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.”
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.
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
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