the Congregational churches in the area, as the South West Ham mission. Canning Town, Victoria Docks, and their missions came together in 1906, and were joined in 1909 by Greengate. The object of the mission was to ensure pastoral care for churches too poor to support separate ministers, but the traditions of independence were too strong: Greengate left the union in 1914 and Victoria Docks in 1917. Canning Town continued to call itself the South West Ham mission until 1923. All its buildings were badly damaged in the Second World War. Swanscombe Street, wrecked in 1940, was later demolished. The Barking Road church, twice bombed, was derelict from 1941. Its dwindling congregation continued to meet elsewhere in various borrowed premises, under the leadership of Mrs. M. Angel, widow of a former minister. Through her efforts a smaller church, opened in 1949, was erected on the foundations of the old one. She died in 1959 and the church closed almost immediately. (fn. 129)
Stratford church, the Grove, originated in 1861, when the congregation of Brickfields started to plan a new church in the centre of Stratford, to replace their own. (fn. 130) Funds were raised and a site was bought in Grove Crescent Road, but in 1865 Brickfields withdrew from the scheme, thinking that the building committee was too ambitious. The committee continued under the leadership of William Settles, a City merchant living at Stork House, Ilford (now Romford) Road, and in 1866–7 built a church seating 1,600 with ancillary rooms beneath. It cost £11,500, most of which was lent by Settles, interest free. His creation was nicknamed 'Settles' Folly', but at first it flourished. James Knaggs, the first minister (1869–98), was a powerful figure, well-supported by prosperous local families like the Curwens and Boardmans. By the 1880s membership was about 600, with a Sunday school of 900, and new classrooms had been built. Missions were opened in Chapel Street (1885–1927) and Crownfield Road (1885–91), and help was given to new churches elsewhere. At this period the church was keenly interested in politics, displaying Liberal sympathies yet opposing the growing Socialism of the East End. In the 1890s the membership began to decline, though for many years it remained among the highest in West Ham. By 1941, however, it had become so small that the main building was abandoned, all activities being transferred to the classrooms behind, approached from the Grove. In 1966 the membership was only 21. 'Settles' Folly' had been sold in 1948, became a furniture factory, was gutted by fire in 1952, and later demolished. It has been called a 'big monstrosity' of white and yellow brick with columned portico, a 115-ft. spire, and 'debased classical' detail. Inside were two galleries, one above the other. (fn. 131)
The Victoria Docks church, Victoria Dock Road, was built in 1869 by James Duncan, the sugarrefiner. (fn. 132) It was at first a union church, embracing Congregationalists, Baptists, and a few Presbyterians, the last of whom soon set up on their own. The first minister, Josiah Foster (1871–99), was a Baptist. Duncan supported the church for many years. Later the London Congregational Union assumed responsibility for it. A mission was opened in West Silvertown in 1883; this was short-lived, but another, opened in Prince Regent Lane in 1885, continued until it was burnt down in 1908. (fn. 133) Foster published a magazine, The Helping Hand, which had a circulation of 3,000–4,000. From 1906 to 1917 Victoria Docks formed part of the South West Ham mission. In 1921 it was taken over by the Shaftesbury Society, which has maintained it since then as the Victoria Docks mission. An annexe was added in 1927. The main building was destroyed during the Second World War but subsequently rebuilt. The society publishes a small quarterly, Dockland News, and does much social work.
West Ham Park church, East Road, later Upton Manor church, Pelly Road, probably originated about 1879, when the West Ham Park Tabernacle was registered. (fn. 134) It was then said to be Independent Methodist, and there is also evidence of Baptist connexions. (fn. 135) Perhaps it was a union church like others in West Ham at that time. By 1890 it had become Congregational. In 1904 the congregation bought the former United Methodist Free church in Pelly Road, to which they moved as Upton Manor church, but this ceased by 1909. The East Road building was probably that taken over by the Anglicans as the Constance Fairbairn memorial church for the deaf and dumb, which is said to have belonged to the Strict Baptists and to have had a baptistery tank. (fn. 136) The Pelly Road building became the Given-Wilson institute, associated with St. Mary's, Plaistow. (fn. 137)
Romford Road church, Forest Gate, was founded by local Congregationalists under John Curwen. (fn. 138) The Norwich Hall was opened in 1880. The first minister, Robert Nobbs (1882–1900), built the main church (1885), opened a mission in Watson Street, Plaistow (c. 1890–1945), and increased the membership to over 300. A. Depledge Sykes (1900–4) was a follower of R. J. Campbell and caused dissension in the church. Early in the Second World War the main buildings were damaged and from 1941 meetings were held in the adjacent iron hall. Repairs, involving a complete internal reconstruction of the church, were completed in 1958. (fn. 139) In 1966 the membership was 22.
Greengate church, Barking Road, Plaistow, was founded in 1886 by George T. Allpress, a Primitive Methodist local preacher, who erected a small building in Samson Street and assembled a few working people. (fn. 140) These were mostly Methodists and followed Methodist procedures, but the church was completely independent, and in 1888 joined the Essex Congregational Union. In 1892 an iron church was erected in Barking Road, Samson Street being retained as the Sunday school until the Second World War, when it was bombed. Missionary work at Ford's Park, Beckton Road, led to the formation of a new church there in 1894. Allpress left in 1896, though he later returned to the East End, where he worked until his death in 1949, becoming nationally prominent in the Congregational Church. From 1909 to 1914 the church, now called Greengate, belonged to the South West Ham mission. Its membership, which in 1902 was 108, was still as high as 97 in 1940, thanks partly to a revival under Frank Lenwood (1926–34) (fn. 141) during which the building was also renovated. In 1943 Greengate was joined by the members of Balaam Street, forming the united Plaistow church. Greengate was bombed in 1945, and was rebuilt in 1949–56. In 1966 it had 93 members.
Ford's Park church, Beckton Road, was founded in 1894 by G. T. Allpress of Greengate. (fn. 142) Services were held in a stable until 1904, when an iron building was erected. E. T. Egg, who helped to launch many new churches in the area, was temporary pastor from 1901 until his death in 1905. Although never strong the church continued steadily until it was bombed in 1940. The site was later sold.
