The Benfleet church that disappeared

Benfleet Emmanuel Free Church

On the 22nd July 2023 the BCA held a ‘Meet and Greet’ session at the Tarpots Library.  One of the members of the public visiting this session enquired if we knew anything about a church, in South Benfleet, that had been demolished.  They had been told that it used to be in the High Road near the junction with Wincoat Drive.  On the day, none of the BCA members present could come up with an answer.

Further investigation using a map from the National Library of Scotland collection revealed that a church had existed at the location mentioned.  On the map it was just identified as ‘Church’.

The location of the church / NLS Maps

Using a Castle Point District Council planning map the church was  found to be the ‘Emmanuel (Pentecostal) Free Church’.

Identification of the church / CPDC planning map

With this information a search of the Essex Record Office online records revealed the existence of a photo of the church.

Essex Record Office online search result

Benfleet Emmanuel Free Church in the High Road

Benfleet Emmanuel Free Church in the High Road / Print supplied by Essex Record Office (Ref: D/DU 1464/26B) from a collection by the late George A. Robinson.

On the 23rd February 1978 a planning application was approved for “1 detached and 2 semi-detached dwellings at Emmanuel Church, High Road, Benfleet”.  The aforementioned dwellings are still there in 2024.

Planning Application / CPDC

Map showing the three dwellings that replaced the church / CPDC planning maps


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  • Yes, I remember this church in Benfleet High Road and knew it as the Emmanuel Church. It was about 1965/66, and I would pass this church everyday on my way to Benfleet Junior School.

    One day, having loads of time on our hands, my friend and I decided to have a look around the church and were nosing about looking through the windows when a middle aged man beckoned us inside. He explained that they were running a Sunday school and did we want to come along, which we did, as not much else to do back then in Benfleet.

    I remember a nice young man who took the Sunday school, which was around the back end of the church. We would sit in front of this little black stove with a coal fire, as there was no proper heating. The Church seemed to be run by a middle aged couple and occasionally they would put on a little spread for us on a long table.
    One memory that does stick in my mind, we were walking past one of the windows and looked in only to see the poor man in his underpants putting his trousers on!! (no curtains in the church), not sure who was more embarrassed.

    Only went for a few months as we probably deemed it a bit ‘naff’
    They seemed well meaning people though.

    By glen cameron (16/04/2024)
  • I remember it too, now, having seen the pictures. Went to Scouts there in early 1970’s. I had entirely forgotten it was there though.

    By Ian Lipscomb (08/04/2024)
  • Remember it well.
    Used to go to a youth club there in the early 70’s

    By Keith harding (03/04/2024)

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