The Catholic Parishes of Barking & Ilford Lane, Diocese of Brentwood, Reg. Charity No. 234092

Saints Mary & Erconwald, South Ilford

In addition to the Church of St Mary & St Ethelburga, Sunday Mass was also celebrated in the southern part of the parish, in Ripple Road School to keep up with the growing number of people in the parish in Ilford & Barking. When in August 1953 this venue had been unavailable for two weeks, Canon Dacey secured Bishop Beck's permission to use the British Legion Hall. But there was a pressing need for another Mass centre to the north of the town centre

Subsequently a suitable property was sought in the Ilford Lane district of the parish. In October 1952 negotiations were opened for the purchase of the former Emmanuel Congregational Church situated on the corner of Ilford Lane and Khartoum Road. This corrugated iron building had been opened in 1918 but in the 1930s and 1940s had been used as an engineering factory. After the Second World War the building was abandoned and it fell into disrepair. In March 1953 Bishop Beck paid a deposit on the property, and agreed to contribute further, with the balance being found by Canon Dacey and Father Hancock, Administrator of SS Peter & Paul, Ilford, a part of which parish the new chapel-of-ease would also serve.

Bishop Beck wanted the new Mass centre to mainly serve the Ilford Lane area of SS Peter & Paul's, although it may also help to relieve some of the pressure at Barking. The chapel-of-ease was placed under the patronage of St Mary & St Erconwald, thus complementing the dedication of the church in Linton Road. It was opened for public worship on Sunday 1 November 1953 when Canon Dacey celebrated the first Mass. Mass was subsequently celebrated there every Sunday at 8.30 a.m. and 10.30 a.m.

On 30 August 1963, St Mary & St Erconwald, Ilford Lane, was erected as an independent parish under Father Patrick Brennan.

In September 2008, With the retirement of Father Jack Clifford as Parish Priest of St Mary & St Erconwald, Ilford Lane, Bishop McMahon, after consultation with Father Young and the parishioners of both Ilford Lane and St Mary & St Ethelburga, announced that the two parishes would be linked, whereby Father Young would be responsible for both parishes.

Some interesting Events/Facts:

In 1954, partly as the result of fund-raising efforts such as jumble sales organized by the Catholic Women's League, sufficient money was raised to provide a new altar and tabernacle for the new chapel-of-ease, as well as a silver ciborium in memory of deceased parishioners.

From 1954 the annual May Procession in honour of Our Lady was re-routed so that it went from Linton Road to Ilford Lane. Benediction for the children was given in St Mary & St Erconwald and then the procession returned to St Mary & St Ethelburga, where Benediction for the adults was given and the statue of the Blessed Virgin was crowned. Moreover, the hall attached to the chapel-of-ease was used for social events and meetings, including those of the C.W.L.

Reference: The Catholic Parish of Saints Mary & Ethelburga, Barking written by Father Stewart Foster