Free Church of England and Reformed Episcopal Church.
A Free Church of England, meeting at no. 13, Balaam Street, Plaistow, existed briefly in 1873. (fn. 143)
St. Alethia's Reformed Protestant church, Park Avenue, Stratford, was founded by Thomas Crow (d. 1886), a retired Baptist minister and temperance reformer who lived at Rokeby House. (fn. 144) A group of 'Rational Christians' registered a meeting at his house in 1875, and in 1882 moved to Park Avenue, where a permanent church was built in 1888. (fn. 145) His son continued to support the church after his death, and it survived until 1903 or later.
St. John's Reformed Episcopal church, Plashet Road, Upton, was built in 1889 by James (later Bishop) Renny, its first minister (1889–94); in 1912 it was taken over by the Moravians. (fn. 146)
Christ Church, Earlham Grove, was founded about 1893 by seceders from the established Anglican church of Emmanuel, Forest Gate, who disliked the ritualism of the vicar. (fn. 147) They were led by C. G. Poupard, a former churchwarden. (fn. 148) Christ Church still existed in 1903. (fn. 149)
A meeting at 'Ham' was in existence by 1656. It was short-lived, and probably fused with one at Plaistow, of which there is evidence from 1671. (fn. 150) In 1677 the Plaistow meeting was being held at the house of Solomon Eccles (d. 1683), a wellknown fanatic. (fn. 151) Solomon's wife Ann left the meeting the reversion, after his death, of two cottages and land in North Street, and in 1704 a meeting-house was built on that site. It was probably there that John Wesley preached on his visits to Plaistow in 1739. (fn. 152) Plaistow was part of the same monthly meeting as Barking. (fn. 153) In 1823 a larger meeting-house was built beside the old one at a cost of £1,700. Some of the most eminent Quakers of the early 19th century met there: the Frys, Gurneys, Listers, Howards, and Barclays. (fn. 154) John Bright was a frequent visitor. (fn. 155) In 1870 it was decided to transfer the meeting to Wanstead, to which area the richer members had already migrated. It had been intended to close the Plaistow meeting-house, but it was eventually agreed that meetings should continue in the 'small meeting-house' (possibly that built in 1704) adjoining the main building. In 1872 the remainder of the property was leased to the West Ham school board, which used the 1823 meeting-house as a schoolroom. (fn. 156) In 1879 the board bought the freehold of the whole property, but the Friends were granted a long lease of the small meeting-house (fn. 157) and continued to meet there until 1924. (fn. 158) The 1823 meeting-house, which in 1968 was the canteen of West Ham college of further education, was demolished in 1969. Its north end was originally the main front. Until 1879 it had a roof pediment and five windows, with an entrance portico supported on Doric columns which are said to have come from Wanstead House, demolished in 1823, (fn. 159) but which cannot be identified in any known picture or description of Wanstead House. When the school board bought the building it altered the front in order to build a new schoolroom, later a gymnasium abutting on it to the north. (fn. 160) The colonnade was dismantled and rebuilt as three sides of a square structure at the north end of the extension. (fn. 161) It was later boxed-in by the insertion of brickwork between the columns. The small meeting-house, which adjoined the 1823 building to the east, had by 1968 been replaced by a modern building, but the stone flagged approach to it from North Street, with its curved flanking wall, still survived. Oak panelling was preserved in the corridor outside the canteen of the college, and in the adjoining offices. The caretaker's cottage, north-east of the small meeting-house, also survived in 1968; it was a small brick building of the 18th or early 19th century with later additions.
The Barclay Hall, Green Street, was founded by the Bedford Institute Association in 1900, when an iron building was erected in memory of Joseph and Jane Barclay. (fn. 162) Within a year some 800 people were already connected with various religious, social, and educational activities of the centre, and another building had been added. In 1902 Barclay Hall became a full mission church, in 1904 the Sunday meeting was recognized under the Radcliff and Barking monthly meeting and in 1906 a permanent brick building was opened. The hall was bought by the borough council in 1948, and in 1949 was reopened as an adult education and social centre.
Latter-Day Saints (Mormons).
In 1856 two societies of Latter-Day Saints registered premises in West Ham. One, at the Carpenters Arms, Church Street, cancelled its registration in 1866. (fn. 163) The other, at no. 5, Wharf Place, Canning Town, had ceased by 1897. (fn. 164) A meeting at the Assembly hall, Maryland Road, Stratford, was registered in 1868. (fn. 165) In 1903 the only Mormon congregation in the borough was using the Workmen's hall, West Ham Lane. (fn. 166)
The three Methodist connexions which united in 1932 had a total of 18 or 19 churches in West Ham, most of them in decline. Amalgamations, already discussed before 1939, became inevitable as a result of bombing during the Second World War. The most notable new schemes have been the rebuilding of Woodgrange Road church to accommodate the remnants of five former societies at Forest Gate, and the building of a new church at Fife Road for three societies at Canning Town. In 1965 the five remaining churches in the borough lay in four circuits: the London mission (Poplar), London mission (Bow), London mission (Stratford New Town), and Leytonstone and Forest Gate. In the individual accounts below, ex-Wesleyan (W), ex-Primitive (P), and ex-United (U) churches are treated in that order, followed by the Conference hall, which became Methodist in 1934, and Fife Road.
John Wesley visited Plaistow in 1739 and preached at a meeting-house (fn. 167), presumably that of the Quakers, but there is no evidence that a Methodist society was formed in the parish until the end of the 18th century.
