Level: Category
Parish Records
Level: Fonds
Admin History:
The parish of St. Luke, Victoria Docks - in the area of West Ham known geographically as Canning Town - was formed in 1875 out of the parish of St. Mark, Victoria Docks (for records of which see D/P 512). The new parish contained the mission church of St. Matthew, Custom House, and from 1887 also that of the Ascension, Victoria Docks. These became separate parishes in 1920 and 1905 respectively, for records of which see D/P 564 and D/P 563. In 1926 a further part of the parish went to help form the new parish of St. Barnabas, West Silvertown (for records of which see D/P 513).

The former church of St. Luke, on the corner of Jude Street and Tarling Road (formerly Boyd Road), replaced an earlier iron mission church. The permanent church was under construction by 1873, and was consecrated in 1875. It was damaged during the Second World War but later repaired and re-roofed.

In 1961 the parish was enlarged with parts of the former parishes of Holy Trinity, Barking Road, Canning Town; St. Gabriel, Canning Town; and St. Matthew, Custom House. For records of Holy Trinity and St. Gabriel see D/P 515 and D/P 514 respectively.

The church of St. Luke was made redundant in November 1985 and the building was later sold. It is no longer used for church purposes (2002).

Following the redundancy services were held for a short time in the adjoining church hall (which had been rebuilt in 1973), but from September 1986 they were held instead at the Fife Road Methodist Church. The church hall was demolished in 1990. A parochial reorganization was proposed which would have involved the closure also of the Church of the Ascension, Victoria Docks, and the construction of a new church in Freemasons Road. However, this scheme was abandoned in about 1987. Combined services with the Methodists were held from 1988, and in 1991 the parish entered into a formal sharing agreement with the Fife Road Methodist Church, which became for four years the Keir Hardie Neighbourhood Church, run by a Joint Church Council.

In 1995 the Anglican congregation moved to St. Luke's Church of England (Voluntary Aided) Primary School, and the Neighbourhood Church reverted to being a Methodist Church. The school was built in 1949 on a site lying between Ruscoe Road and Tarling Road to the north of the original church (replacing school buildings of 1880 to the south of the church which had been destroyed during the Second World War). It was demolished in about 2000 and a new school was built on the former school playground. The new school incorporated a church centre, with the school hall functioning as the place of worship. The first service was held here at Easter 2000.

St. Alban's (formerly St. Luke's) Mission, Butcher's Road, was established in about 1909, apparently replacing an earlier mission in Queen's Road. [That is, the address quoted in the parish newsheets changes at that date, but a change of street name has not been ruled out.] The site was compulsorily purchased in about 1970. From 1887 at the latest [newsheet for April 1905] to at least 1917 the parish also operated a Lascar Mission for 'native sailors from British India'. The newsheets also indicate that by 1904 the parish ran a Dock Gate Shelter for dock workers during the winter months; mention of this disappears after 1911.

The Boyd Working Men's Institute, which formerly faced the original church on the eastern side of Tarling Road, was opened in 1876, and was rebuilt as a youth centre in 1964-1965. It was demolished in 1984 and the site leased to the London Borough of Newham for incorporation into a recreation ground.

The original vicarage lay in Tarling Road to the north of the church. It was demolished in 1971, part of the site being used for a new vicarage and the remainder being sold in about 1980 for social housing. The vicarage of 1971 (105 Tarling Road) suffered from subsidence and was replaced by a new building adjoining the school in Ruscoe Road. A separate Clergy House was demolished in 1978.

Note that although licensed as a place of worship the school building is not subject to faculty jurisdiction nor to the Inspection of Churches Measure. A planning condition imposed by the London Borough of Newham currently (2002) prevents its being used for the solemnization of marriages, and these therefore take place in a chapel of ease at the Mayflower Family Centre, Vincent Street (formerly Docklands Settlement No. 1, originally Malvern College mission). No parish records are held at the chapel.