The origin of Emmanuel Church lies in the rapid development of West Hampstead in the second half of the 19th century after the arrival of the railways.
The present church was consecrated in 1747 and extended westwards in 1844 and again in 1878 to include a new chancel and sanctuary, the side chapel being consecrated in 1912.
As Hampstead grew in popularity and size as an out of town health resort, the small existing church grew less and less adequate and derelict, being finally declared unusable by 1744. A new church was built on designs by Henry Flitcroft and John Sanderson and was dedicated on 8 October 1747. However, by 1827 this was again too small. It took until 1843 for extension plans by Robert Hesketh to be agreed upon.In 1871 plans were mooted for 'beautifying and improving' the church.
In 1911–12 the vestries were improved by Temple Moore, who also added a Morning Chapel, whilst in 1958 the dark Victorian interior scheme was removed and the original lighter, whitewashed scheme reinstated.