The beginnings of Bethnal Green Mission Church is rooted in the work of Annie Macpherson.
Annie Macpherson was a contemporary and friend of Dr. Thomas Barnardo, who came to East London in the early 1860s when bad housing, unemployment, poverty and disease were rife. After witnessing the appalling poverty and deprivation of children and adults in the match-box making industry, she started work to alleviate these conditions. The opening of a ‘home of industry’ in 1866 provided the opportunity for many children and adults to read and write and to receive medical attention. This work continued in various guises until our recently demolished building was erected in 1952 to provide Bethnal Green with a medical practice under the newly formed National Health Service. During this period, a work distributing Christian literature developed and together with a thriving Sunday School, a church was established in the building.
Annie Macpherson’s work, like many of her peers (such as Barnardo and William Booth) was informed by a desire to express God’s love and compassion in action. As Bethnal Green Mission Church we work under a memorandum and articles of association which states that we aim to “promote the welfare and education of the poor and needy by all manner of means”. We see our current work as a modern expression of Annie Macpherson’s desire to see hope and peace established within the lives of people in our local community. We are a registered charity (222262) and a company limited by guarantee (108687).
East End Life
The rich and colourful history of the East End has afforded it considerable, if not infamous, status in the chronicles of London. With the grandeur of the Tower of London, the political shenanigans of Thomas Cromwell, the Jack the Ripper murders, the Blitz, and the gangland feuds of the Kray twins, the East End is rightly proclaimed as a ‘microcosm of London’s past’. The London Borough of Tower Hamlets epitomises the East End’s diverse and rich culture, history and geography. The distinctive ‘u-bend’ in the River Thames forms the most southerly boundary of Tower Hamlets, which encapsulates the hugely regenerated Docklands and the iconic Canary Wharf building, while the Tower of London lies on the most westerly point. Modern day Tower Hamlets is a complex and cosmopolitan, multiracial and multicultural borough which has undergone vast, and intense, political, religious and cultural change over the centuries. It remains a diverse, exciting and dynamic community which BGMC seeks to be part of, whilst seeking to work and pray for its renewal and change.