St Martin’s Church, Dagenham Dock
A Brief Account of its Beginnings
The Church of St Martin, Goresbrook Road was opened in a temporary building. This temporary building was dedicated on 14th November 1925 at 3.30pm. In the same service the Rev Charles Kempson Waller was Licensed as Priest in Charge of the parish. The Revd George William Bell became Curate of St Martin’s in 1927 where he served for 2 years before returning as Vicar in 1943. Miss Taylor was organist until 1929.
43 candidates from the congregation of St Martin’s were presented to the Bishop for Confirmation in November 1926; a further 23 in 1927 and another 48 in 1928.
The Foundation Stone for the permanent building was laid on 15th November 1930. The building is of red brick in (for the time) a modern ‘Perpendicular’ style and consists of an aisled nave, chancel, Lady Chapel, porches and vestries. It was designed by architects J E Newberry and C W Fowler to seat 450 persons: 378 in the nave and aisles; 31 in the chapel; 39 in the chancel and 6 in the South chancel aisle. Brick was used in the interests of economy. The design has been described as “English Gothic freely treated”.
The fittings, altar hangings and frontals were all designed by the architects. The new pulpit was given by Walter George Borrett in memory of his father Chas Borrett. The total cost of the building was £9,350.
The Revd Ashley Douglas Turner followed The Revd C K Waller as Priest in Charge of St Martin’s on 25th April 1929 and became the first Vicar of St Martin’s when the Church building was Consecrated on 23rd January 1932.
Early in 1931 Miss McAnally had joined the staff of St Martin’s as a Woman Worker. As she was partly self-supporting and a large donation had been received it was planned that she would stay for 2 years.
The last baptism in the temporary church was on 17 January 1932. The first baptism in the permanent building was on 24 January 1932 – the day after the consecration of the building.
When the permanent Church was built, the temporary church came to be used as a hall. The altar, font, altar desk, cross, candlesticks and hymn boards from the old Church were given to St George’s Church, Dagenham. The old pulpit was offered to St Albans.
Later in 1932 alterations were made to the hall at a proposed cost of £313.00. It was agreed to move the screen in the hall and re-erect it in front of the altar steps in the old temporary church
A new organ was presented to St Martin’s by Walter Borrett in memory of his mother Mary Ann Borrett.
On 8th February 1933, The Revd J M Mundy was welcomed as Curate of St Martin’s. The Revd J T Pugh arrived as Curate on 3rd October 1934, the month after Mr Mundy left for Sheffield. Mrs Pugh served as organist. The Revd P Coulthurst joined the staff on 11th January 1936.
In September 1938 a lawn and rose garden was laid out around St Martin’s.
In 1939 coat racks were installed at the West End of the Church. Money from Queen Anne’s Bounty was used to install railings in front of the Vicarage to match the Church. A donation enabled asphalt to be laid between the Church and the Hall. Railings were placed at the East End of the Church and on the South Side.
In 1941 the hall was requisitioned by the Council for use as a Civic Restaurant.
In May 1942 the organist Mr Gorman, who had taken over from Mrs Pugh, joined the army.
On 27th May 1943 an oak Sedalia with tablet and carved inscription was erected on the South side of the sanctuary in memory of Henry Charles Robert Chipperfield on the second anniversary of Henry’s death. Henry died aged 29 in May 1941. The Sedalia was largely paid for by his mother, Mrs Josephine Chipperfield.
The Stained Glass Window in the Lady Chapel, in memory of Flight Lieutenant Alec Fraser was dedicated on 13th July 1947.
In 1949 the German Jewish painter Hans Feibusch painted a mural of the crucifixion above the High Altar.
A new gas-fired boiler was dedicated on 31st August 1952.
In 1961 Incense was introduced for use in services on weekdays only at first.
In July 1973 the suggestion was discussed that St Martin’s join in a scheme to work together with St Alban’s, St John The Divine and St Cedd’s parishes.
In August 1973 a plan was aired to share the St Martin’s building with the Methodist congregation.
St Martin’s joined the Team Ministry of Becontree South, which already comprised St Alban’s and St John The Divine, in 1994.
Priest-In-charge of St Martin’s Church, Dagenham
1925 - 1929 - The Rev Charles Kempson Waller
1929 – 1932 - The Rev Ashley Douglas Turner
Vicars of St Martin’s, Dagenham
1932 - 1937 - The Rev Ashley Douglas Turner
1937 - 1943 - The Rev John Stokes Newman
1943 - 1950 - The Revd George William Bell
1950 - 1957 - The Revd Thomas Hartley
1958 - 1994 - The Revd Geoffrey William John Nunn
Team Rectors of Becontree South
(St Alban, St John The Divine and St Martin)
1994 - 2000 - The Revd Paul Haworth
2001 - 2009 - The Revd Geraldine Ann Clarke
2010 – 2016 - The Revd Penelope Sayer
2019 - present - The Revd Faye Bailey