The first service was held on 15th May 1886.
St. Mark's Church began from a cowshed on Tylney Road, between Godwin Road and Capel Road, on the site of which are now numbers 65 and 67 Tylney Road. The cowshed was taken on for a rent of £15 per annum and converted into a serviceable little mission church.
The first sermon was preached by the Rev. Robert Ross from the text, “Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.” On the following day, Sunday 16th May 1886, was the first meeting of the Sunday school, at which 53 children and 4 teachers were present; and at the evening service the Rev. J. S. Eli hick preached from the text ”For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” The first celebration of Holy Communion was on 12th September 1886, the number of communicants being 28. With the band of enthusiasts the work was carried on, and it is interesting to record that for the first year the collections amounted to £42, for the second year £63 and for the third year £82.
As the parish continued to grow, the number of communicants increased and it was soon realised that the temporary church, referred to locally as the “Cow Cathedral”, must soon be replaced by a building more in keeping with the importance of the district and its population.
In the year 1886 four plots of land (three comprising a frontage of 60 feet in Tylney Road and one of a frontage of 20 feet in Lorne Road) were acquired at a cost of £380, as a site for the permanent church and the Parsonage. Proposals for building were soon being considered, for it is recorded that on 15th April, 1890, the first meeting of a building committee took place at the Vicarage (108 Hampton Road) to consider plans which had been prepared by E.P Loftus Brock, Esq., and F.S.A. The Committee consisted of the Rev. Edward Wynne (who had succeeded the Rev. R. Ross at Emmanuel), the Rev. J.S. Delphic, David Howard, Esq., J.P., Messrs. Kennett, Corby, Whistler, Clinch, Deane, Gosling, Woodward and Allard, with John Deacon, Esq. as Treasurer. Two alternative sets of plans were discussed, with one for building the church in sections at an estimated cost of £3,000 being accepted. However, it was felt that until the funds in hand amounted to £2,000 the work should not be commenced. At that date the funds amounted to £480.
As previously mentioned, only one plot of land had been secured on the Lorne Road side of the building site, and it was considered necessary to purchase the two adjoining plots.
These were owned by J. Theobald, Esq., M.P., who appears to have bought them to secure them for the church if required, and they were finally obtained in 1893 as part of the site at a cost of £240.
St Mark's original building in 1985
Meanwhile, the services at the Mission Church were being zealously carried on, and one can imagine the enthusiasm which must have animated both clergy and people in raising sufficient funds to start building their new church.
On 20th November 1893 the church was consecrated by the Lord Bishop of St. Albans (the Right Rev. John Wigan Fasting). So liberally had assistance been given by friends and diocesan societies that the cost of the first section was entirely met, except for £187.
Up to this time St.Mark’s had not been a legally constituted parish; but in February 1894 the Deed of Assignment was forwarded to the Privy Council for ratification by Her Majesty Queen Victoria.
The London Gazette of 9th March 1894 records that "at the Court of Windsor on the 3rd day of March 1894, the Queen’s Most Excellent Majesty in Council approved the assignment of a consolidated Chaperly of St. Mark's, Forest Gate, consisting of the district bounded on the West by the Parish of St. Saviour, on the north by the Parish of Wanstead, on the south by an imaginary line opposite to Forest Gate Station at the centre of Balmoral Bridge over the great Eastern Railway, and from thence northward along the boundary of the Manor Park Cemetery to Chester Villas, otherwise 86, Carpel Road."