The church of St Barnabas Walthamstow is located among streets of modest Victorian terraced houses and owes its existence to the generosity of two philanthropists.
The first, Henry Casey (c.1834-1914), was a merchant in the City of London and the owner of much of the local building land and freely gave the land on which the church is built. The second was Richard Foster (1822–1910), another wealthy City merchant, who paid not only for the construction of the church but also for the construction of the vicarage and the hall that is now named after him.
The first church buidling was a temporary corrugated-iron building that was set up in 1900 as a chapel of ease within the parish of St Saviour Walthamstow pending the creation of the separate parish of St Barnabas. That iron buidling is still in situ and in use as a community centre called Stafford Hall.
By 1901 the separate parish of St Barnabas Walthamstow had been created, the advowson of the vicarage being vested in the diocesan bishop. The present church was opened in 1903. The architect of the church, the vicarage and the hall was William Douglas Caröe [pr. Ka(r)oh] (1857–1938), son of a Danish diplomat based in the UK. It was the intention that the church should be “a typical specimen of a simple and not expensive place of worship suitable for erection in less wealthy outlying districts where funds are most difficult to come by.” (Saxby, 16-17) The building, which cost £20,000, is mostly of red brick with stone dressings, a small spired turret at the north-west corner and windows in a late-Gothic style.
The church has a number of splendid fixtures and fittings many of which are not original to the church but contemporary with it and acquired in the closing decades of the twentieth century. A few are shown here:
- Anglican Church Building in Victorian Walthamstow by S. Saxby. Series: Monograph New Series No. 46. (London: Walthamstow Historical Society, 2014
- ‘St Barnabas: organ specification‘, National Pipe Organ Register. Online resource accessed 4 No vember 2017
- St Barnabas and St James the Greater, Walthammstow E17 by J. W. S. Litten (London: PCC of St Barnabas and St James the Great Walthamstow, 2001)
- ‘Richard Foster (philanthropist)‘, Wikipedia. Online resource accessed 4 November 2017
- ‘Walthamstow: Churches‘, A History of the County of Essex. Volume 6. (London: Victoria County History, 1973), pp.285-294. Online reource, accessed 4 November 2017
- ‘Walthamstow, St Barnabas‘, The Church of England: a church near you. Online resource accessed 4 November 20-17
- ‘W. D. Caröe‘, Wikipedia. Online resource, accessed 4 November 2017