Stratford (W), successively in High Street, Chapel Street, and the Grove, was the first permanent Methodist church in West Ham. Wesley visited Stratford several times between 1783 and 1791, and there was a chapel there by 1790. (fn. 168) In the 1820s the Methodists were meeting in a building at the corner of Wood's Yard, High Street, between Chapel Street and Bridge Road. This was probably on the same site as the original chapel, though enlargement or rebuilding had taken place in 1811. (fn. 169) It was in the London, and later in the Spitalfields (or 3rd London) circuit. (fn. 170) In 1828 the society bought from Samuel Allen the former Unitarian chapel in Chapel Street. The Wood's Yard building was retained as a schoolroom until the lease expired in 1830. It was demolished for road widening in 1890. (fn. 171) The site was near no. 383, High Street, occupied in 1963 by the borough housing department. (fn. 172)
At Chapel Street the society added a schoolroom and a cottage completed by 1831. For the next 30 years it was constantly in debt, and it was further weakened by the Wesleyan Reform troubles of 1849–52, when it lost most of its members. (fn. 173) In 1851 the total Sunday congregations were only 80 (fn. 174) and closure was contemplated. From 1851 to 1860 inclusive there were only 15 baptisms compared with 72 in 1841–50. During these years the church owed its survival mainly to George Biddle, a tailor, who supported it with service, as trust secretary, and with loans. It was included in the St. George's circuit, formed in 1863. (fn. 175) In the 1860s, with increasing population, the church revived and grew. From 1866 a mission was being held in the Workmen's hall, West Ham Lane, and about the same time a house meeting was started in Chandos Road. (fn. 176) In 1868 the Stratford circuit was formed under Alexander McAulay, a distinguished and influential minister. A much larger church was planned, and in 1870 Chapel Street was sold to the Primitive Methodists.
The new church was opened, on the east side of the Grove, in 1871, at a cost of £6,000. It seated 1,000 and was an imposing building with a pedimented classical front and a recessed portico. Schoolrooms were added in 1873. The Grove, at the head of the Stratford circuit, was for many years the leading Wesleyan church in West Ham and the mother of several others. About 1876 a mission was started at Abbey Lane, and in 1878 the Chandos Road mission was transferred to the Mechanics' institute, Store Street. The membership was 281 in 1887 and 413 in 1910. In 1891 the leaders supported the formation of a committee to sponsor candidates for local government elections.
After the First World War, and the constitution of Stratford New Town mission (the Mechanics' institute) as a separate church, the Grove declined. In 1919 it was renovated and re-named the Stratford Central hall, (fn. 177) with a membership of 262. It remained in the Stratford circuit, with Stratford New Town and Abbey Lane, as the Stratford mission. With the increasing local poverty social work became more important, and included a slate club, teas for the blind, and a weekly 'poor man's lawyer'. By this time, however, the cost of maintaining the buildings was outrunning local resources, and in 1930, when its membership was 187, the Central hall sought inclusion in the London mission and an annual grant. It joined the existing Plaistow mission, which then became the London mission (West Ham). The Stratford circuit came to an end, its other churches joining the new Leytonstone and Forest Gate circuit. Financial difficulties continued, however, and the entry into the London mission (West Ham) of the previously undenominational Conference hall (1934), (fn. 178) situated near the Central hall and similar in character, probably split the decreasing membership, which in 1939 was 125. The Central hall was bombed in 1940, and the congregation was halved by evacuation. By then, if not before, the Abbey Lane mission had probably ceased. The London mission withdrew its grant, and in 1941 the remaining members joined Conference hall. (fn. 179) In 1953 the Central hall was demolished, and the site sold, the area being scheduled for offices. 'Portable' war damage compensation went towards the building of new churches at Princes Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, and Harold Hill, Romford. A foundation stone (1873) from the Grove has been incorporated in the Harold Hill church.
Ebenezer (W), Greengate Street, Plaistow, is said to have been built in 1825, but closed a few years later for non-payment of ground rent. Its members joined North Street Congregational church, where a gallery (presumably that of 1835) was built for them. (fn. 180) No more is known about Ebenezer, unless it originated in the society which registered a chapel in Greengate Street in 1818. (fn. 181)
Barking Road (W) originated in 1857, when Thomas Jacob, a Wesleyan from Cambridge, started services in Sabberton Street. (fn. 182) Services, Sunday school, and a day-school were later held in Hallsville Road. In 1862 a school-chapel, seating 250, was built on the north side of Barking Road, east of Canning Town railway station. (fn. 183) Owing mainly to the efforts of the superintendent minister, J. S. Workman, a larger building was opened in 1868, (fn. 184) heading a new Canning Town circuit, with a membership of 150. The society had previously belonged first to the Spitalfields, then to the Bow circuit. The old chapel continued in use as a day and Sunday school. The new one, with all its records, was destroyed by a fire of 1887 and rebuilt in the same year. Barking Road was transferred to the Seamen's Mission in 1907, when the Cory Institute was erected, costing £6,000, of which £2,000 was given by John Cory of Cardiff. Unemployment and movement of population after the closing of the Thames Ironworks weakened the church about this time, but it revived and flourished until the 1930s. It was destroyed by bombing in September 1940, and a temporary building was erected on the site in 1948. (fn. 185) In 1957 it joined the London Mission (West Ham), with a membership of 50. (fn. 186) The temporary building was sold and in 1960 the congregation amalgamated with Custom House (P) and Shirley Street (U) in a new church at Fife Road, Canning Town. (fn. 187) War damage compensation from Barking Road helped to build a new church at Harold Wood, Hornchurch, in 1962. (fn. 188) In 1963 there was a petrol station on the Barking Road site.
