East Ham: Roman Catholicism, Nonconformity and Judaism

Pages 31-38

A History of the County of Essex: Volume 6. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1973.

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During the 1580s a secret Catholic printing press was operated for a short time at Green Street, East Ham, by the Jesuit missionary Robert Parsons, possibly assisted by members of the More family, one of whom, the wife of Thomas More, was presented for recusancy in 1582, along with another resident of the parish. (fn. 1) Lady Kempe, lady of the manor of East Ham, is included in a list, drawn up in 1643, of those whose lands were sequestrated by Parliament: she was said to be a Papist delinquent. (fn. 2) Another Roman Catholic landowner was Richard Langhorne (d. 1719). (fn. 3) A return of Essex papists drawn up in 1767 mentions under East Ham only the migrant Irish who visited the parish during the potato season, but in 1778 there were said to be 7 Roman Catholic families (presumably resident) in the parish. (fn. 4)

The Catholic industrial school, Manor Park, opened in 1868, contained the chapel of ST. NICHOLAS, Gladding Road, which was open to the public. (fn. 5) The church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Ilford, opened in 1899, included within its parish the northern part of East Ham. (fn. 6) The chapel of St. Nicholas was subsequently attached to Ilford until 1918, when it became the church of the new parish of Manor Park. (fn. 7) The church of ST. STEPHEN, Church Road, was built in 1924 as a chapel to St. Nicholas. It was rebuilt in 1959 and then became the parish church, with St. Nicholas as its chapel. (fn. 8)

A Catholic chapel at Boleyn Castle, East Ham, was registered for public worship in 1901. (fn. 9) This was attached to St. Edward's industrial school, opened in 1870. In 1906, when St. Edward's was closed, services were transferred to the new Catholic elementary school in Castle Street, where they were held until the opening, in 1911, of the present church of OUR LADY OF COMPASSION, Green Street, adjoining the school, for the new parish of Upton Park. (fn. 10)

The eastern part of East Ham was served from Barking until 1926, when the church of ST. MICHAEL, also used as a day school, was built in Tilbury Road. A larger school was built in 1931 and the original building was then used only as the church. A new church was opened in 1959. (fn. 11)

The church of OUR LADY AND ST. EDWARD, Silvertown, was opened in Bailey Street in 1887, and completed in 1892. The original building was in West Ham, though the adjoining school was in East Ham. In 1915, when the site of the church and school was taken over for the building of the King George V Dock, a temporary church was erected in Newland Street, East Ham. This was replaced by a permanent church in 1921. (fn. 12)


There are occasional references to nonconformists in East Ham from the 17th century onwards, but no permanent congregation appears to have been formed before the 1870s. In 1615 a man and his wife were presented in the archdeacon's court for refusing to attend the parish church, and for holding a conventicle in their home; they were suspected of being Brownists. (fn. 13) In 1665 members of a conventicle meeting in the house of William Williams of East Ham, gentleman, were fined by the Stratford magistrates. (fn. 14) These dissenters came from London, Stepney, Barking, Dagenham, and Hornchurch, as well as East Ham. Most of them were craftsmen, with such occupations as bricklayer, wheelwright, weaver, tanner, and blacksmith. This was almost certainly a Quaker meeting, since several of its members can be identified as Friends, from presentments of the 1670s and 1680s. (fn. 15) There was said to be one Quaker family in the parish in 1766, and two were reported in 1790. (fn. 16) A dissenters' meetinghouse appears to have existed in 1778, but had closed by 1790. (fn. 17) In 1802 and 1808 Baptist meetings were registered, in 1811 an Independent meeting, and in 1823 two meetings whose denomination is not stated: all these were in private houses. (fn. 18)

No nonconformist meeting was returned for East Ham at the Parliamentary inquiry of 1829 or the religious census of 1851. Apart from the small mission hall in Greenhill Grove, Little Ilford, (fn. 19) the first permanent nonconformist churches seem to have been those of the Primitive Methodists at North Woolwich, the Wesleyans in Market Street (later in Barking Road), the Free Methodists at Manor Park, and the London City Mission in Plashet Lane (Grangewood Street), all of which were founded about 1870. By 1903 there were at least 37 nonconformist churches in the urban district, with Sunday congregations totalling 13,346. (fn. 20) At that time East Ham had a higher percentage [64] of nonconformists among its worshippers than any other place in outer London. (fn. 21) The reason for this was probably that the phenomenal growth of the town during the 1890s focused upon it the attention of all the denominations at a time when they were becoming well geared to Metropolitan church extension, through central agencies with special funds.

The high priority enjoyed by East Ham as a home mission field is shown, just after 1903, by the building of the Wesleyan central hall, one of the largest of its kind in England, at a cost of £26,000. The size of the congregations attracted to the hall before the First World War demonstrates the popularity of nonconformity in East Ham at that period, but this is also proved by the proliferation of small churches, using iron buildings or private houses. Little more than four walls and a roof was needed to start a church, and occasionally even less might suffice: in one case the archway between two houses was fitted up as a temporary Primitive Methodist chapel.

In hurrying to form new churches the denominations competed against each other, even when conditions favoured collaboration. This caused comment at the time. In 1894 the Primitive Methodist Richard Blair, one of East Ham's most successful evangelists, discussing free church activity at Manor Park, wrote: 'There has been a good deal of overlapping … it is a great pity that some of us are not in some other district needing us more.' (fn. 22) The pressure of competition led some congregations to erect buildings larger than they could afford, in the hope of future growth that did not materialize. Thus the Congregational church in High Street North, Manor Park, opened new buildings in 1904 with a debt of over £5,000, and by 1907 was facing ruin. This church was less than ½ mile from another of the same denomination and at least eight others of different denominations.

