Barking Wesleyan Central Hall

One of the most tragic days was Sunday, January 14, 1945. A V2 rocket hit St Paul’s Church in Ripple Road, just after the service. Eight people were killed and 52 seriously injured, including choir boys. That evening, 14 more people were killed in another V2 incident in London Road, which destroyed most of Central Hall. Central Hall had been the epicentre of Methodism in the area, as one of 99 spiritual and entertainment centres funded by Joseph Rank in the 1920s. It provided films, concerts and variety acts, designed to attract people away from public houses and alcohol. The Methodist Recorder of 1957 describes an “Historic Day on Barking Bomb Site”: the building of the new Methodist Church.

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