High Street (W), Plaistow, originated about 1867, with meetings in North Street, and a chapel in Richmond Street was registered in 1870. (fn. 189) In 1876 the society built a hall at the corner of Swete Street and High Street. A church seating 900 was completed on the High Street front of the site in 1880 and a second hall in 1887. (fn. 190) In 1903 High Street was the second largest Methodist church in West Ham (fn. 191) and between 1904 and 1914 its membership increased from 303 to 408. (fn. 192) It was in the Canning Town circuit until 1907, when it headed the new Upton Manor circuit. This was divided again in 1926, High Street joining the London mission (Plaistow), which was merged in the London mission (West Ham) in 1930. (fn. 193) By 1940 the church membership was only 141, of whom 81 had been evacuated. (fn. 194) In 1941 the buildings were destroyed by bombing. Services were held at the Given-Wilson institute until 1942, when the congregation moved into the Harold Road (U) church. (fn. 195) Harold Road then became a refuge for the remnants of several bombed Methodist churches, and the repository of many of their records. (fn. 196) It was the High Street society, however, that finally assumed responsibility for the Harold Road buildings, and war damage compensation from High Street provided a new schoolroom at Harold Road in 1958. (fn. 197) In 1962 the society, with a membership of 57, was transferred to the London mission (Poplar). The High Street site was compulsorily acquired by the borough council in 1954 and was used for flats. (fn. 198)
Stratford New Town (W) originated about 1870 when members from Chapel Street started services in Chandos Road. (fn. 199) These were transferred in 1878 to the Mechanics' institute, Store Street. (fn. 200) As Stratford New Town mission this remained attached to the Grove until 1919, when it became a separate society, in the Stratford circuit. It was transferred to the Leytonstone and Forest Gate circuit in 1930. Between 1918 and 1939 it was concerned mainly with youth work. Premises at the Anglican church of St. Mark, Windmill Lane, a mission of St. Paul's, Stratford, were borrowed for club meetings, and in 1939, when the institute became an A.R.P. post, Sunday services also were transferred to St. Mark's. After the Second World War the Methodists bought St. Mark's, then derelict as a result of bombing, restored it, and added club rooms. In 1955 it became a single station, the London Mission (Stratford New Town). (fn. 201)
North Woolwich (W), Albert Road, Silvertown, originated about 1870, with missions conducted by Wesleyans from Woolwich. (fn. 202) A brick church was opened on the north side of Albert Road in 1871. This building, near the docks and railway, was weakened by subsidence, and in 1914 it was demolished and replaced by an iron church. Membership rose from 28 in 1904 to 51 in 1911, but fell to 22 in 1916 and 12 in 1936. The church was closed for a time at the beginning of the Second World War and damaged by bombing in 1943. It was opened again in 1949 but finally closed in 1959, the site being sold. (fn. 203) The church was successively in the Canning Town and Upton Manor circuits, the London mission (Plaistow) and London mission (West Ham).
Woodgrange Road (W), Forest Gate, originated in 1878, when members of the Stratford circuit erected an iron building in this growing residential area. A permanent church was built in 1881–2 with the aid of funds from Sir Francis Lycett. (fn. 204) In 1903 this had the largest Protestant congregation in the borough. It remained strong even after the First World War. Under C. F. Ream (1919–25) services were crowded, debts cleared, and strong support given to overseas missions. (fn. 205) In 1930 Woodgrange was included in the Leytonstone and Forest Gate circuit. (fn. 206) Up to 1939 there was still a congregation of 800. In 1941 the church was bombed, and its members moved to the Field Road (U) church, where they were joined later that year by the remnant of Upton Lane (P). In 1956 a dual-purpose hall was opened on the Woodgrange site. The members of Katherine Road (U), East Ham, were incorporated at that time, followed by those from Clinton Road (P), whose premises were sold in 1959. The new Woodgrange church, designed by Paul Mauger, was opened in 1962, with the names of the five amalgamating societies on the foundation stone. Over the porch is the figure of an evangelist moulded in concrete by Peter Peri.
The German (W), Star Lane, Canning Town, originated about 1890. A London (German) circuit, established by the Wesleyan Conference in 1868, was headed after 1881 by the Peter Böhler church, Commercial Road (Lond.). (fn. 207) By 1881–2 German Methodists, possibly workers in the sugar-refineries, were seeking premises in Silvertown. (fn. 208) A Wesleyan hall registered in 1892 at 'Clover Road' (Clove Street?), Canning Town (fn. 209), may have been the first meeting-place of the Germans whose small church in Star Lane was opened in 1893. (fn. 210) In 1903 this had total Sunday congregations of 19. The Germans were still there in 1911 (fn. 211) but left c. 1914. The building later served as Tyrell evangelical chapel and then as a branch of Canning Town Peculiar People's church.
Horeb Welsh (W) church, Cumberland Road, Plaistow, was opened in 1915 by a society founded at Poplar in 1880. (fn. 212) It was in the London (Welsh) circuit. Membership was under 50, and the church was sold in 1939. Some of the members joined the Welsh Methodist society which in 1945 took over Sibley Grove church, East Ham.
A Wesleyan church at 13–15 Tidal Basin Road, Canning Town, registered in 1926, had ceased by 1935. (fn. 213)
Primitive Methodism came to West Ham about 1850, but its growth was largely the work of Richard S. Blair, who as superintendent of the 8th London circuit (1874–81), the 13th London (Canning Town) circuit (1881–6), and the Upton Park circuit (1886–1904) built five new churches in West Ham. (fn. 214)
Ebenezer (P), Henniker Road, Stratford, probably originated about 1849. In 1851 a small society, which for two years had been 'driven from room to room' leased the Ark chapel, Francis Street, previously Baptist. (fn. 215) They still occupied the Ark in 1861. (fn. 216) This was no doubt the society which in 1863 built Ebenezer, on the corner of Henniker and Major Roads. (fn. 217) Additional buildings were erected in 1889. (fn. 218) In 1883 Ebenezer, previously in the 3rd London circuit, joined the new Stratford circuit, which it headed from 1894 to 1923. (fn. 219) In 1924 it was included in the new Leytonstone and Stratford circuit. (fn. 220) By 1940 it had been taken over by an undenominational Cripples Fellowship. (fn. 221) It was demolished in 1961 or 1962. (fn. 222)
Canning Town (P), Swanscombe Street, later Mary Street, originated in 1853 when members of the 3rd London circuit started mission meetings. (fn. 223) A church was built in Swanscombe Street in 1858–9 and enlarged in 1861. It was included in the new 8th London circuit (1874) and in 1877, through the efforts of R. S. Blair and financial aid from James Duncan the sugar-refiner, a new church, seating over 1,000, was opened in Mary Street. The importance of open-air work was stressed by the erection of a permanent platform on land adjoining the church and by frequent street processions. In 1882 Blair and Duncan petitioned the brewster sessions against the granting of more indoor licences. Mary Street headed the new Canning Town circuit (1881) (fn. 224) and in 1903 had the largest Primitive Methodist congregation in West Ham. It was bombed about 1943 and was later demolished. (fn. 225)
Chapel Street (P), Stratford, originated about 1867 in cottage services. (fn. 226) In 1870 the former Wesleyan church in Chapel Street was bought for this working-class congregation, which advertised for funds to meet the price of £550. (fn. 227) It was at first in the 3rd London and later in the Stratford circuit. (fn. 228) The church still existed in 1903, but was put up for sale in 1906. (fn. 229)
Colne (formerly Charles) Street (P), Plaistow, originated about 1870 with services in Kelland Road. (fn. 230) In 1883 R. S. Blair and H. E. Lester built a small church in Charles Street. It was at first in the Canning Town circuit, later in the Custom House branch circuit, and in 1940, when the membership was 30, it entered the London Mission (West Ham). (fn. 231) It was later bombed, and the site was sold in 1960. War damage compensation helped to build a new church at Aveley.