The preponderance of nonconformists over the Anglicans in 1903 was not achieved merely by more numerous buildings. The free church congregations, as computed by Mudie-Smith, were on average slightly the larger, and they also had three out of the four churches with total attendances for the day of over 1,000, and eight out of the fourteen with over 500. (fn. 23) The Wesleyans were the strongest body, followed by the Baptists, Congregationalists, Free Methodists, Primitive Methodists, and Presbyterians: these bodies between them had over 60 per cent of the nonconformist churches and 90 per cent of their worshippers. No exact attendance figures are available after 1903. Free church activity, as reflected in membership figures, seems to have been fairly well maintained until the 1930s, but since then has fallen greatly, especially in the larger churches. There has been little new building since 1903, and some churches have been closed. While the total number of nonconformist places of worship is not much lower than in 1903 the older bodies are much weaker, both in numbers of buildings and in membership. The Congregationalists, for example, who in 1900 had four churches and 807 members, in 1966 had three churches and 107 members. (fn. 24)

The following accounts of individual churches were compiled in 1965.


New Beckton church, Beaconsfield Street, an iron building, was erected in 1888. (fn. 25)

Little Ilford Tabernacle, Sheringham Avenue, Manor Park, was founded in 1889, in White Post Lane (now High Street North). (fn. 26) In 1895 an iron building was erected in Salisbury Road. This was burnt down in 1897, but re-erected in the same year. In 1900 the congregation moved to Little Ilford Lane, still using an iron building. A permanent church was built in 1905. In 1957 a new hall, mainly for youth work, was added. This contains a large mural painting, completed in 1961, depicting 'Pilgrim's Progress'.

Manor Park Tabernacle, High Street North, was also founded in 1889. (fn. 27) It met first in a room in Carlyle Road, and later in the 'Gospel Shop', Romford Road (1890–93), and the former Congregational church in Greenhill Grove (1893–8). In 1898 an iron building was erected in High Street North, and in 1906 the present (1965) church was opened. The iron building was replaced in 1925 by a permanent Sunday school. For most of its history the church has had a settled minister.

Plashet Grove church, known at first as East Ham Tabernacle, originated about 1895 in services promoted by the London Baptist Association. (fn. 28) An iron building was erected on the corner of Katherine Road and Victoria Avenue, and was used until 1901, when the Plashet Grove church was completed. This is an aisled building of dark red brick, seating 1,000. In its early years it was one of the strongest nonconformist churches in East Ham, with a total attendance, on one Sunday in 1903, of 972.

Grantham gospel mission, Church Road, Manor Park, was founded in 1900 by F. Tite, a coal merchant, who erected an iron building in Southborough (now Grantham) Road. (fn. 29) In 1934 a new hall was built, on the corner of Church Road and Walton Road, and in 1959 a Sunday school was added. The honorary superintendents of the mission, all laymen, included Sydney P. Giller, who served from 1913 to 1946. From its early days the mission, though undenominational, had support from local Baptists, and in 1963 it joined the Baptist Union.

Bonny Downs church, Flanders Road, (fn. 30) originated in a Sunday school, held in the open air and later in a private house by Charles W. Howe, a young Baptist who had first visited the Bonny Downs district to distribute Spurgeon's tracts. (fn. 31) In 1908 he rented an empty shop on the corner of Bonny Downs Road (now Darwell Close) and Flanders Road, a free church was formed, and he became pastor. The present church was built in 1928. It joined the Baptist Union in 1946.

Strict Baptists.

Hope church, Stafford Road, originally called Ebenezer, was founded in 1889 at Ferndale Road, Forest Gate, by two London ministers, F. C. Holden of Limehouse, and John Box of Soho. (fn. 32) In 1902 two rooms in Red Post Lane (now Katherine Road) were registered for worship, and these were used until 1906, when Hope was opened. A primary school hall was built in 1939, to which an upper storey with three classrooms was added in 1950.

Rehoboth church, High Street North, Manor Park, was built in 1907. (fn. 33) The congregation, which traced its origin back to 1830, had moved in 1905 from Rehoboth, Wellesley Street, Stepney (Lond.) to temporary rooms in Romford Road, Manor Park. The cost of the High Street church was met mainly by invested funds obtained by the sale, in 1874, of a previous building owned by the congregation. The move took place during the ministry (1895–1915) of Jabez Parnell. A new schoolroom was added in 1928. The present membership is 20.

Zion church, 764 Romford Road, Manor Park, was registered for worship in 1916. (fn. 34) It appears to have ceased by 1922.


In 1903 a group of Brethren were meeting in the Recreation Hall, Romford Road (corner of Salisbury Road). (fn. 35) The Assembly Hall, Barking Road, was registered for worship from 1907 to 1940. (fn. 36) Milton Hall, Milton Avenue, was registered by Open Brethren from 1911 to 1953. (fn. 37) Gainsborough Hall, Gainsborough Avenue, was built about 1907. It was registered by 'Christians' in 1937, and in 1960 was re-registered by Brethren in a new building. (fn. 38)


The village Congregational church, which existed in Greenhill Grove from the 1860s, has been treated under Little Ilford. (fn. 39) It was the predecessor of a larger, suburban church. E. T. Egg, well known for his church extension activities in south-west Essex, became temporary pastor at Greenhill Grove in 1886, remaining until 1890, when the congregation erected a lecture hall in Manor Park Road, and moved there. (fn. 40) H. D. Bull became the first settled minister in 1891. In 1895 a church was erected in Manor Park Road, (fn. 41) but it did not prosper: it was heavily mortgaged, its membership fell from 157 in 1899 to 90 in 1911, and it closed about 1914. This early decline may have been due in part to its back street position.

