A Brief History

St Mary’s Church, Becontree, celebrated the 80th anniversary of our Church building in 2015. The Church building on Grafton Road was built in 1935.

There was a Church meeting on the site, which is now the Church Hall, before this. We know there were baptisms and an established Church meeting regularly on the site from 1927.

The current Church building was built in 1935 as a permanent Church to serve the community and provide a centre for the Church to give glory to God in Dagenham. The Church was built by a famous architect called Nugent Francis Cachemaille-Day.

Cachemaille-Day was an English architect who designed some of the most revolutionary 20th century Churches in the country. St Mary’s is considered to belong to the more innovative of Cachemaille-Day’s buildings because of its tall lantern tower lighting the sanctuary and kneeled shafts emphasising the verticality of the building.

St Mary’s is a Grade II listed building, built as one of five Churches to serve the Becontree estate, originally the world’s largest council housing estate and still the largest in Europe, following the First World War.

In September 1955, St Mary’s opened another centre at one end of the parish boundary. This centre was called Hartley Brook Church, after the first Vicar of St Mary’s. Hartley Brook continues as a centre of worship today.