West Ham Park (P), Stratford Road, originated in 1876, when open-air services were held in this growing district. (fn. 232) A school-chapel was built by R. S. Blair in 1877. Two houses were built next to the church in 1883, their rents providing an endowment. The church headed the West Ham circuit, formed in 1895. In 1896 a new church was erected. This, and the previous buildings, had been provided partly by borrowing, and West Ham Park was still in debt in 1940–1, when it was wrecked by bombing. Its assets were transferred to the London Mission (West Ham) in 1946, and by 1948 all the premises had been demolished. Portway junior school was built on the site. War damage compensation from Stratford Road helped to build a new church at Chingford Hatch. (fn. 233)
Custom House (P), Bridgeland (formerly Frederick) Road, originated in 1881, with open-air services led by R. S. Blair. (fn. 234) In 1882 a society was formed, meeting in Brindisi Terrace. An iron church was erected in Frederick Road in 1883. When this was burnt down in 1888 it was replaced by a small brick building. Frederick Road probably headed the Custom House branch circuit, formed in 1901. (fn. 235) During the Second World War it escaped serious damage, and in 1942 received the remnants of the Canning Town (P) and Shirley Street (U) churches. (fn. 236) It was then in the London Mission (Canning Town). (fn. 237) In 1960 Custom House united with the Shirley Street and Barking Road (W) societies to build a new church in Fife Road. (fn. 238) The Bridgeland Road building had been demolished by 1966.
Clinton (formerly Cobbold) Road (P), Forest Gate, was opened in 1882–3, probably as an offshoot of Ebenezer, Henniker Road. (fn. 239) It was in the Stratford circuit until 1924, the Leytonstone and Stratford circuit (1924–41), and the Leyton (P) circuit (1941–59). (fn. 240) In 1959 it united with four other societies in the new Woodgrange Road church. The Clinton Road building was sold to the Forest Gate Bible Students.
Upton Lane (P), Forest Gate, originated about 1889, in meetings led by R. S. Blair. (fn. 241) A church was erected in 1892 and placed under Blair's superintendence as the Forest Gate mission. It became the separate Forest Gate circuit in 1904. (fn. 242) By 1940 it was in the West Ham (P) circuit. (fn. 243) It was closed soon after, and its members joined Field Road (U), later moving with them to the new Woodgrange Road church. (fn. 244) In 1966 the Upton Lane building was a clothing factory.
United Methodism in West Ham goes back to a Wesleyan Association church opened near Bow Bridge in 1838. Whether this was a secession from the old Wesleyan church in Chapel Street, Stratford, is not known. There is no doubt, however, that Chapel Street was affected by the Reform troubles of 1849–52. The 3rd London circuit, to which it belonged, contained many Reformers, and when they seceded from it about 1850, they set up an exactly parallel organization. Peter McOwan, superintendent of the old Wesleyan circuit (1850–3), described the situation in a letter thus: '… we have the chief men of the [Reform] movement living within our borders. They … have resolved on annihilating our circuit, their circuit they call the "Third London circuit" … they treat us … as if we had no existence … their success is great.' (fn. 247) Chapel Street just escaped annihilation, but the local Reformers were strong enough to set up their own society at Stratford and probably also a new one at Canning Town. At the union of 1857 these both became part of the United Methodist Free Church, and during the 1860s two other churches of that connexion were formed in West Ham. All four belonged to the 3rd London circuit, and later to the 5th London (Stratford) circuit, which after the union of 1907 became the Forest Gate circuit. (fn. 248)
The Wesleyan Association church, Stratford, the only one of this denomination known in Essex, was opened in 1838 on the south side of High Street, near Bow Bridge. Robert Eckett, a leading minister of the Association, preached at the opening services, and the society entered the London circuit. (fn. 249) In 1847 a new schoolroom was added, and in the following year the church seems to have been included in the new 2nd London circuit. (fn. 250) Its total Sunday congregations in 1851 were about 200. (fn. 251) In 1857 it was sold to the Unitarians. (fn. 252) Since that was the year of the national union between the Wesleyan Association and the Wesleyan Reformers to form the United Methodist Free Church it is likely that the Bow Bridge congregation joined the Bridge Road church.
