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Time to repair the Union Chapel clock

Who’s been making the news round your way this week?

13 January, 2017 — By Gabe Evans

Emma Stell beneath Union Chapel’s faulty timepiece

A PERSIAN feast fundraiser will be held at Union Chapel on January 31 to help raise the £40,000 needed to repair their clock in Compton Terrace. First installed in 1889, the majestic timepiece kept Islington residents on their toes for more than 100 years. Now there is “more rust than clock,” says events administrator Emma Stell. After nearly a decade of halted hands, the chapel has decided it is time for it to be repaired, to mark the building’s 140th anniversary. This not just a celebratory gesture however, as leaking water from the clock risks breaking up the sandstone in the tower, which would be potentially dangerous to the church’s structure. £10,000 has already been raised courtesy of generous concert-goers and the Heritage of London Trust which recently donated £5000. To help make up the rest, The Margins Project Café – a cookery training programme run at the church for people who have experienced homelessness and crisis but are now looking for work – has pitched in. Resident chef Iraj Valizadeh who runs the café programme – a former trainee himself – will serve up a spectacular meal using flavours from his native Iran, including slow-cooked lamb with roses and plums and a chocolate pine nut and lemon zest mouse. “He’s a remarkable cook,” says Emma. “We thought we should make use of his skills!” For more details go to And find more information on the Margins Project at

Yeoman Cloudesley 500 years on

Trustee Michael Maunsell and Rev Simon Harvey beside the tomb of Richard Cloudesley

THE renovation of the tomb of Richard Cloudesley, a famous 16th-century Islington benefactor, began this week at St Mary’s Church, Upper Street. Funded by the charity Cloudesley, which was set up in his name 500 years ago, the work marks the beginning of a series of initiatives and events taking place this year to celebrate the foundation’s quincentennial anniversary. Believed to have lived in Barnsbury during the reign of Edward IV (1461-83), Cloudesley described himself as a “husbandman, yeoman or gentleman”. The only recorded date relating to his life is the one he wrote his will: January 13 1517, exactly 500 years ago today. In the document he stated that the income derived from 14 acres of land called Stoney Field – now Cloudesley Square – should be used for charitable ends at St Mary’s Church. “In the fullness of time this was the endowment that became the Charity of Richard Cloudesley,” said trustee Michael Maunsell. “Although whether he actually was giving for the benefit of his soul or for charity is hard to work out.” Buried among any number of saints and sinners – St Mary’s was Islington’s only church at the time – it is understood that Cloudesley was involved in violence and admitted to killing a man, though he was acquitted on grounds of self defence. Regard­less of his motives “we are very grateful for him,” said Rev Simon Harvey, Vicar of St Mary’s. “He’s an Islington hero”. Michael added: “We are working to make sure that his contribution can continue, and indeed grow, in the long term future.” Cloudesley gives important grants and support to a number of Islington organisations including Centre 404 and Solace Women’s Aid. Events for the charity’s 500th anniversary will properly kick off in June and are set to include special grants, lectures, a history project and a travelling exhibition. More details to come soon at http://richardcloudesleys

Feast of artwork at Festa! exhibition

Stuart Low Trust member Cady, pictured at work

ARTWORK from members of the much-loved Stuart Low Trust, a health promotion charity that supports local people who experience isolation or mental distress, is showing at the Islington Museum in their Festa! exhibition. In collaboration with Islington Adult Community Learning and the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, the artworks explore the life of clown Joseph Grimaldi; the lively Italian community in Islington who brought music, ice cream and carnival to the streets; and the beauty of ballerinas such as Margot Fonteyn who danced at Sadler’s Wells. Regular Stuart Low participant Cady produced a green ink print of an imagined landscape. “I was very pleased with it,” he said. Cady has always been interested in art, especially abstract expressionism and photography. The exhibition runs until January 16. Find out more at arts-and-heritage/heritage/islington-museum/exhibitions

Guides gear up for a walks and talks

At the Crown Tavern: John Morgan, CIGA; Kat Fletcher, Mayor of Islington; John Finn, CIGA chairman; Tim Haines, CIGA; Anne Kenrick, newly appointed Master of Chartehouse; Cheryl Smith, heritage manager, Islington Museum; Tom Foakes, curator, Museum of the Order of St John

THE Clerkenwell and Islington Guides’ Association (CIGA) celebrated the new year on Monday at the historic Crown Tavern in Clerkenwell Green where it is alleged Lenin and Stalin had a meeting in 1903. The annual get-together for CIGA guides and their heritage partners in the borough including Islington Museum, Charterhouse and Museum of the Order of St John, was a jolly affair, attended by Islington mayor Kat Fletcher. “Its a great opportunity for us local organisations who care about Islington’s history to show support for each other,” said guide Karen Lansman. CIGA lead walks through the borough covering a diverse range of subjects that are “off the beaten track” – from gin and jellied eels to radical politics. Upcoming walks include an exploration of the streets terrorised by Clerkenwell gangster Darby Sabini who was portrayed by Noah Taylor in the BBC drama Peaky Blinders; and a tour of Islington’s LGBT history in partnership with Islington Museum and their upcoming Islington Pride exhibition. Find out more at


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