Plashet Park church, Chester Road, was founded in 1884, in a room in Crescent Road. (fn. 42) Meetings were subsequently held in the public hall, Green Street, from 1884 until 1887, when a two-storeyed building (later used for classrooms) was erected in Chester Road, during the temporary pastorate of E. T. Egg. An iron building was added in 1890, a permanent church in 1895, and an institute in 1914. In 1925 the iron hall was gutted by fire. Its site was sold to the borough council for a chest clinic, and in 1926 a new hall, fronting on Katherine Road, was opened. In 1941 the church was badly damaged by bombing. It was reconstructed and re-opened in 1952. For most of its history the church has had a settled minister. In its earlier years it was one of the stronger nonconformist churches in the district, (fn. 43) and it was still flourishing in the 1920s, with a membership of over 300, and a Sunday school of 600. (fn. 44) In 1965 the membership was about 60. The institute (1914) and hall (1926) were then on lease to the National Assistance Board.

Wakefield Street church originated in 1886, when S. W. Patmore opened a mission in the Holme Road Assembly Room. (fn. 45) In 1890 this work was taken over by the London Congregational Union, which erected an iron church in Stamford Road, with E. T. Egg as temporary pastor. In 1897 H. G. Brown became the first settled minister, and in 1901 a brick church, seating 800, was opened in Wakefield Street. In 1903 this was the strongest Congregational church in East Ham. (fn. 46) A Sunday school was built in 1911, when the church membership was 215. (fn. 47) In 1940 the church was destroyed by bombing, and from 1941 to 1945 the congregation worshipped in East Avenue Presbyterian church. (fn. 48) The Sunday school, fronting on Myrtle Road, survived, and was later used for worship until 1957, when the church was rebuilt. By 1965 the active membership had fallen to about 20, but in that year the church was able to appoint the Revd. Phyllis Davies as minister.

Manor Park (formerly Little Ilford) church, High Street North, was formed in 1897, when an iron building was opened in Coleridge Avenue, with A. G. Prichard as minister. (fn. 49) In 1904 a new church, seating 750, with adjoining hall, was opened in High Street North on the corner of Strone Road. In building these premises the congregation incurred a debt of over £5,500, and by 1907, when Prichard was succeeded by George Packer (1907–12) they were 'diminished and ready to perish'. (fn. 50) Packer's energetic leadership, with financial help from the London Congregational Union and other benefactors, saved the church, though at the cost of the minister's health. (fn. 51) By 1911 there were 114 members and a Sunday school of 432. In 1966 the equivalent figures were 24 and 45.

Sibley Grove (Welsh Congregational) church was formed in 1901 by the King's Cross (Lond.) Congregational church. (fn. 52) In 1945 the iron building was sold to the London Welsh Methodist circuit.

Free Church of England and Reformed Episcopal Church.

St. Saviour's church, Carlyle Road, was built in 1894–5, possibly to replace an iron church erected in the same road about two years before. (fn. 53) It was one of the two Reformed Episcopal churches said in 1894 to exist at Manor Park. Christ Church, Carlyle Road, registered in 1903, and given a new façade in the same year, was probably identical with St. Saviour's, or was its successor; it survived until 1905, when its premises were taken over by the Salvation Army. (fn. 54)

A Reformed Episcopal church next door to the Primitive Methodist church in Romford Road is mentioned in 1894; it was a 'split' from another, presumably that in Carlyle Road. (fn. 55) It may have been the forerunner of the next.

St. Stephen's church, Shrewsbury Road (corner of Strone Road), an iron building, was erected in 1897 and seems to have survived until 1909, when its premises were taken over by Spiritualists. (fn. 56)


The three Methodist connexions which united in 1932 had a total of 11 churches in East Ham. These are listed under their pre-1932 groupings. Immediately after 1932 there was a strong movement towards local amalgamation, which was largely successful, though long resisted in at least one case. In 1965 the Methodist churches in the borough lay in three circuits: the London Mission (East Ham) (three churches), the Leytonstone and Forest Gate circuit (two), and the London Welsh circuit (one). In the following accounts the letters (W), (P), and (U) denote ex-Wesleyan, ex-Primitive, and ex-United Methodist churches.

East Ham (W) central hall, Barking Road, can trace its origin back to about 1870, when an iron church was erected in Kelly Road (now Market Street). (fn. 57) In 1880 a brick church was built in Barking Road. It was in the Barking circuit. (fn. 58) In 1904 the London Mission (East Ham) was formed with John E. Wakerley as superintendent. Services were started in the town hall, and plans made for a central hall on the site of the old church and on additional land bought for the purpose. (fn. 59) The central hall, seating over 2,000, was opened in 1906, at a cost of £26,000. It was designed by Gunton & Gunton in a 'Queen Anne' style of red brick with stone dressings, its most striking feature being a domed tower. (fn. 60) The church had great success in its early days. (fn. 61) In 1911 it was said to be crowded out, with the largest Sunday morning congregation in Methodism, while the Men's Brotherhood numbered nearly 3,000, and the Sunday school 1,700. (fn. 62) In 1967, when the membership of the hall was 337, social work, especially among old people, continued to be an important part of the church's activity. (fn. 63) The hall was demolished in 1969.

