On the first Sunday in February, the Clowns Church Service is held at Holy Trinity Church, Dalston, Hackney. The service is in memory of Joseph Grimaldi, the father of British clowning who died in Islington in 1837.
The service has been an annual tradition since 1946 and took place at St James' on Pentonville Road, which has since been demolished. The churchyard of St James' has been renamed Joseph Grimaldi Park because that is where his grade II listed grave is situated.
The service was moved to Holy Trinity Church in 1959 and clowns were given permission to attend in full costume in 1967. Febraury was chosen as a suitable month for the service because the clowns are usually in London at this time, just before the start of the touring season.
I attended for the first time yesterday. It was quite surreal worshipping in a traditional church service complete with hymns and readings while surrounded by local residents, tourists, members of the press and clowns!
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