Church bells chime with names of First World War dead
- Credit: David Levenson
At the top of a Plaistow church tower lies an unusual war memorial.
The names of 200 men who served their country in the First World War are carved into ten bells at Memorial Community Church.
This weekend, visitors can see the bells up close and learn more about the story behind some of those who lost their lives.
As part of the church’s harvest market on Saturday, tours of the grade II listed building and the surrounding area will take place.
“The tour goes past the houses of some of the men whose names are on the bells,” explained development manager Philippa King.
You may also want to watch:
“We did it for the first time last year, and there were a few tears shed.”
Like the bells, the church has an unusual history.
- 1 Blades, £25k and Class A drugs seized by police after car stop in Plaistow
- 2 Plaistow shisha bar handed closure order for flouting lockdown rules
- 3 Fire breaks out at Beckton superstore
- 4 How many Covid-19 vaccinations have been given where you live?
- 5 Police investigate burglary and injury at 'cannabis' house
- 6 'Severe maladministration' by Newham Council in housing complaint handling
- 7 Traffic cameras installed to catch Newham drivers who ignore road signs
- 8 Celebrating International Women's Day
- 9 Man arrested after car smashes into house in Maryland
- 10 Guilty: Men from Forest Gate and East Ham who raped two women during brothel robbery
Memorlal Community Church was formed in 2006 through a union of St Andrew’s and Memorial Baptist churches.
The Barking Road building itself was built after the First World War, when the chime of 10 bells bearing the names of those killed in battle was installed.
One of the bells is dedicated to the Unknown Soldier.
“We had a lot of money in 2011 to restore the bells and start research,” explained Philippa.
“We wrote down the names of all the men on them.
“We rededicated the bells before we put them back and had the families of a few of the soldiers attend.
“Some of them didn’t even know there was a memorial.”
It is the research into the soldiers that has helped form the walking tour.
It also features letters written by pupils at Kaizen Primary School, who imagined what it would be like to have the soldiers as their brothers or fathers.
Philippa said: “There was one soldier who didn’t need to sign up because he was in a reserved occupation.
“He was given a white feather and signed up, and he was killed straight away.
“His family didn’t even see him in his uniform.”
Philippa added that the church is keen to hear from anyone who recognises any of the names on the bells, as many of the soldiers’ profiles are incomplete.
To find out more, visit localheroes.co.uk, or visit the church from 11am on Saturday.