Poplar, E14- Saint Saviour's Church
The church of Saint Saviour was built in 1872-74, with a school and mission hall nearby. St Saviour's survived the Blitz but not a fire in 2007.
The church suffered some damage during the Second World War, when the adjoining school was made derelict and subsequently demolished. The depopulation of the district led to the closure of the church in 1975 and in 1976, when the building was thought to be suffering from rising damp, the church was declared redundant. From 1984 the Nigerian Celestial Church of Christ used the building. A fire severley damaged the building in 2007. The fire, according to locals, was caused by an accidental cooker fire when the building was being used as a womens' refuge. Currently the shell remains supported by scaffolding.
"By the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries parts of the district had developed a distinctly grim character. The area around St Saviour's in the north was thought to be 'the poorest part of Poplar' with 'rows of mean and small houses of that dreary sameness so usual in the East End'. This was regarded as a 'very poor neighbourhood" (Poplar - From British History Online).
The whole area surrounding the church was destroyed during the Blitz and much of the surrounding area that was once rows of streets is now a grassy recreation area. The park is host to a Sunday League football club called Senrab F.C. who train here.The club has produced a great number of players who have gone on to have successful professional careers, including Sol Campbell, Jermain Defoe, Ledley King and John Terry Ray Wilkins Bobby Zamora. In the early 1970s, so many Senrab players signed for Chelsea that former player Ray Lewington nicknamed Senrab "Chelsea Juniors".
The housing which wraps around St Saviour's Church was self built by residents called the Arcadian Association formed in 1983. They were local people consisting of mainly council tenants, who obtained the site from Tower Hamlets Borough Council. A considerable number of the members of the Arcadian Association were in the building trade, while those who were not attended a training course. Almost all the work was carried out by the members who worked communally in their spare time, mostly at weekends. Wives were involved in the book-keeping and secretarial work and provided meals for all the workers in a site canteen. This private crescent surrounding the church on three sides could of course prove an obstacle to redevelopment plans of the church.
Recent work has been undertaken to clear the church interior of bushes that had taken over the site since the fire with a long term plan to convert the shell into residential accomodation.
We view the exteriors of Saint Saviours on the Derelict London Limehouse & Poplar guided walking tour with Paul Talling.
Grace Community Church - Wood Street, Walthamstow E17
This former scout hall and later church was also a factory many years ago. Proposals are for demolition of the existing building and for a residential development (6 to 14 flats, 3 or 4 storeys high) with social/community use on the ground floor.
Dartford Workhouse Chapel
The Workhouse was first built in 1729 to house those who were either unable to work through age or disability or unable to find work.New and extended facilities were built in 1836. Many of the functions of the workhouse developed into a hospital and the workhouse ceased to exist in 1929. It was then known as King Edward Avenue Hospital and later West Hill Hospital. The hospital closed in 1997 and the hospital buildings demolished but the 1836 workhouse buildings have been retained and used as offices.
The chapel opened in 1878 superseded one previously accommodated in the main workhouse. The west wall of the chapel once housed two stained-glass windows designed and manufactured by Charles Eamer Kempe, which were donated by nearby Holy Trinity Church.
‘St Michael’ was destroyed in 1940, when a bomb fell on the adjacent hospital, destroying a ward, and killing 22 patients and two nurses.
‘St Gabriel’ was removed upon the closure of the chapel in 1998, and today resides two miles away in Darent Valley Hospital.
Several years ago, the derelict chapel was gutted by fire, leaving the internal structure exposed to the elements. Subsequent years of vandalism and weather damage have left very little of the original structure to be salvaged.
A proposal by developers explores an alternative to refurbishing the building, in favour of demolishing it and rebuilding the Chapel on a like for like basis with the original exterior of the building will be replicated & divided into two 2 storey residential units.
East Ham Cemetery, E6 - Wartime damage?
East Ham Cemetery also known as East Ham Jewish Cemetery opened in 1919 and belongs to the Burial Society of the United Synagogue, Ilford. I met the groundsman of this very well kept cemetery who showed me these damaged headstones which he believes to be shrapnel damage or bullet holes from a dogfight. The damaged headstones form a diagonal line across the centre of the cemetery. Various pieces of shrapnel have been discovered around the cemetery over the years. A V2 rocket caused devastation just outside of the cemetery.
The cemetery has the grave of Aaron Kosminski, a suspect in the Whitechapel Murders.In 2014, author Russell Edwards claimed to have proven Kosminski's guilt using untested methods for ascertaining a link via DNA evidence. (Naming Jack the Ripper by Russell Edwards)
St Mary Magdalene Churchyard - East Ham, E6
St Mary Magdalene Church built in the year 1137 is the oldest Norman church in London that is still in weekly use and has a 9½ acre churchyard (one of the largest in London) which is now managed as a nature reserve by the London Borough of Newham. The Nature Reserve was formally opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1983.
The churchyard was officially closed for burials in 1974 and became quite a wilderness before becoming a nature reserve. Indeed, these days much of the graveyard is still quite overgrown with volunteers always required to help manage the site. Many of the graves are subsiding probably due to the fact that this area was originally on the edge of marshland.
Among the many graves and tombs in the churchyard is a memorial for two of the crew of the SS Titanic