The Story of St Barnabas
Follow the fascinating history of the church through a century of photographs and documents.
Click on the first image to begin your journey.
Let's go back in time...There is evidence that people lived in the area around St Barnabas Church at least 10,000 years ago.
Traces of an Iron Age roundhouse have been found, and remnants of a Roman villa were used in the original church of St Mary, Little Ilford (which later became the St Barnabas parish).
In 1894 the area was still mostly countryside. St Mary's was described as “still pleasantly situated at the corner of a rural lane with wide stretches of meadow land as far as the eye could reach.”
The railway arrives...The railway and opening of the City of London Cemetery led to rapid change in the area. Farms and market gardens became streets of houses, shops and pubs, and church authorities set about building churches to serve the expanding population.
A new church was needed to serve the new residential area of Manor Park.
St Barnabas is built - in ironThe original St Barnabas was built on the site where the vicarage is now. It was made of iron, and completed in 1896.
The iron church, Easter 1898Later on, the iron church was moved to Rosebery Avenue and became the parish hall. After the First World War it was extended and became 'The Institute'.
The first 'Barnabarian' magazinePublished in 1900. The legal name of the parish is Little Ilford, but since at least 1941 it has more commonly been known as St Barnabas Manor Park.
The new St Barnabas is builtSt Barnabas Church was built between 1900 and 1909. It was designed by Sir Ninian Comper. His original design was grander than the final building. This is an artist's projection from 1905.
St Barnabas is completedIn 1909, the church was completed, and was dedicated on June 13th, the Sunday following the Feast of St Barnabas.
Note the three gable crosses, each different. The cast iron lamppost still exists.
The high altarThe high altar was directly under the east window, and the walls of the sanctuary, pillars between the nave and Lady Chapel were originally painted.
To learn more, read our booklet about the history of the church.