Upton Park (W) church, Green Street, was opened in 1882, in the Canning Town circuit. (fn. 64) A larger church was erected in 1893–4, the original building becoming the church hall. An extension was built in 1899–1900. In 1904 the membership was 261. The Upton Manor circuit was formed in 1907. Upton Park was transferred in 1926 to the Stratford circuit, and in 1930 to the Leytonstone and Forest Gate circuit, in which it has since remained. There were 68 members in 1962. (fn. 65)

Manor Park (W) church, Romford Road, originated in 1890, when Wesleyans from Forest Gate (Stratford circuit) first held services at Durham Cross, Manor Park. (fn. 66) Soon after, a site was acquired, and an iron building was erected in Romford Road, nearly opposite the United Methodist Free church in Herbert Road. (fn. 67) A large brick church was opened in 1900. (fn. 68) By 1903 the Wesleyan congregation was almost three times that of Herbert Road. (fn. 69) A school was added in 1907. Manor Park was included in the Leytonstone and Forest Gate circuit, formed in 1930. (fn. 70) In 1934 the Romford Road society amalgamated with that in Herbert Road. The Romford Road building continued in use for week-night activities until about 1937, when it was sold. (fn. 71)

Abbots Park (W) church, Arragon Road (Canning Town circuit), seems to have been erected in 1891–2 to serve the new Abbots Park housing estate. (fn. 72) It was closed in 1904, having no doubt become redundant with the opening of the services culminating in the building of the central hall. (fn. 73) The iron building was acquired by the Anglicans in 1905 and re-erected in Norman Road as a Sunday school for St. Mary's church. (fn. 74)

The growth of Primitive Methodism in East Ham was largely due to the remarkable efforts of one of their ministers, Richard S. Blair, who described his work in two books. (fn. 75) He was superintendent successively of the 8th London, 13th London (Canning Town), and Upton Park circuits. He worked at East Ham from about 1880 until his retirement in 1904. (fn. 76)

North Woolwich (P) church, Elizabeth (now Woodman) Street, originated about 1867. (fn. 77) Services were held in a cottage, then in a shop, and later in an archway between two houses, ingeniously fitted up by R. S. Blair, then superintendent of the 8th London circuit. In 1880 a brick church was built in Elizabeth Street (corner of Storey Street). From 1881 it was in the 13th London (Canning Town) circuit. The church was destroyed by bombing in the Second World War, and was not rebuilt.

High Street South (P) church originated in 1872, when A. G. Batten, a workman at Beckton Gas works, first held services in a house in Mountfield Road. (fn. 78) He maintained this work single-handed until 1877, when he invited the Primitive Methodists of the 8th London circuit to supply preachers. In 1880 R. S. Blair erected a temporary church in High Street South. A permanent brick building was opened in 1885. In 1881 the church was included in the 13th London (Canning Town) circuit. In 1895, when its membership was 57, it became part of the West Ham circuit. (fn. 79) It was transferred to the London Mission (East Ham) in 1945. A new youth hall was built in 1948, and in 1958 the church was renovated and new schoolrooms added. The present (1965) membership is 152. (fn. 80)

Beckton (P) church, Winsor Terrace, originated about 1875, in cottage services held by Mr. and Mrs. Fursey. Missioners from the Canning Town circuit later opened a Sunday school. (fn. 81) By 1901 the society was occupying its present building, which had been erected by the Gas Light & Coke Co. as a school, and which now (1965) belongs to the North Thames Gas Board. (fn. 82) The church has been in the London Mission (East Ham) since 1940 or earlier. (fn. 83)

Elizabeth Fry Memorial (P) church, Plashet Grove, was R. S. Blair's most notable achievement in East Ham. (fn. 84) In 1884, while still superintendent of the Canning Town circuit, he started services at Upton Park, where building development was in progress on an estate formerly belonging to the Fry family. In 1886 he secured Conference's approval for an ambitious programme of evangelism, and in the same year the Upton Park circuit was formed, at first without members or officers except for Blair himself, as superintendent. He had already bought a site for a church and manse, in Plashet Grove. The manse, called Newgate Villa in allusion to Elizabeth Fry's prison work, was built in the same year, and was used for services until 1889, when the church with hall and schools beneath, designed by William Dartnall, was opened. Vestries and church parlour were added in 1891. By 1893 the Upton Park circuit returned 103 members and three preaching stations. After the Methodist union of 1932 the circuits in this area were reorganized and some churches were closed: among these was Elizabeth Fry Memorial, which was sold in 1934 to the Assemblies of God. (fn. 85)

Manor Park (P) church, Sixth Avenue, originated in 1885, when R. S. Blair bought a site on the corner with Romford Road. (fn. 86) Mission work was launched in 1886, and an iron building erected. Progress was slow at first, but in 1901 a permanent brick church was opened. (fn. 87) Sixth Avenue, originally in the Canning Town circuit, was in the Upton Park circuit from the 1890s until about 1934, when it was transferred to the Leytonstone and Forest Gate circuit as part of a scheme for uniting all three Methodist churches at Manor Park. Sixth Avenue was for long reluctant to accept amalgamation, but eventually did so in 1963, when its members joined those at Herbert Road. (fn. 88) Its buildings were sold to the Anglicans of Little Ilford parish.

Boleyn Road (P) hall was founded by J. C. Page, about 1886, as an undenominational mission for the poor district then called Morley's Corner. (fn. 89) In 1893 he sold it to the Primitive Methodists of the Upton Park circuit. They were still using it in 1907, but had apparently ceased to do so by 1923. The building later became the Latimer Hall chapel. (fn. 90)

Katherine Road (P) church was an iron building, erected in 1903. It still existed in 1912. (fn. 91)

The United Methodist churches of East Ham were all originally part of the Forest Gate circuit. Those founded before 1907 belonged to the United Methodist Free Church.

