Methodist church. Designed for the United Methodist Free Church by George and Reginald Palmer Baines. Built in two phases between 1904-5 and 1922-3. The 1931 Institute to the north of the church is not of special interest.
Reason for Listing
Seven Kings Methodist Church is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architect: a good example of the work of George Baines and his son, Reginald Palmer Baines, who were leading designers of Nonconformist churches in the Edwardian period.
* Architectural interest: It is attractively composed in the Free Perpendicular style favoured by the practice, and has a strong presence in the townscape;
* Intactness: the church has undergone little alteration throughout and retains many original fittings.
Due to the growth of Ilford in the late C19, when the population expanded from 10,000 in 1891 to 40,000 ten years later, and the development of land around Seven Kings station, the Forest Gate Circuit of the United Methodist Free Church identified a need for a church at Seven Kings. In November 1900 land was purchased just to the south-east of the station. Requests for designs for the new church were made to two architects and those submitted by George Baines and Son were accepted in April 1902. Because of financial pressures, the church was designed to be built in two phases, as the original drawings, dated January 1904, show. Phase one comprised the nave, aisles, tower, south porch and basement school room. The north wall was tile hung and temporary in nature. Phase two, including the chancel, transepts, vestries and further basement school rooms, was planned for a later date. Funding issues delayed the start of work until April 1904; the church opened in April 1905. In 1907 the church became the Seven Kings United Methodist Church on the unification of the Methodist New Connection, Bible Christian Methodists and the United Methodist Free Church. Plans to complete the church by 1915 were disrupted by the outbreak of World War I, but growing attendance, especially of the Sunday school, meant that a building committee was set up in May 1920 to plan the extension. Work commenced in May 1922, at an estimated £8,170, and the church re-opened on 27 January 1923.
The continued success of the Sunday school led to the addition in 1931 of the detached single-storey Institute on land purchased at the north of the church. This was by WH Hart of Baines and Son. In 1934 the name of the church was changed once again to Seven Kings Methodist Church when union of the various Methodist groups took place. Among the leading members of the church was AE Williams, secretary and biographer of Dr Barnardo.
George Baines (1852-1934) was a prolific London-based Scottish architect who specialised in Nonconformist churches. He was joined in practice by his son, Reginald Palmer Baines (d.1962) in 1901.
MATERIALS: red brick laid in Flemish bond with stone banding; stone dressings; slate roofs
PLAN: the church consists of a nave with a south entrance lobby, chancel, east and west aisles, east and west transepts, south-west corner tower, south porch, and pair of vestries and stairs to the north west and north east. Below the church is an undercroft containing the Sunday school. Entrances to the tower and vestry on the west side are reached via concrete bridges due to the slope of the ground.
EXTERIOR: designed in a Free Perpendicular Gothic style with Art Nouveau details. The south elevation has a large five-light Perpendicular window with ogee moulding, ballflower stops and panel tracery with cusped lights. The porch has a moulded four-centre arch with ballflower stops and a traceried tympanum, and plank doors with elaborate Art Nouveau strap hinges. To the right is a tapering square turret (a disguised flue) with moulded faces and louvred top with stone hoodmould. The slightly tapering three-stage tower has diagonal buttresses and open parapet, stone gargoyles, and a metal shingled spire with a weathervane. Traceried windows with four-centred arches to top stage. The entrance on the west side of the tower has a moulded segmental arch with blind tracery to the tympanum and doors with similar hingework to the south porch. The aisles have square headed three-light windows with cusped cinquefoil heads, and a lancet to the south end and to the south east return. The five-light transept windows are of similar design to the south window but with curved stops. Mullioned windows to undercroft and to vestries. The north elevation has a central buttress flanked by narrow windows. The roofs have overhanging eaves with exposed rafter ends.
INTERIOR: the nave has a hammer-beam roof with traceried spandrels supported on tapering square timber pillars with moulded capitals, and iron tie-bars with wrought-iron decoration. Plastered ceilings with cast-iron ventilation grilles. The gallery at the south end has a curved timber front with traceried panels. The nave is divided from the chancel at the north end of the building by a four-centred arch. The chancel has a plain timber-boarded ceiling and matchboard dados. The arrangement of the pews, with a semi-circular section in front of the dais, is complete apart from the removal of some curved pews on the west side. The pew ends have heart-shaped Art Nouveau style cut-outs and most retain original brass fittings and numbers. The elaborate pulpit stands on a timber dais; this has traceried panelling, brass balustrades and lectern and Art Nouveau details such as inset enamelled hearts. 1920s choir stalls with traceried panelling and organ in the chancel.
Other features of note include Art Nouveau brass fittings and coloured glass to doors and windows; brass First World War memorial plaque to the west of the chancel arch, and stairs to north-west lobby with Gothic newel posts.
The Sunday school in the undercroft comprises a large central hall with a stage at the north end (now boarded up but still surviving) and dais at the south end. The ceiling is supported by steel joists on square cast-iron piers. To the north of the main hall are an infants room, classroom, kitchen and concrete staircases at the north-east and north-west corners. Fittings such as original doors (some with lettering) and cupboards survive.
ADDITIONAL STRUCTURES: ornate wrought-iron gates and piers at the south entrance to the churchyard; railings and piers to the two concrete bridges; gates to the tower entrance. Other sections of boundary railings are modern replacements and not of special interest.
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.