Bridge Road (U), Stratford, was founded by Wesleyan Reformers seceding from Chapel Street. 'Stratford Broadway' appears in the joint plan of the 3rd and 8th London (Reform) circuits in 1852. (fn. 253) This was no doubt the society which in 1854 registered a church in Bridge Road. (fn. 254) A new building was erected there in 1860. (fn. 255) It was closed about 1907 as part of the scheme for building Katherine Road (U), East Ham. (fn. 256) The building was registered for worship in 1924 by an undenominational body, and in 1930 by the Elim Four Square Gospel Alliance. (fn. 257)
Shirley Street (U), Canning Town, was founded in 1853, when meetings were started, probably by Wesleyan Reformers, at Coke Oven Cottages, on the site of the later Thames Ironworks. (fn. 258) At least two of its early members, J. B. Day and J. Chipchase, had been delegates to the Reform meeting at Albion chapel, Moorgate (Lond.) in 1850. (fn. 259) A small church was built in Victoria Dock Road in 1860–1. (fn. 260) This was sold to the school board in 1873, when a new church and schoolroom were built in Shirley Street. Tom Warren, who was a successful lay agent at this church, left in 1895 to go as pastor to Brickfields Congregational. Shirley Street was bombed in 1940, but continued in use until 1942, when the members moved to Canning Town (P). When that too was bombed a remnant went to Custom House (P). War damage compensation from Shirley Street helped to build the new church in Fife Road, Canning Town, in 1960. The Shirley Street site was sold to the borough council and by 1963 was occupied by houses.
Field Road (U), Forest Gate, originated about 1861, when Free Methodists from the 3rd London circuit started mission meetings. (fn. 261) In 1863 a school-chapel was built at the corner of Field Road and Essex Street, and the church, seating 500, was added in 1870. In 1880–2 the church was enlarged and a new hall was built at the corner of Essex Street and Norfolk Street. There were further extensions in 1907. Field Road became head of the Forest Gate circuit, for many years one of the leading United Methodist circuits. Among early converts there was Tom Elliott, who became a prominent evangelist, known as 'The Happy Shoemaker'. (fn. 262) The ministry of James Wright (1889–1902) was its most prosperous period. After the First World War it declined. Closure was averted by Sir William Mallinson, Bt. (1854–1936), the timber merchant, who had been associated with Field Road since its foundation. He settled £3,200 on the church and in 1930 re-seated the building at his own expense. Field Road was joined in 1941 by the members of Woodgrange Road (W), whose own church had been bombed, and a little later by those of Upton Lane (P). This united society met at Field Road until the opening of the new building at Woodgrange Road in 1956. The Field Road buildings were later demolished, and by 1962 flats had been built on the site.
Harold Road (U), Plaistow, originated in Free Methodist missions held about 1865. (fn. 263) A church was registered in 1868 in Pelly Road, (fn. 264) where a permanent building was erected in 1870–1. (fn. 265) By 1881 the membership was about 90, and there were several accessions of converts during the 1880s and 1890s. In 1903 a new church, seating 650, was opened in Harold Road. Pelly Road was sold to the West Ham Park Congregationalists, but for less than had been hoped, so that the new church remained in debt for twenty years. In 1907–8 mortgage interest consumed a third of its income; this burden was especially heavy since the congregation was by then almost entirely working-class. (fn. 266) In 1903 Harold Road was the largest Free Methodist society in West Ham and during the next 10 years membership was usually about 130, but after the war numbers fell continuously, to about 30 in 1939. Changes of minister were then very frequent, so that the decline was probably accelerated by lack of leadership. Closure was already under consideration by 1938, (fn. 267) and by 1942 the church had almost ceased to function except for the Sunday school. This was the position when the bombed-out society from High Street (W) took over the premises. (fn. 268)
The West Ham Park Tabernacle, East Road, was registered as an Independent Methodist church in 1879. (fn. 269) Little is known about it, and it is unlikely to have belonged to one of the main branches of Methodism. Possibly it was the result of a secession from Pelly Road. It had Baptist links and the building was later used by the West Ham Park Congregationalists and then by All Saints church for the deaf and dumb. (fn. 270)
The Conference Hall, West Ham Lane, Stratford, which became Methodist in 1934, originated in 1884 when the American evangelists Moody and Sankey visited West Ham. (fn. 271) As a result of their mission about 300 men 'reclaimed from a life of drunkenness' formed the Mizpah band, which in the same year joined with the Young Men's Christian Association to build a hall seating 1,600 on a site given by Miss Eccles. (fn. 272) The hall was administered by a council of Anglicans and nonconformists. The leading member was Clement Boardman, a Congregationalist, who was treasurer until 1911, and whose sons continued his work. Activities included a Sunday school, a choir, a band, a library, and relief work. In 1903 the Sunday evening congregation at the hall was the largest at any church in West Ham. In 1890 the Mizpah band with their own hands built a cottage behind the hall. The Jubilee hall (1897) and Memorial hall (1912) were given by Boardman. Conference hall began to decline about 1923, partly because supporters were leaving the district, and in 1934 the hall was taken over by the Methodist London Mission (West Ham). In 1941 the main hall was destroyed by bombing. Work continued in the other buildings, and between 1962 and 1966 a small new church was built in Bryant Street behind the main hall site. Conference hall was transferred in 1962 to the London mission (Bow).
Fife Road church, Canning Town, was opened in 1960 in the London Mission (West Ham). (fn. 273) It replaced three older churches: Barking Road (W), Shirley Street (U), and Custom House (P), of which the first two had been bombed during the Second World War. The cost of Fife Road, which included a manse, was met partly by war damage compensation for Shirley Street. In 1962 the church was transferred to the London mission (Poplar).
Upton Manor church, Plashet Road, previously Reformed Episcopal, was taken over by the Moravians in 1912. (fn. 274) In 1932, when it was at the peak of its membership, the bicentenary of the Moravian missions was held at the town hall, Stratford. During the Second World War the church's iron schoolroom was destroyed by bombing.
Peculiar People (Union of Evangelical Churches).
Canning Town Evangelical church, Cliff Street, originated about 1870 in meetings led by Daniel Tansley. (fn. 275) A church was built in 1873 and was affiliated to the Peculiar People. In 1897–8 a Plaistow man belonging to this sect, and probably to this church, was convicted of manslaughter after refusing, on religious grounds, to seek medical aid for his dying son. (fn. 276) In 1908 the local members of this sect were said to live especially in Fisher and Edward Streets, and to form exclusive work gangs at Beckton gasworks. (fn. 277) Additional buildings were erected before the First World War, and about 1925 the society also acquired the Tyrell chapel, Star Lane. (fn. 278) About 1959 the Cliff Street church was rebuilt. (fn. 279)
Holt Road mission hall was registered in 1910 by the 'Liberty Section' of the Peculiar People; it had ceased by 1956. (fn. 282)
Presbyterian Church of England.
