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

Lighthouse Methodist Church in the early 19th century

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.

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 lighthousemethodist@outlook.com