The Memorial Baptist Church building was opened in 1922 to house the church - then known as West Ham Central Mission - and its welfare work. After years of energetic fundraising, it took just 15 months to build and cost around £60,000. The architect was William Hayne. The congregation at the time envisioned “a great cathedral Church towering above the mean streets of West Ham, witnessing to the love of God and welcoming, as to a house of beauty and peace, burdened and weary hearts.”
Although built in a Byzantine style – possibly following a minor trend in church building started by Westminster Cathedral - it embraced the new technology of the time and has a projector room so that the auditorium could be used to show films.
The building is dedicated to the men from the church and local community who were killed in the First World War of 1914-1918. The names of 169 men are cast in to the chime of bells in the East tower, which were cast by Gillet and Johnston of Croydon. These are rung by a clavier system. There are also memorial stones around the bottom of the building and plaques inside.
Baptist churches throughout the UK and overseas were asked to help build the church - their names are carved on stones around the building. However all the money for the bells was raised locally by people giving “not less than one shilling”. They were installed in 1925.
The building is grade II listed.
For more information, see the booklet “The Building of Memorial Baptist Church Plaistow” compiled by Hilary Colston, November 2007, available from the church for a suggested donation of £5 towards restoration of the building.