Send out the clowns: no room, says Rev Rose

Clowns service Holy Trinity Ch Beechwood Rd Dalston Lon E8
clownTONY ELDRIDGE (supplied)
Sad clown Eldridge (supplied)

FEARS ARE  developing that the annual clowns’ church service will have to leave Holy Trinity in Dalston, where it has been held for more than half a century.

The Beechwood Road E8 3DY church, above, is to be used to accommodate some of the pupils from the primary school opposite, which is losing its site to a tower-block flat development within 200m of Dalston Junction station.

The Clowns Gallery collection, which includes 36 of the traditional painted eggs that register the facial make-up of clowns, is also in need of another home.

Holy Trinity’s vicar, the Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, last month told Clowns International, the charity that organises the services, which attract news teams from around the world, that building alterations and other work meant that the clowns would have to pack up their museum by the end of April 2014.

Clowns International (CI) secretary Tony Eldridge said: “The sword of Damocles has been hanging over us for some time. The Rev Rose was telling us that there was a planning problem about whether the development at the primary school opposite the church would get the go-ahead.”

Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin at clowns service 060211 Dalston Hackney ©
The Rev Hudson-Wilkin at a clowns’ service

Then the Mayor of London overruled Hackney council, and the school decided it needed to find extra space while its new premises were being built as part of the development project.

Eldridge said: “Now we are told the school will be using the church as a classroom. They wouldn’t want people like us going in on a Friday [weekly public-opening day for the museum] when there’s a class.”

Hudson-Wilkin told CI that the school wanted “full access” to the church premises for two years. She acknowledged that the information was disappointing for CI and would cause it “some distress”, especially if it had no other option.

In other words, the vicar, who is also chaplain to the Queen and to the Speaker of the House of Commons, is saying: You’re on your own.

A prime objective of CI is to commemorate Joseph Grimaldi (1778-1837), the father of clowning. He is buried at St James (now deconsecrated) in Pentonville Road, Islington, where the clowns’ service was held until 1959.

* Any organisation or individual prepared to help to accommodate the Clowns’ Gallery archive  for a few years should contact curator Mattie Faint or Tony Eldridge at CI (0845 269 29171).    

* Backstory: Let’s talk bishops, says Rev Rose 

David Altheer 310314 

* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained.


This site welcomes fair comments, including the critical. They may be edited for grammatical, legal or taste reasons, for shortening or for substitution of Wikipedia citations by reliable sources. In the unlikely event that anything defamatory is posted, the sender’s details may have to be divulged, as with any comment/discussion forum under UK law. RSS feed link is at top right. Twitter: @lovingdalston Publicists, amateur and professional, should read Also relevant may be the note at the end of Photographs © David Altheer unless otherwise stated and apart from supplied pictures