Features Walthamstow

Why is there a lighthouse in Markhouse Road?

Lighthouse Church historian Jean Bhola explains the history behind one of Walthamstow’s most distinctive, and unusual, churches In the 1880s, a group […]By Waltham Forest Echo

Lighthouse Methodist Church in the early 19th century
Lighthouse Methodist Church in the early 19th century

Lighthouse Church historian Jean Bhola explains the history behind one of Walthamstow’s most distinctive, and unusual, churches

In the 1880s, a group of Christians, living in Walthamstow and attending a Methodist church in Hackney, decided they wished to worship nearer home. In November 1887, they held their first meeting in a house on Myrtle Road.

With an increasing congregation in Walthamstow, they soon found that their accommodation was too small and they needed to find larger premises. A member of the church in Hackney, Captain King – of Bullard King, the line of steamer ships – purchased the site of the present Lighthouse buildings and established a large tent.

Unfortunately, after three months the roof was blown off by a strong wind, resulting in open-air meetings. Captain King came to their aid again, and paid for an Iron Hall. It opened in November 1889, remaining in use for many years.


This story is published by Waltham Forest Echo, Waltham Forest's free monthly newspaper and free news website. We are a not-for-profit publication, published by a small social enterprise. We have no rich backers and rely on the support of our readers. Donate or become a supporter.


During the summer of 1893, the present building, known as The Lighthouse, was opened with a seating capacity of 850. It is thought that the round tower with its light at the top was designed in memory of Captain King, and gave the church its name.

The church continued to grow with many activities for all, including a brass band, which marched to church on Sundays with a large banner.

Over the years there have been changes – the hall built for the Sunday School was sold and is now flats. The inside of the main building was renovated with the gallery extended for church services, along with various rooms on the ground floor.

Today, The Lighthouse is still a beacon for the community, recently serving as a venue for the E17 Art Trail. In early July, over 70 people visited the Woven/Dissonance exhibition at the church.

However, the aim of The Lighthouse remains the same – to provide a place of worship to deliver the Gospel message to the community and help for the needy.

The Lighthouse Methodist Church is actively seeking feedback from the community. Please email any comments about the church and its offerings to [email protected]


No news is bad news 

Independent news outlets like ours – reporting for the community without rich backers – are under threat of closure, turning British towns into news deserts. 

The audiences they serve know less, understand less, and can do less. 

In celebration of Indie News Week, Public Interest News Foundation's Indie News Fund will match fund all donations, including new annual supporter subscriptions for the month of June.

If our coverage has helped you understand our community a little bit better, please consider supporting us with a monthly, yearly or one-off donation. 

Choose the news. Don’t lose the news.

Monthly direct debit 

Annual direct debit

£5 per month supporters get a digital copy of each month’s paper before anyone else, £10 per month supporters get a digital copy of each month’s paper before anyone else and a print copy posted to them each month.  £50 annual supporters get a digital copy of each month's paper before anyone else.

Donate now with Pay Pal

More information on supporting us monthly or annually 

More Information about donations