I recently found my way to the church of Our Lady and St Joseph located on the Balls Pond Road in north London. The road is said to have been named after a pond owned by a John Ball who in much earlier times ran the Salutation Tavern (aka the Boarded House), which provided facilities for bull baiting and – on its pond – duck hunting.
The parish was established in 1855 by Fr William Lockhart of the Rosminian Order. The first parish church (1856-c.1960) was located at the corner of Culford Road and Tottenham Street, Hackney. This church was converted from a disused warehouse by W. W. Wardell (1823-99), with further adaptation by E. W. Pugin (1834–75) completed in 1860.
The current buidling is designed by William C Mangen (1884-?) and was opened in 1964.
The pipe organ
The organ here is by J. W. Walker and Sons (1964).
It is a very nice English interpretation of the organ reform movement or Orgelbewegung, a twentieth-century organ design tradition that began in Germany. Here no concessions are made to ‘romantic’/’symphonic’ organ design, although the temperament is equal.
The instrument is beautifully crafted and more than 50 years on is still lovely to play. Works by the Baroque masters and Paul Hindemith ‘et al’ suit it very nicely. Sadly, I had no opportunity to record the instrument. Next time maybe.
- Catholic Churches of London by Denis Evinson (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1998)
- ‘Islington: Roman Catholicism’ in A History of the County of Middlesex. (London: Victoria County History, 1985), online resource accessed 10 October 2017
- ‘Kingsland. Our Lady & St Joseph’ in Taking Stock: Catholic church of England and Wales, online resource accessed 10 October 2017
- The pipe organ’s specification, The National Pipe Organ Register, online resource accessed 10 October 2017
- The parish website
- ‘Rosminian‘, Wikipedia, onoine resource accessed 10 October 2017
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