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/ 17 September 2019

Tales from the Crypt – can you help curate an exhibition?

The Diocese of London continues with its exciting heritage project exploring the lives of the first parishioners of Holy Trinity Church in Barnsbury, Islington.  A group of volunteers are undertaking historical research into the ‘Tales from the Crypt’, focusing on people buried in the crypt from 1829 to 1854, linking them to the surrounding houses, streets and businesses to build a vivid picture of life in the neighbourhood. We are now seeking ten additional volunteers to help take these stories to create a fascinating and unique public exhibition, to be held at Islington Museum next spring.

Tales from the Crypt exhibition

The stories emerging from the research are both poignant and moving. Over a third of the individuals buried in the crypt were children, including three children of the Reverend Hunter Francis Fell, the first Vicar of Holy Trinity Church. Susan Skedd, Volunteer Co-ordinator, commented that:

‘The volunteers’ diligent research is yielding intriguing insights into the personal lives, homes and occupations of these early residents which we look forward to sharing with the wider community’.

Anyone interested in volunteering as a curator for the exhibition at Islington Museum should send an email with the subject Cloudesley Centre Volunteer to cloudesleyvolunteers@nullgmail.com.  We will be hosting three training and development workshops in October, November and December to support the exhibition, so please do get in touch if you wish to learn more.

Built in 1826-29 to a design by Sir Charles Barry, the architect of the Houses of Parliament, Holy Trinity Church in Barnsbury is a handsome neo-gothic church that forms the focal point of one of the best-preserved squares in the Barnsbury Conservation Area.

The wider project

The Diocese has been awarded £46,700 by The National Lottery Heritage Fund for ‘The Place Where We Live’, a volunteer-led project that will animate the history of Holy Trinity, now known as the Cloudesley Centre, through a series of free walks, talks, an art project at New River College Primary School and the exhibition at Islington Museum. Funding from Groundworks UK to support the art workshops has also been awarded.

Running from Spring 2019 for two years, the project forms part of plans to restore this architecturally significant Grade II* listed building to public use and has been made possible by money raised by National Lottery players.

This project will be carried out with the assistance of Islington Heritage (Archive and Museum); Art and Christianity, Islington Walks; New River College Primary, Cloudesley Residents’ Association; and Barnsbury Parish.

Commenting on the award, Kevin Rogers, Head of Parish Property Support at the Diocese of London said:

‘We are thrilled to unearth the Tales from the Crypt thanks to support received from National Lottery players and are confident the project will help bring together diverse local communities to understand and celebrate the heritage of this important building.’


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