Trinity church, Leytonstone Road, Maryland Point, was founded in 1863 by Andrew Black, of the United Presbyterian Church, who became the first minister (1863–75). (fn. 283) A hall was built in 1864 and the church itself in 1870. It was a brick and stone building in the Gothic style, with a spired angle tower. After early difficulties Trinity flourished under Alexander Jeffrey (1888–1906), the building debt being cleared and communicants numbering over 400, including many seamen. The leading layman at this period was an engine-driver, Alexander Keir. From 1906 the church was declining, and in 1941 it was closed, the members joining East Avenue church, Manor Park, which then took the name Trinity. (fn. 284) The Leytonstone Road building, later used as a factory, was destroyed by fire in 1953. The church hall still survived, as a factory, in 1966.
Victoria Docks church, Hack Road, was built in 1872 by James Duncan, the sugar-refiner, to meet the needs of his Scottish workers. (fn. 285) It was bombed early in the Second World War, and not rebuilt.
Silvertown church, Tate Road, was built in 1882, also by local manufacturers, and it ended like Hack Road. (fn. 286)
Presbyterian Church of Wales (Calvinistic Methodists).
Stratford church, Romford Road, originated in 1890, and the building was erected in 1894. (fn. 287) It was closed after bombing in 1940. Some of its former members later helped to build Moreia at Leytonstone. (fn. 288) The Romford Road building became a bedding factory.
At Canning Town Salvation Army work started in 1872. A centre registered at Fox Street in 1875 moved to Bradley Street, Beckton Road, in 1910. It was closed in 1964 and later demolished for road widening. (fn. 289) A centre in Freemasons Road, opened 1909, moved to Coolfin Road in 1928. It was burnt down about 1940, but the Army retains the site for rebuilding. (fn. 290) Premises were also registered in Prince Regent Lane (1903–13), Woodstock Street (1922–32), and Ashburton Road (1925). (fn. 291)
At Plaistow work started in 1873, and a hall was registered in Upper Road in 1875. This was still in use in 1966. (fn. 292) There was a young people's hall in The Broadway, Plaistow, from 1903 to 1904. (fn. 293)
At Stratford a large hall was opened in Angel Lane in 1883. (fn. 294) In 1903 it had total Sunday congregations of 957, and it continued in strength and social importance through years of unemployment up to the 1930s. Membership was increased by a revival and faith-healing campaign in 1925. The hall was damaged during the Second World War. In 1965 it was closed under a redevelopment scheme, and the Stratford corps moved to the Goodwill community centre, Paul Street, built by the Army's centenary appeal fund. The soldiers' roll was then 32.
At Silvertown there was a centre in Parker Street from 1893; a hall built there in 1913 closed in 1961. (fn. 295) Premises were also registered in Oriental Road (1889) and Victoria Dock Road (1892). (fn. 296)
At Upton Park a centre (previously in Crescent Road, East Ham) was registered in 1913 in Plashet Road; it ceased by 1928. (fn. 297)
Dames Road church, Forest Gate, registered in 1902, had ceased by 1913. (fn. 298)
Plaistow church, Cumberland Road, was formed by 1903. (fn. 299) Meetings were held above a shop in Braemar Road until 1932, when the present hall was built.
Stratford church, Idmiston Road, registered in 1904, still existed in 1965 as an iron building. (fn. 300)
Priory Christian Spiritualist church, 4, Palmerston Road, Forest Gate, registered in 1934, still existed in 1963. (fn. 301)
Chapel Street church, Stratford, was registered in 1823 by Samuel Allen, who sold it in 1828 to the Wesleyans. (fn. 304)
Stratford church, West Ham Lane, does not appear to have been connected with the one in Chapel Street. (fn. 305) There was a Unitarian meeting at Stratford in 1810. (fn. 306) It was probably identical with the 'Christian Association' congregation formed about this time by Mr. Vidler, which is said to have met first at Bow Bridge and later at Bow (presumably in Middlesex). In 1857, under Thomas Rix (1857–79), a former Baptist, it bought the old Wesleyan Association chapel at Bow Bridge. A new church was built in West Ham Lane in 1869, to which a hall was added in 1885 and other rooms in 1910. (fn. 307) London Unitarians, including the Durning-Lawrence family, gave financial aid. From 1912 to 1933 the church was served by members of the order of Pioneer Preachers, founded by R. J. Campbell. In 1940, when it was bombed, the members found shelter in the Forest Gate church, but they later resumed services in the side buildings until about 1946, when the church was rebuilt.
Forest Gate church, Upton Lane, was formed in 1888 as an offshoot of Stratford; a hall was built in 1893. (fn. 308) It was intended to build the main church later, but this was never done. In 1901 an oak pulpit, preacher's desk, and other furnishings were bought from the factory of William Morris & Co.
The Conference hall, West Ham Lane (1884), for long West Ham's largest undenominational church, became Methodist in 1934. (fn. 309)
The London City Mission had two centres at West Ham in 1903: North Street, Stratford, and Balaam Street, Plaistow. (fn. 310) The Stratford hall was probably the one in North Place, High Street, which still existed in 1926. (fn. 311) The Mission was still using the Balaam Street premises in 1930. (fn. 312) In 1914 it had 7 centres in the borough, including the two already mentioned, a German mission in Swanscombe Street, Canning Town, and the Louisa Ashburton Hall, Victoria Dock Road, founded in 1888. (fn. 313) The Ashburton Hall continued in use until 1937. (fn. 314) The Mission also registered premises in Fen Street, Tidal Basin, in 1914, and in Nelson Street, Tidal Basin, in 1933. (fn. 315) Ridley Hall, Upton Lane, Forest Gate, registered as undenominational in 1894, and bombed in 1940, was rebuilt in 1951, and re-registered by the Mission. (fn. 316) The Goodwill mission, Ladysmith Road, Canning Town, registered in 1937, had been taken over by the London City Mission by 1960. (fn. 317) Varley Road hall, Custom House, known in 1922 as the Christian Community mission, was registered by the London City Mission in 1956. (fn. 318) The Mission also had premises in Naples Street, Stratford, in 1953. (fn. 319)
The Railway mission, Chobham Road, Stratford, was built in 1892. It received much early support from the Boardman family. (fn. 320) An evening congregation in 1903 numbered 624. The hall was bombed in 1940, but services continued in the remaining buildings. In 1965, when membership was about 40, rebuilding on another site was contemplated.
