St Paul’s Church Grove Park celebrates 150 years

Image above: We are 150 poster for the St Paul’s Church, Grove Park 150th birthday celebrations

A festival of two halves

You’ve heard of a game of a two halves, well this is a festival of two halves: part one of the special festival to commemorate 150 years of St Paul’s Church in Grove Park opened in May. It has taken a two week break and will recommence with part two after the Jubilee weekend.

Part two includes concerts, talks, special services and a flower festival… I talked to the Church warden, Sara Hodson, to tell me a little more about what to expect.

“Part of the aim of this festival is to engage the wider community, not just our regular worshippers but a whole range of local groups who are interested in art, music, poetry and more” Sara said.

“One of the positive developments of the pandemic was the coming together of people in our weekly virtual socials and many of these are still continuing today.”

The church’s poetry group started during the first national lockdown and the group has kept meeting as a weekly online gathering ever since, sharing poems and prose on chosen themes. There will be plenty more opportunities to meet like minded local people in the weeks ahead.

Image above: St Paul’s Church, Grove Park

The building was consecrated on 1 June 1872 and was funded by the Duke of Devonshire, and its arrival established Grove Park as its own distinct parish, with many of the houses in the area also dating from this time.

The special six week celebrations began with Hear the People Sing (15 May) a concert of music with links to Chiswick. An adult choir of 50 and a children’s choir of 40 were joined by several West-End performers, accompanied by a rousing professional orchestra under the direction of Mike Reed. The programme varied from Chiswick Music Hall numbers to the Beatles, Zadok the Priest to the Artful Dodger.

On Saturday 28 May, The Hounslow Symphony Orchestra played a programme of Mozart and Louise Farrenc. The orchestra performed a wide ranging repertoire and are regular visitors to St Paul’s Church for their well received concerts. Sunday evening featured an evening of joyful, uplifting and reflective poetry chosen and read by the St Paul’s Poetry Group.

If you missed these, fear not, as there are still plenty of events still to come.

Images above: The Addison Singers

English Music for a Summer Evening

The festival will continue, after a two week break, with English Music for a Summer Evening on Saturday 11 June. In this event The Addision Singers will be performing a wide range of English music including works by Dyson, Stanford and Delius, with a special emphasis on Vaughan Williams who shares his 150th anniversary with St Paul’s Church.

On July 17 Local historians, James Wisdom and Val Bott, will be taking us through the history of St Paul’s Church from 1872 to 2022. Speakers will use old maps to show how the shape of the parish and family history resources, such as the Census, to introduce some of those who have lived there and worshipped at St Paul’s.

For those who can’t attend the online lecture, member Catherine Jessop has put up panels up at the back of the church explaining the long history of the parish, these can be viewed during their normal opening hours of Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9.00 am to 6.00 pm. She has also written an in depth article which you can read here.

St Paul’s Church in it’s early years

There will also be performances from Middlesex Yeomanry Concert Band and St Paul’s regulars Kew Sinfonia.

The Middlesex Yeomanry will be playing at the St Paul’s Flower Festival featuring displays from local churches, horticultural and community groups and schools.

There will be tea, coffee and biscuits and music from various local groups in the garden (weather permitting). Come and enjoy the loveliness of the flowers and then relax with a home-made cake and some music.

‘The idea is to fill the church with vibrant colours and wonderful smells’ Sara told the Chiswick Calendar. ‘There will be a range of imaginative displays from local prep schools and churches, as well as local businesses such as Wheelers’.

The festival will conclude with a Comedy Night showcasing some of the newest young London stand-ups in St Paul’s Garden. Book a table, bring your own dinner, anything from a Glyndebourne picnic to pork pies, and watch sets from some up and coming young comedians. Details are till being confirmed for the evening, which is shaping up to be a perfect finale for the festival.

Sara hopes that any leftover funds from the ticket donations can be used to improve the quality of the garden at the front of the church which unfortunately has fallen into disrepair over lockdown.

‘We hope that one of the legacies of this festival will be a basis to continue thriving as a community centre for another 150 years to come’.

See all the events in our What’s On section below for tickets and full details.

All events in Chiswick:

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