St Antony’s church was built by and for the Franciscan order in the late 1880s. Forest Gate was a very big parish then, as it is today. At first it was mainly comprised of the Irish immigrants with a number of European Catholics, today we have over 100 nationalities represented in our congregation.
This was the provincial house of the Franciscans in England and Scotland. In the friary there were about 50 priests, brothers and students. The priests looked after Forest Gate parish and went to many other churches in the East London and outer Essex parishes to help with masses when priests were away or sick. The church is very large and built in the Neo-Gothic style and with Pugins’s architectural influence. We will shortly be undertaking a restoration of the interior of the church.