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News Release
21 January 2011
Memorial Community Church in Plaistow is delighted to have been awarded a grant of £40,800 by the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore its chime of ten Memorial Bells, which are cast with the names of 169 local men who died serving in the First World War, and to make them more accessible and better known. The bells also have the name of the only member of the royal family to be killed serving during that war, Prince Maurice of Battenberg.
The bells will be taken down, cleaned and repaired at a bell foundry, and re-hung, hopefully later this year. The staircase up to the belfry will be made safe with a new handrail. And volunteers from the church will work together with the local history group at The Hub, Kaizen Primary School, the East Ham branch of the Royal British Legion, Newham Community Learning and the Historica Apus history club at the Swift Centre to find out more about the men who are named on the bells and produce resources including an exhibition and website to help more people learn about this hidden war memorial. It is hoped that they will track down some of the relatives of the men, who may not know that one of their ancestors is commemorated on these bells in Plaistow.
There will also be equipment including networked video camera and laptop, so that visitors who cannot climb the stairs to the top of the tower can still take part in a ‘virtual tour’.
The church has also been awarded £500 from the Heritage of London Trust for this project. It needs to raise another £7,500 to start the work on the bells, and has submitted two more grant applications for this.
Jim Ludlam from the The Hub Local History Group in Canning Town said “It’s likely that very few people know of this important historical asset in the local community, and we believe that this project is a very important way of strengthening pride in Canning Town.”
73-year-old Elsie Lewis of Cumberland Road, Plaistow, who has been going to the church since she was a teenager, said “I am delighted that we have the money to finally restore the bells, which my husband and my sons used to ring in the past. I’m particularly glad that children and young people are going to be the ones who will create the learning resources that will help others to find out about the men whose names are on the bells and who might have lived in the same streets and gone to the same schools as they do now”.
The plan is to have the work on the bells carried out at the same time as the huge external repairs to the outside of the bell tower, which are due to be undertaken this summer, again depending on the last £29,000 of funds being raised for this separate £250,000 project.
Memorial Community Church, formerly Memorial Baptist Church is the large red-brick building on Barking Road opposite Plaistow Police Station. Its room are used by a number of different local projects including the Bridges breakfast for homeless people and the We Are Family Club for young parents. For more information please contact Philippa King on or telephone the church office on 020 7474 6603.


Posted Friday 21st January 2011 by Philippa King

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020 7474 6603