Manor Park (U) church, Herbert Road, was founded about 1870, when Free Methodists from Field Road church, Forest Gate, held services in a disused beer shop in Greenhill Grove and later in a skittle alley. (fn. 92) In 1880 a building was erected in Herbert Road (corner of Romford Road), but this was soon overcrowded, and a larger church was built in 1891. (fn. 93) In 1934, after Methodist union, Herbert Road was joined by the members of the Romford Road (W) church, as a society of the Leytonstone and Forest Gate circuit, after which the Romford Road buildings were sold, and the proceeds used to build a new Sunday school and institute on the Herbert Road site. (fn. 94) Herbert Road was rebuilt in 1964 with funds raised by the sale of the Sixth Avenue (P) church. (fn. 95)

Tennyson Avenue (U) church originated about 1894, when the plans for a school-chapel were approved by the local board. It was extended in 1899–1900, and additions were made to the hall in 1909. In 1947 it was transferred from the Forest Gate circuit to the East Ham mission, and it was closed about 1948. (fn. 96)

Katherine Road (U) church was opened in 1907, as part of a scheme by which the old church in Bridge Road, Stratford (in West Ham), was closed and its activities were transferred to the expanding suburb of Forest Gate. (fn. 97) Katherine Road, which seated 1,150, was well filled in its first year. It developed a strong men's Brotherhood, and three of its members became Methodist ministers. It was damaged by bombing in 1941. In 1947, when the Forest Gate circuit was split up, Katherine Road went into the London Mission (East Ham). In 1957 it was closed and its members joined those of four other Methodist churches in the new building in Woodgrange Road (West Ham). (fn. 98) The Katherine Road church (corner of Sandringham Road) was demolished and the site covered with flats.

Sibley Road Welsh Methodist church was formed in 1945, when the London Welsh Methodist circuit took over the iron building previously used by the Welsh Congregationalists. (fn. 99) Some of those who then joined Sibley Road had previously been members of the Welsh Methodist church in Cumberland Road, Plaistow, West Ham.


Trinity church, East Avenue, Manor Park, originated in the 1890s, when Alexander Thompson, a Scotsman who had previously worshipped at Plashet Park Congregational church, began to hold Presbyterian meetings at his house in Victoria Avenue. (fn. 100) With help from the Presbytery of London North a site was bought in East Avenue, and in 1900 an iron church, given by Dr. J. A. Voelker, was erected there. There were early disagreements between the local congregation, which favoured a conventional organization, and the Presbytery, which advocated mission work of the 'central hall' type. These were settled by a compromise; in 1902 Thomas G. Murray became the first minister, in 1903 a permanent church was built, and in 1905 halls were added. By 1909 the membership was 424, and during the brilliant ministry of I. Gwessin Jenkins (1910–28) it rose to 600. Under Jenkins's successor there was a sharp decline, but the church revived after the coming in 1935 of W. Harding Jones. In 1941 the church was joined by the congregation of Trinity Presbyterian church, Maryland Point (West Ham), (fn. 101) from which it took over the name Trinity. From 1941 to 1945 it also accommodated the members of Wakefield Street Congregational church, whose own building had been bombed.

The Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army started work in East Ham about 1900, when they took over the Holme Road Assembly Room, previously used by the Congregationalists. (fn. 102) They appear to have used it until about 1908, when they built the present (1965) hall in Wakefield Street. (fn. 103) Salvation Army missions were also held in Katherine Road, c. 1902–6, and in Crescent Road, from c. 1902. (fn. 104) The last of these moved in 1913 to Plashet Road, West Ham.

The Greenhill Grove hall, Manor Park, previously used by Congregationalists and Baptists, was first occupied by the Salvation Army about 1902. They registered it for worship from 1903 to 1910 and again from 1945 onwards. (fn. 105)

In 1905 the Salvation Army took over a hall in Carlyle Road, Manor Park, previously used as Christ Church Free Church of England, and registered it for worship from then until 1920. (fn. 106)


Manor Park church, Shrewsbury Road (corner of Strone Road), was registered for worship in 1909, in a building previously used by the Free Church of England. (fn. 107) The present building was registered in 1940. This congregation was probably connected with an earlier one which in 1903 was meeting in the Temperance Hall, High Street, East Ham, and in 1904 bought the former Congregational church in Coleridge Avenue. (fn. 108)

Little Ilford Christian Spiritualist church, Third Avenue, was registered in 1925 and is still in use. (fn. 109) The congregation was already in existence by 1905, and between then and 1925 was meeting in Church Road. (fn. 110)

The Silver Star Christian Spiritualist church was registered for worship in 1951 and is still in use; an earlier Spiritualist church on the same site was registered from 1932 to 1939. (fn. 111)

Other Churches and Missions.