Other Churches and Missions.
At Plaistow a nonsectarian group registered a meeting in George Street in 1862. (fn. 321) Bethany Full Salvation mission, Chesterton Terrace, first registered in 1935, was still active in 1966. (fn. 322)
At Stratford the Ark chapel, Francis Street, originally Baptist and later Primitive Methodist, apparently remained in use as a mission hall from 1864 until 1954 or later. (fn. 323) The Amity Hall, Amity Road, was used by the Disciples of Christ in 1903–21. (fn. 324) The Elim Four Square Gospel Alliance registered a hall in Bridge Road in 1930. (fn. 325) Highway Hall, Romford Road, was first registered in 1936 and still existed, as an Evangelical free church, in 1965. (fn. 326) The Cripples Fellowship mission, Henniker Road, was registered in 1940, in a building formerly used by the (Primitive) Methodists. (fn. 327) The Jehovah's Witnesses registered rooms above a shop in Stratford Broadway in 1945; in 1966 they still occupied them. (fn. 328) Non-sectarian Christians registered an iron church in Barnby Street (1878), a meeting at Stratford town hall (1892) and one in Bridge Road (1924). (fn. 329) Salway chapel, Great Eastern Road, first recorded in 1887, was known as Enterprise Hall (c. 1892–3), and as Tyne Hall (c. 1893–8). (fn. 330)
At Forest Gate the Church of God, Dames Road, originated about 1884, when a Christian Israelite began preaching on Wanstead Flats. (fn. 331) Among his converts was Robert Rosier, who by will, proved 1893, left to the Branch Society of Christian Israelites £338, two houses, and land in Dames Road. (fn. 332) A small building was erected on this land in 1894–5. It was damaged by bombing in 1940 and was unusable for a few months. Permanent repairs were completed in 1952. In 1959 the Society of Christian Israelites sought to affiliate the church, but it refused to accept their doctrines, and in 1962 adopted the name Church of God (Forest Gate). Also at Forest Gate was the Ethical church (or the Emerson Ethical Brotherhood) meeting at the Earlham Hall, Earlham Grove, c. 1902–22. (fn. 333) The Seventh-Day Adventists registered a church at no. 133, Sebert Road, in 1929. (fn. 334) The Forest Gate Bible Students in 1959 bought the former (Primitive) Methodist church in Clinton Road. (fn. 335) The Kingsdown Christian mission, Tylney Road, was transferred to Forest Gate from Islington in 1960. (fn. 336) The Durning hall, Woodgrange Road, is described in another section. (fn. 337)
At Canning Town registrations include the Seamen's Bethel, Victoria Dock Road (1885), the Evangelical Tabernacle, Barking Road (1887), Emmanuel mission hall, Dartmouth Terrace (1904), and the New Barn Street gospel hall (1915). (fn. 338) Tyrell evangelical chapel, Star Lane, was opened c. 1916. It had previously been a German Methodist church, and its members included several former Methodists and one or two Germans. It was closed in 1924 and sold to the Peculiar People. (fn. 339) The Lighthouse mission, Victoria Dock Road (1921), was re-registered in Silvertown Way in 1949 by the Assemblies of God, and in 1966 was styled the Lighthouse Pentecostal church. (fn. 340) The Elim Four Square church, Bethell Avenue (1932), still survived in 1966. (fn. 341) The Pentecostal hall, Cranley Road, was registered in 1935. (fn. 342)
At Upton the Dock Labourers mission was registered in 1899. (fn. 343) A New Jerusalem (Sweden-borgian) church, previously meeting in Cann Hall Road, Leyton, (fn. 344) moved to Woodford Road, Forest Gate, in 1900. (fn. 345) It appears to have moved again, to Plashet Road, by 1902. (fn. 346) The Plashet Road building was re-registered in 1949 by the Bible Pattern Fellowship as the Glad Tidings Tabernacle. (fn. 347) A non-sectarian body at Studley House, Upton Lane (1915), was still meeting in 1966. (fn. 348)
The West Ham district synagogue originated in 1897, when Ephraim Samson, Symon Weber, and others organized services at Earlham Hall, Earlham Grove. (fn. 349) In 1899 a house was rented in Forest Lane and a reader appointed. The society bought no. 95, Earlham Grove, with land adjoining, and later no. 97, and in 1901 became associated with the United Synagogue. A permanent synagogue was built there in 1911. A communal hall and classrooms were added in 1928, when the synagogue acquired District status. A further extension on the north side took place in 1934. Bomb-damage received during the Second World War was repaired in 1948–9 and in 1958 the foundation stone of the West Ham Youth Synagogue was laid.
A Federated Synagogue was formed at Canning Town in 1901. (fn. 350) It was registered in 1908 as at no. 201, Barking Road, and in 1919 as at no. 269, where a new building was erected in 1923. (fn. 351)
Federated Synagogue meetings and classes were held in 1936–7 in Osborne Road and later in Claremont Road, Forest Gate. (fn. 352)
The Jews' cemetery, Forest Gate, originally comprising 5 a., was opened in 1858. (fn. 353) An ornate domed mausoleum, designed by Sir Matthew Digby Wyatt, (fn. 354) was erected there in 1866 for the burial of Evelina de Rothschild, whose husband, Ferdinand, was also buried there in 1898. The cemetery also contains the tomb of David Salomons (d. 1873), the first Jewish lord mayor of London. It had been extended to 11 a. by 1886; by 1965 it was a 'closed' cemetery. (fn. 355)