Cloudesley Association – December 2018 Update

1. Christmas Carols

Residents have been kindly invited to join the following Christmas Carol events:

(a) Sunday 9th December at 8:30pm: The Crown, 116 Cloudesley Road, is hosting the Church on the Corner Christmas Carols;

(b) Tuesday 11th December at 7pm: The annual Lonsdale Square Christmas carol singing is taking place on all four corners of the square - everyone is welcome!

2. Kings Cross

Since our last update, the amazing new Coal Drops Yard shopping area has opened. It is quite spectacular and worth a visit.

For more information as to what’s on, check out for a programme of events, including:

· wreath making workshops;
· a ‘festive canopy market’ every Friday (noon-8pm);
· Store Projects is running a series of workshops; and
· the House of Illustration’s Winter Fair is back, on the 8th December (noon-6pm).

3. The School(s)

Our local councillor Rowena Champion has managed to arrange a meeting with the school and will be talking to them about some of the concerns raised by residents this year. We have been liaising with Rowena and will report back as to how that meeting went in the New Year.

4. Update on the Holy Trinity Church:

Notes from the meeting organised by the Diocese on the 30th October 2018 at St Andrew’s Church are provided below.

The following people spoke to the audience:

· Kevin Rogers, Head of Parish Property Support (Diocese)
· Ptolemy Dean, Architect
· Harvey Howlett, Church Commissioners
· Carole Patey, Fundraiser


Kevin introduced the various speakers and explained that the Diocese was rethinking how to be part of the community and how to raise £6m for restoring the church. A feasibility study has been funded by various partners and they are in discussion with the YMCA who is in need of a new office space. The YMCA is felt to be a charity with similar purposes to the Diocese.

Ptolemy took us through the history of the Church’s development. He described it as ‘amongst the finest low cost built’ that bears plaster ceiling beams rather than timber for instance. It is framed by the adjacent streets and its West front is inspired by King’s College Cambridge. There are no architectural drawings dating back to the original construction. In 1901, the church was remodelled: the galleries were removed and the raked pews in front of the West front window were added.

Scaffolding has been in place since 2005 when emergency repairs were carried out by Historic England. This included steel strengthening and some re-roofing.

Ptolemy briefly showed an earlier proposal by The Church Conservation Trust, since rejected, that introduced a double height wall at the bottom of the raked pews, with the purpose of using this space for lectures and introducing a floor within the nave at mezzanine level.

Since then, a feasibility study has been carried out looking at a different arrangement that would provide mix-used facilities. This would consist of offices at first floor with the raked pews removed and levelled, reinstating the full height West window and also reinstating the galleries above the aisles. This would create space for approximately 80 desks in open-plan offices. This would have limited visual impact on the views from the ground floor. The volume of the nave would be retained open as a flexible open space, possibly including a café, while the aisle below the galleries would be subdivided into rooms by predominantly glazed partitions. Space needs to be allowed for ancillary spaces such as kitchen, toilets, meeting spaces etc.

Ptolemy identified that there are issues with access in that a spiral stone staircase currently leads to the first floor pews. The current sketch plan suggests a lift in the west porch and staircases at the end of both aisles leading to the first floor.

The Diocese is currently working with the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), a Trust and the YMCA, but will require further sources of funding.

The crypt currently holds 180 “residents” from 1826-1844 and it is proposed that the space is used as an ossuary that would be used by medical students. The intention being that a medical / university institution would partner with the Diocese.

Harvey explained that the project will need Listed Building and Planning Consent. The Commissioners are actively involved in the disposal scheme and will write a document that will list the potential use considered acceptable ‘on principle’ by the Commissioners. The residents will be formerly consulted, in writing, by the Commissioners on those principles before Listed Building and Planning Consent are submitted.

Carole explained that Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has historically been the main funder for historic buildings. HLF is currently rethinking their schemes and the earliest an application will be possible is April 2019. Any application to the HLF must benefit the heritage and the community. At this stage, HLF recommends an “Our Heritage” grant ( to start the process and the Diocese is looking at researching the social history of those buried in the crypt, and to work with creative writer and artists to interpret the resources to satisfy HLF’s request (see point 5 below).

Our Heritage | Heritage Lottery Fund.  "An Our Heritage grant can help you protect and share the heritage you care about. Your project could focus on anything from personal memories and cultural traditions to archaeological sites, places of worship, museum collections and rare wildlife."

Kevin concluded by reminding residents that they will hear from the Commissioners when these are carrying out their consultation. He indicated that the Diocese would like to start the work in late 2019 / early 2020 with a completion in 2021/22, ideally. He then opened the floor to questions

The following information was gained from the questions raised:

· Heritage stakeholders (Historic England, Victorian and Georgian Societies) have indicated that converting and sub-dividing the building for residential use will not receive their approval.
· It was suggested by members of the audience that the church should be re-consecrated. Funding available is more limited for a consecrated church according to Kevin Rogers.
· The Diocese plan A is to find a charitable tenant with a clear purpose to partner with. They haven’t spoken to other charities (other than YMCA and previously CCT) as the scale of investment required is too large for most, but they will go through an advertisement process and YMCA is not definitive yet.
· The number of people that could use the ‘office’ space on a daily basis is currently evaluated at about 80.
· The Diocese has learned from the previous mistake made by not having a robust enough lease in place, and the Commissioners are also aware of issues from unsuitable leases written in the past. Both parties will ensure that a suitable lease is being used to avoid such situation arising again. But the Diocese doesn’t know yet the type of lease arrangement given they haven’t secured an end user yet.

5. ‘Our Heritage’ Research Project

Here is a brief summary of the research project being submitted to the HLF by the Diocese. This information was kindly provided subsequently by Carol Patey by e-mail to Nick Collin. The application is going in on Monday and if successful, Carol and her colleague will be very keen to hear from any potential volunteers.

'The Place Where We Live'
Tales from the Crypt

“'A group of local volunteers, led by a professional historian, will explore the history and people of Cloudesley Square, London, N1 and its focal point, Sir Charles Barry's Holy Trinity Church (now decommissioned), together with the surrounding parish of Barnsbury.

One focus of the project will be 'Tales from the Crypt' which will specifically focus on the burials in the crypt dating from 1829, (the year the church was first opened), to 1854. These were the first parishioners of the Cloudesley area and we plan to create a 'snapshot' of their lives: who they were, what they did, where they worked and how they died.

The research will be published on the diocesan website and used as the basis for a community led exhibition in the local library and a school arts project involving the local PRU, New River College for Primary pupils. Islington Guides will lead a series of free public walks based on this knowledge. It will also inform the conservation plan for the restoration of the church.

This project will be carried out with the assistance of 'Islington Heritage' (part of Islington Council), Islington Guides; New River College, (PRU); Cloudesley Residents' Association; The Cloudesley Trust; Barnsbury Parish; and Voluntary Action, Islington.'

We will be in touch with you again as soon as we have any progress to report. This is not likely to be before early March 2019 when, all being well, the project will begin in earnest. The research is expected to take around six months, after which we will be in a position to share the stories and to progress with the guided walks, the school’s art project and plan the exhibition for the Library.”

6. Other matters

We will be planning an Association meeting in the New Year, where the main agenda item will be developments at the church, set out above.

If you are aware of any event, consultation or news item that you would like us to include in our next newsletter, please let us (or your street rep) know.

As ever, if you know of any neighbour who is not on the Cloudesley Association e mail distribution list, please pass this email on and/or ask them to provide us with their contact details so that they can be kept in the loop.

Amanda and Florence
On behalf of
The Cloudesley Association