The London City Mission hall in Plashet Lane (later Grangewood Street) was founded about 1870. (fn. 112) Under the will of Thomas Mathews, proved in 1901, it received £250 in trust, for running expenses. The hall was sold in or shortly before 1937, in which year a Charity Commission scheme directed that the interest from the capital, £188 stock, should be used for the work of the London City Mission in East Ham and district. (fn. 113) At some time the London City Mission also had a branch at Wall End, in the old workhouse. (fn. 114)

Manor Park Gospel mission hall was registered for worship from 1886 to 1897. (fn. 115)

Plashet Gospel mission hall, Park Road, then newly erected, was registered for worship by Evangelical Christians in 1887, and recertified by them in 1924. (fn. 116) It was acquired by the borough council in 1959 under a compulsory purchase order, and was subsequently demolished as part of a redevelopment scheme. (fn. 117)

The All People's church, Plashet Lane, was registered for worship from 1892 to 1897. (fn. 118)

Woodman (formerly Elizabeth) Street mission hall, North Woolwich, is a brick building dating from the late 19th century. It lies near the old boundary between East Ham and Woolwich, and its early history may appear in records relating to Woolwich. It is probably identical with the Elizabeth Street gospel hall which existed in 1903. (fn. 119) It was registered for worship in 1952. (fn. 120)

Mizpah mission, King's Road, existed in 1903. (fn. 121)

Swinburne Gospel mission, Sheringham Avenue, Manor Park, was registered for worship from 1905 to 1913. (fn. 122)

Latimer Hall Martyrs' Memorial mission, Holme Road, was registered for worship from 1914 to 1935. (fn. 123) The building had previously been used by the Salvation Army and earlier by Congregationalists. Latimer Hall chapel, Boleyn Road, was registered in 1939 and was still in use in 1965. (fn. 124) That building had previously belonged to the Primitive Methodists.

Christadelphians were meeting from about 1914 in Essex Road, Manor Park, and later in Wakefield Street. In 1930 they registered Shrewsbury Road hall, which was still in use in 1965. (fn. 125)

Elim Tabernacle, Central Park Road, was registered in 1926, and was still in use in 1965. (fn. 126)

The Full Gospel Hall, Plashet Grove, previously the Elizabeth Fry Memorial (Primitive) Methodist church, was bought in 1934 by the Assemblies of God, which still occupies it. It was damaged by bombing in the Second World War. (fn. 127)

Priory Road hall was registered in 1951 by the Church of God Fellowship (Pentecostal), (fn. 128) and is still in use.

The Full Gospel Assembly room, Shaftesbury Road, Forest Gate, was registered in 1952, (fn. 129) and is still in use.


East Ham, Manor Park, and Ilford District Synagogue, Carlyle Road, was consecrated in 1900 and became associated with the United Synagogue in 1902. It was rebuilt in 1927. In 1947 an adjoining building was bought for use as a youth centre. (fn. 130)

Upton Park District Synagogue, Tudor Road, originated about 1920, when temporary premises in Katherine Road were registered for worship. (fn. 131) The Tudor Road building was erected in 1923, and was extended in 1939. It has been affiliated to the United Synagogue since 1923. (fn. 132)

The Plashet cemetery, High Street North, was opened in 1896, and the East Ham cemetery, Lonsdale Avenue, in 1919. Both belong to the United Synagogue. (fn. 133)


