London’s world-renowned Grade 1 listed chapel and music venue Union Chapel to offer history tours and organ recital


Union Chapel, London’s historic Grade 1 listed chapel, acclaimed live music venue and social enterprise, will be taking part in England’s largest festival of history, architecture and culture, Heritage Open Days, with an afternoon of guided tours of the chapel and an organ recital on the world-famous organ, on September 12, 2021.

An architectural gem in Islington, London, built in 1875-77 and designed by James Cubitt, a leading Victorian nonconformist architect, Union Chapel is home to a Grade I Listed chapel and is one of the best examples of Neo-Gothic Victorian congregational church in England, often compared to a small cathedral in its scale.

Soon to celebrate its 30th anniversary as a music venue, the Union Chapel stage has played host the world’s most iconic artists such as Amy Winehouse, Adele, Noel Gallagher, Elton John and U2.

On September 12, visitors to Union Chapel will be able to explore hidden corners and learn about the unique architecture and heritage of one of London’s landmark buildings, on free guided or self-guided tours.

Highlights of the tour include:

· An explanation of the history of the chapel and its various reincarnations since it was built in 1799.

· The importance of the famous wheel stained glass window, designed by Frederick Drake of Exeter, a well-known Victorian stained-glass designer who also designed some of the glass at Exeter Cathedral.

· The importance of the non-conformist design of the chapel – a building designed with music at its heart to provide full visibility of the pulpit from every part of the congregation.

· Background on the acoustics of the building.

· The world-famous organ, built by the master organ builder Henry Willis in 1877, designed especially for the size and acoustics of the chapel building and one of the best examples of 19th Century craftsmanship in the world. It is one of very few hydraulic organs left in the UK. You can read more about the famous organ here

· The non-conformist heritage of the building.

An organ recital and tour with Catherine Harris, organist at the Parish of St Maximilian Kolbe in Leeds, will take place on the chapel’s 1877 Henry Willis organ at 4.30pm (suggested donation £5).

Free tours of Union Chapel will run in the afternoon from 2pm – 4.30pm – either self-guided or with one of the Friends of Union Chapel.

Tickets here