Organ project presents an audio walking tour exploring Stroud Green’s eclectic Musical Heritage
With museums closed, St Mellitus Organ Restoration Project invites you to enjoy a self-guided, audio walking tour and discover the highlights of Stroud Green’s rich musical history. The 35-minute podtour – presented by Oonagh Gay and Susan Hahn of Islington Guided Walks – is designed to be downloaded and taken on location. It’s the perfect accompaniment your daily lockdown walk! If you are shielding it also works as a documentary you can listen to from the comfort of your armchair.
The tour begins at St Mellitus Church on Tollington Park, home to the unique Hunter First World War Memorial Organ. Thanks to National Lottery players, this rare instrument has just been restored, in time for its centenary, with a grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, in recognition of its significant heritage and cultural value. It was built to commemorate the men from the parish who fought in the First World War – both those who fell (46) and those who returned (175).
The tour focuses on the musical heritage of three significant communities in the area: the African-Caribbean, Greek Cypriot and Irish communities. It visits the site of a piano factory, a former music hall and studios belonging to the oldest independent record label in the world; listeners will learn of ‘jelly mould’ cinema organs and memorable performances at the iconic Rainbow Theatre.
Local residents – Sarah White of the George Padmore Institute; Alice Georgeou, whose Greek Cypriot father ran a cafe on Hornsey Road; and Geri Caulfield who saw The Pogues play at the now demolished Irish pub and venue, the Sir George Robey – also share their musical memories.
Tour guides: Oonagh Gay & Susan Hahn of Islington Guided Walks
Original music composed by Matt Redman
The podtour will be available to download from the project website from Monday 8th February 2021 at: https://stmellitusorgan.co.uk/pod-tours/
It is also available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts (iTunes)
About St Mellitus Centenary Organ Project
St Mellitus is a church in Stroud Green, London N4, built in 1871, originally the New Court Congregation Church.
Back in 2009, parishioners learned that the organ had been installed and dedicated in 1920 as the war memorial for New Court Church, as research uncovered documentation relating to the construction and the names of the men whom it commemorates. With the centenary of the First World War approaching, a decision was made to apply for a grant to the National Lottery Heritage Fund to have it restored.
The organ was built in 1920 by renowned organ builders A Hunter & Son, in Clapham, London. It has been restored by F H Browne & Sons (now known as Mander Organs), based in Kent.
Follow @StMellitusOrgan on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #StMellitusOrgan
About the National Lottery Heritage Fund
Using money raised by the National Lottery, we inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.
Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use#NationalLotteryHeritageFund
About Islington Guided Walks
Islington Guided Walks (also known as Clerkenwell and Islington Guides’ Association offers guided walks throughout London Borough of Islington and borders. Members of the Association hold qualifications in Tour Guiding from the University of Westminster and are recognised as the Mayor of Islington’s official guides. It recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. Oonagh Gay is the current Chair.
Follow @IslingtonWalks on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.