A century of giving, growing & grace

Legacy of Faith: A Glimpse into IGC’s Past

Built in 1928, IGC has been a staple in the Burnt Oak community ever since. Originally known as Woodcroft Hall, the Church was built by a man named John William Laing. Christ was paramount in Laing’s life, evident from the evangelical direction of his construction company. He was a pioneer in regard to nurturing his staff: 

  • It is believed he was possibly the first to offer holiday pay in the construction industry.
  • In 1932, the Laing Benevolent Fund was formed, a charity providing financial, educational, and housing support to current and former Laing employees.
  • Upon going public in 1952, 23% of the shares were held by Laing employees, 30% were held by Stewards Company (a company started by Laing to put his charitable giving on a proper basis) whilst only 26% were held by Laing and his sons.

The Construction of Woodcroft Hall, 1927.

After nearly going bankrupt in the earlier days of his career, he made a vow to God – that for every pound he earned, a large percentage of it would be given away to charity. He stuck to this, giving away a sum each year larger than his own income. Due to this charitable giving, Laing died with a net worth of £371 despite amassing millions throughout his life.

Laing’s construction company was fully occupied during both world wars, building factories,  accommodation for troops, training camps and hospitals. Prior to WW2, aeroplanes took off from grass fields, but concrete runways became a necessity. Laing’s company was largely tasked with making these necessary infrastructural changes. The experience they gained became instrumental in their later years as they were the company largely responsible for building the M1 Motorway. For his contribution to the building industry, Laing was awarded the CBE in 1951 and knighted in 1959.

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A 1960s Pamphlet offering a glimpse into a Burnt Oak long gone. 

Laing was very involved in the church formerly known as Woodcroft Hall; he was described as an ‘enthusiastic leader’. The congregation grew so much that the building had to be enlarged twice. Soon after it was built, the Sunday School numbered over 1000 children and young people, many of whom ended up becoming missionaries tasked with spreading the gospel abroad.

As well as having a hand in the creation of Christian Organisations such as Urban Saints, IVF, Counties and Tyndale House, Laing formed the Covenanter Union which was a large-scale church-based organisation for teenagers.

IGC’s legacy is one of selflessness, integrity, and significant Christ-centred success. There is something great to be learned from IGC’s History: seek the Lord in all you do, and he’ll take care of the rest.

‘Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.’ – James 4:10


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