Clowns Church Service

Pay Tribute to England's Finest Clown, Joseph Grimaldi

Clown's Church Service
© Jeremy O'Donnell / Getty Images

About The Clowns Church Service: The first Sunday in February is the annual clowns church service at Holy Trinity Church in Dalston, east London. Clowns attend a church service in memory of Joseph Grimaldi. The clowns usually perform for the public after the church service.

This has been an annual tradition since 1946. The service moved to Holy Trinity Church in 1959, and in 1967 permission was given for the clowns to attend in their costumes.

Note: Plan to arrive early as the press photographers come out in force and take up a large section of the church.

Location: The service was previously held at Holy Trinity Church, Beechwood Road, Dalston, London E8 3DY, but since 2015 the service takes place at the sister church: All Saints, corner Haggerston and Livermere Roads, Hackney E8 4EZ

Nearest Train Station: Dalston Kingsland. Plenty of buses serve Dalston Junction. Use Journey Planner to plan your route by public transport.

Cost: The church service is free but donations are always welcome.

About Joseph Grimaldi: Joseph Grimaldi is the most celebrated English clown. He was born in London in 1778 and died in 1837. His tomb is in the Joseph Grimaldi Park in Islington where you can 'dance on his grave'.

Address: Next to 154a Pentonville Road, between Rodney Street and Cumming Street
Nearest tube stations: King's Cross St Pancras and Angel

After The Clowns Church Service: When the clowns leave the church they are usually kind enough to perform for the waiting public in the adjoining church hall. The performance usually lasts around an hour and is great for families.

The hall is always packed at the start but the press do leave quite quickly and then you can enjoy a family show for free. I've sat next to clowns in the audience which has been a lovely treat too.

The Clown's Gallery: The Clown's Museum has moved out of London to Wookey Hole Caves in Wells, Somerset.

However, Holy Trinity Church is the official "Clown's Church" and has a Grimaldi corner and a small exhibition of photographs, eggs and items in three show cases.

Also in The Area: There's plenty to do in the area on a Sunday so make a day of it.

If you like shopping, head to the Columbia Road Flower Market in the morning; browse the vintage shops on Brick Lane; pick up bargains from the stalls on Petticoat Lane, or shop for cool jewelry, artwork or gifts at Old Spitalfields.

If you're looking for a culture fix, consider a trip to the Museum of Childhood or the Geffrye Museum.

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