St. John's Parish was originally part of the Parish of West Ham. In 1827 the Vicar of West Ham saw that Stratford was growing, and said there was an urgent need for a Church at the centre of Stratford. Much of the money to build the new Church was given by local people, and the Church was opened in 1834.
St. John's was designed in the Early English style with a tall, ornate south western spire by Sir Edward Blore, one of the leading architects of his day.
In 1879 the Martyrs Memorial was built in St. John's Churchyard to commemorate the men and women who were burnt at the stake at 'Stratford-at-Bowe' in 1556 during the reign of Mary Tudor.
In 1884 the interior of the Church was completely changed. The Chancel was built, together with the Choir Vestry and the Organ Chamber.
During the 1939-45 war, many hundreds of people took shelter in the crypt of St. John's. The Church was badly damaged by bombing, in particular all but one of the windows were blown out. The Churchyard railings were removed for the war effort. The Friends of St. John's was formed in 1944 to keep members who had been bombed out of the East End in touch with each other. The Friends contributed towards the cost of repairs and the Church was fully restored from the war damage in 1951.
In 1998 a new extension was opened, to provide extra facilities for the Church congregation and for the local community, seven days a week.
A brief outline of the history of St John's, as well as a more expanded version, including a walk around the parish, are available to download from our Library Page