  • 1. Essex Recusant, i. 68; E.R.O., Q/SR 79/100.
  • 2. B.M., Add. MS. 5505, f. 44a.
  • 3. J. Cosin, Names of Roman Catholics … who refused to take the oaths … in 1715, 30; J. O. Payne, Records of English Catholics of 1715, 16; E.R.O., Q/RRp 1/46.
  • 4. Essex Recusant, i. 36; Guildhall, MS. 9558, f. 169.
  • 5. Kelly's Dir. Essex, 1882.
  • 6. Stokes, E. Ham, 288.
  • 7. Stokes, E. Ham, 288; Worship Reg. 47359.
  • 8. Inf. from Canon V. Hurley.
  • 9. Worship Reg. 38556.
  • 10. Ibid. 41511, 44835; Stokes, E. Ham, 288; inf. from Revd. J. W. Hayes.
  • 11. Inf. from Revd. D. Petry.
  • 12. Inf. from Revd. J. Harding; Kelly's Dir. Essex, 1890, p. 313; Worship Reg. 30648, 34443, 46616, 48477; for the original site see E.H.L., East Ham U.D.C. Map, 1901; Wilson and Whitworth's West Ham Almanack, 1910, p. 98.
  • 13. Hale, Precedents and Proceedings in Ecclesiastical Courts, p. 238.
  • 14. E.R.O., Q/SR 405/11, 406/26 and 111.
  • 15. E.R.O., D/AEV 11, f. 3v; ibid. 4, ff. iv–2r; E.R. lvii. 62, 63, 69. For an early Quaker meeting at 'Ham' see below, p. 131.
  • 16. Guildhall MS. 9558, f. 169.
  • 17. Ibid.
  • 18. G.R.O., Rtns. Noncf. Mtg. Hos. Cert. to Bps. Cts. before 1852, Nos. 562, 710, 871, 1337, 1366.
  • 19. See p. 173.
  • 20. R. Mudie-Smith, Religious Life of London, 357–9.
  • 21. Ibid. 359, cf. 444. In calculating this percentage 'other services' have been included in the nonconformist total.
  • 22. R. S. Blair, Nailing Up the Old Barn (Chapel) door, 68.
  • 23. Mudie-Smith, Relig. Life Lond. 357–9.
  • 24. Congr. Year Bk. 1966.
  • 25. E.H.L., E. Ham Loc. Bd. Mins. Feb. 1888; Worship Reg. 27402.
  • 26. W. T. Whitley, Baptists of London, 237; inf. from Mr. N. A. Barwick; Worship Reg. 34090, 35110, 41060; E.H.L., E. Ham U.D.C. Mins. 5 Nov. 1895, 6 Apr., 18 May, 1 June, 1 Sept., 1897; E.H.L., E. Ham U.D.C. Map, 1901; Kelly's Dir. Essex, 1902. In its early years this church was called Manor Park Tabernacle, but it is distinct from the later church of that name.
  • 27. Following account from Mr. D. H. Nicholls.
  • 28. Whitley, Baptists of London, 245; E.H.L., E. Ham U.D.C. Mins. 15 June 1895, 9 June 1896; Worship Reg. 37610, 38401; Mudie-Smith, Relig. Life Lond. 357; foundation stone of church.
  • 29. Grantham Gospel Mission (1900–60); inf. from Mr. H. J. Payne.
  • 30. Account from Mrs. F. Dobson, ch. sec.
  • 31. An undenominational mission band had registered a meeting in Bonny Downs Road in 1903: G.R.O., Worship Reg. 39905.
  • 32. Whitley, Baptists of London, 237; Worship Reg. 39028, 42460; inf. from Mr. A. J. Rayner.
  • 33. Looking Back: Rehoboth 1830–1930; Whitley, Baptists of London, 159; inf. from Mr. F. E. Cornelius.
  • 34. Worship Reg. 46866; Kelly's Dir. Essex, 1917, cf. 1922.
  • 35. R. Mudie-Smith, Religious Life of London, 358; for the address of the Recreation Hall cf. Kelly's Dir. Essex, 1906.
  • 36. Worship Reg. 42840.
  • 37. Worship Reg. 44690.
  • 38. E.H.L., E. Ham B.C. Mins. 23 Apr., 1907; Worship Reg. 57589, 67791; personal observation.
  • 39. See p. 173.
  • 40. Cong. Year Bks. 1886–1915; Kelly's Dir. Essex, 1890; Worship Reg. 32150; E.H.L., E. Ham Loc. Bd. Mins. Oct., 1889; Char. Com. file 93591.
  • 41. Foundation stone of this building.
  • 42. Cong. Year Bk. 1890, p. 224; Plashet Cong. Ch., Jubilee (1934); The New Entrance (1952); 75th Anniversary (1959); inf. from Mrs. A. R. Emery.
  • 43. Mudie-Smith, Relig. Life Lond. 357.
  • 44. Cong. Year Bk. 1925.
  • 45. Wakefield St. Cong. Ch., Jubilee Handbks. 1936; Stokes, E. Ham, 284.
  • 46. Mudie-Smith, Relig. Life Lond. 357.
  • 47. Cong. Year Bk. 1911.
  • 48. See p. 37.
  • 49. Worship Reg. 36105; Cong. Year Bk. 1898 f.; E.H.L., E. Ham U.D.C. Mins. 1 June, 20 July 1897.
  • 50. E.H.L., Churches File, Little Ilford Cong. Ch., Bazaar Prog. 9–11 Dec. 1909.
  • 51. Cong. Year Bk. 1914, p. 191 (obit. of Packer).
  • 52. Inf. from Revd. E. W. Blainey.
  • 53. E.H.L., E. Ham Loc. Bd. Mins. Sept. 1894, cf. Oct. 1892; Worship Reg. 34771; R. S. Blair, Nailing Up, 68.
  • 54. Worship Reg. 39782, cf. 41368; E.H.L., E. Ham U.D.C. Mins. 20 May, 17 June 1903; East and West Ham Year Bk. 1905, p. 83.
  • 55. Blair, op. cit. 68.
  • 56. Worship Reg. 36155, cf. 43925; E.H.L., E. Ham U.D.C. Mins. 16 Feb. 1897; Kelly's Dir. Essex, 1906, 1908; Mudie-Smith, Relig. Life Lond. 358.
  • 57. Stokes, E. Ham, 282–3.
  • 58. Wesleyan Chapel Ctee. Reps. 1880, 1881; Kelly's Dir. Lond. 1902, p. 3048.
  • 59. Mins. Wes. Conf. 1904; Grace Backus, E. Ham Meth. Mission, Central Hall, 1904–54.
  • 60. Meth. Recorder 5 Mar., 26 Oct., 2 Nov. 1905.
  • 61. Pevsner, Essex, 166.
  • 62. Meth. Recorder 9 Nov. 1911.
  • 63. Inf. from Revd. E. W. Tansley.
  • 64. Wes. Chapel Ctee. Reps. 1884, 1892–4, 1899, 1901; foundation stones; H.R.M.C., Mins. Q.M. Canning Town (later Upton Manor) circuit; Mins. Wes. Conf. 1930.
  • 65. Leytonstone and Forest Gate Circuit Plan, Apr.-June 1962.
  • 66. Meth. Recorder, 29 Oct. 1908; Worship Reg. 32281.
  • 67. Free Methodist, 6 Feb. 1890; E.H.L., E. Ham Loc. Bd. Mins. Feb. 1891.
  • 68. Worship Reg. 37554; Wes. Chap. Ctee. Reps. 1899, 1901.
  • 69. Mudie-Smith, Relig. Life Lond. 358.
  • 70. Mins. Wes. Conf. 1930.
  • 71. Manor Park Meth. Ch., Home Messenger, Aug. 1934 f.
  • 72. E.H.L., E. Ham Loc. Bd. Mins. Dec. 1891; E.H.L., E. Ham. U.D.C. Survey Map, 1901.
  • 73. H.R.M.C., Mins. Q.M. Canning Town circuit, 1904; cf. Mudie-Smith, Relig. Life Lond. 358; Kelly's Dir. Lond. 1902, p. 3048; Char. Com. Files 85670 and G. 21.
  • 74. E.R.O., D/P 156/6/3.
  • 75. Reaching the Masses (1886) and Nailing Up the Old Barn (Chapel) Door (1894).
  • 76. E. and W. Ham Year Bk. 1905, p. 91, records his retirement.
  • 77. Blair, Reaching the Masses, 64–8; Nailing Up, 49; inf. from E. Ham Boro. Co.
  • 78. Blair, Nailing Up, 47–8; Stokes, E. Ham, 280.
  • 79. Mins. P.M. Conf. 1881 f.; H.R.M.C., W. Ham P.M. Circuit Steward's Bk. 1895–1918.
  • 80. Inf. from Revd. B. A. Morris.
  • 81. Blair, Reaching the Masses, 19–22.
  • 82. Inf. from Revd. B. A. Morris; cf. Mudie-Smith, Relig. Life Lond. 358: 'Gas Works Hall'; for the school see p. 39.
  • 83. Methodist Census, 1940.
  • 84. Blair, Nailing Up, 56 f.
  • 85. E. Ham Official Guide, 1951–2 edn., p. 30; E. Barrett, The Lamp Still Burns, 58–9.
  • 86. Blair, Nailing Up, 68.
  • 87. Foundation stone.
  • 88. See below.
  • 89. Blair, Nailing Up, 97; Worship Reg. 29732; ibid. 42246 (canc. 1923); E.H.L., E. Ham. Loc. Bd. Mins. Aug. 1886.
  • 90. See below, p. 37.
  • 91. Mudie-Smith, Relig. Life Lond. 358; E.H.L., E. Ham U.D.C. Mins. 18 Nov. 1903; Kelly's Dir. Essex, 1908; Stratford Express, 30 Mar. 1912.
  • 92. G. Triggs, Seventeen Years at the Police Courts, 19.
  • 93. Manor Park Meth. Ch. 1891–1964.
  • 94. E.H.L., Churches File, Manor Park Meth. Ch., Home Messenger, Jan. 1934-Oct. 1937; ibid. Souvenir Prog. Opening of New Sch. and Inst. Sept. 1937.
  • 95. Inf. from Revd. J. H. Porter; E.H.L., Pictorial Coll., Photos of Manor Park Meth. Chs. (old and new), 1964. See plate below, f. p. 203.
  • 96. E.H.L., E. Ham Loc. Bd. Mins. Apr. and May 1894; U.D.C. Mins 18 July 1899, 4 Sept. 1900; B.C. Mins. 14 Dec. 1909; Educ. Ctee. Mins. 1947–9, p. 272; E. Barrett, The Lamp Still Burns, 50.
  • 97. Forest Gate Meth. Ch., Fling Wide the Gates, 5–6; H.R.M.C., Forest Gate U.M. Circuit Plan, 1911; Worship Reg. 42870; W. Mallinson, Sketch of my Life, 87, 91.
  • 98. See p. 134.
  • 99. Inf. from Revd. E. W. Blainey.
  • 100. Trinity Presbyterian Ch. Jubilee Handbk. 1951.
  • 101. See p. 138.
  • 102. Mudie-Smith, Relig. Life Lond. 358; Kelly's Dir. Essex, 1906; Kelly's Dir. Lond., 1902, p. 3043.
  • 103. Foundation stone.
  • 104. Kelly's Dir. Essex, 1902–8.
  • 105. Ibid. 1902; Worship Reg. 39092 (canc. 1910), 61202; Mudie-Smith, Relig. Life Lond. 358.
  • 106. Worship Reg. 41368 (canc. 1920); cf. Kelly's Dir. Essex, 1906–22; E.H.L., E. Ham B.C. Mins. 12 Dec. 1905.
  • 107. Worship Reg. 43925, 59229.
  • 108. Mudie-Smith, Relig. Life Lond. 359; E.H.L., E. Ham U.D.C. Mins. 2 Mar. 1904, and B.C. Mins. 31 Jan. 1905; E.H.L., Photos (Temperance Hall).
  • 109. Worship Reg. 50015.
  • 110. Ibid. 47332 (canc. 1925); E. and W. Ham Year Bk. 1905, p. 83.
  • 111. Worship Reg. 63151, 54059 (canc. 1939).
  • 112. Stokes, E. Ham, 284; Mudie-Smith, Relig. Life Lond. 359.
  • 113. Char. Com. File 75696.
  • 114. Stokes, E. Ham, 284.
  • 115. Worship Reg. 29309.
  • 116. Ibid. 30034; 49296; E.H.L., E. Ham Loc. Bd. Mins. Nov. 1886.
  • 117. Char. Com. File 144487.
  • 118. Worship Reg. 33208 (canc. 1897).
  • 119. Mudie-Smith, Relig. Life Lond. 251.
  • 120. Worship Reg. 63622.
  • 121. Mudie-Smith, op. cit. 359.
  • 122. Worship Reg. 40994 (canc. 1913).
  • 123. Ibid. 46034 (canc. 1935).
  • 124. Ibid. 59062.
  • 125. Ibid. 52395; Kelly's Dir. Essex, 1914–26.
  • 126. Worship Reg. 50387.
  • 127. Ibid. 55949; E. Ham Official Guide (1951–2), p. 30.
  • 128. Worship Reg. 63063.
  • 129. Ibid. 63601.
  • 130. Inf. from Mr. J. Gilbey, United Synagogue, and Mr. L. Veronique.
  • 131. Worship Reg. 47673.
  • 132. Ibid. 48996;inf. from Mr. J. Gilbey, United Synagogue.
  • 133. Inf. from Mr. J. Gilbey, United Synagogue.