A historic London chapel will open its doors as part of both the Heritage Open Days and London’s Open House Festival 2023.

As part of the two cultural festivals, the grade I and II listed Union Chapel will invite punters in for tours and a creative programme for one day.

On Saturday, September 9, the music venue and social enterprise will put on guided tours by Friends of Union Chapel where participants can learn about the building’s architecture and heritage, and see for themselves why the chapel is one of the best examples of Neo-Gothic Victorian architecture in England. Tours will run from 10am to 2.15pm.  

Visitors can also take a look at the chapel’s stage on which the likes of Amy Winehouse, Adele, Celest and Elton John have performed on.

Naturally, several of the day’s activities focus on the chapel’s hero instrument, its organ, as well.

Supported by the Institute of Physics, Union Chapel will also host hands-on family-orientated workshops on how to build and play and organ. These workshops are suitable for children aged 7 or older.  The first session, running from 10am-11am is aimed at 7 to 10-year-olds, while the second session from 11.15am to 12.15pm is tailored to 11-year-olds and older.

Union Chapel organ students from St Mary Magdalene School will present a lunchtime recital on the chapel’s 1877 water hydraulics powered Willi organ, along with their tutor and concert organist Jeremiah Stephenson. Catch this from 12s.15pm to 1pm.

Historic organ restorer Martin Renshaw will present the documentary, Organ Stops – Saving the King of Instruments which details the efforts of a small group of organ enthusiasts working to save the instruments from obsoletion.  The screening will start at 1.15pm and run until 2.30pm.

While Union Chapel remains a functioning church, it also serves as a music venue and community space, offering organ music classes so to preserve organ music as an art form, as well as offering support to people experiencing homelessness, isolation or who are in crisis.

Open House Festival runs over two weekends, September 9-10 and 16-17, offering a peek into London’s homes and neighbourhoods and into some of London’s most iconic buildings. You can find more information at open-city.org.uk.

Heritage Open Days run September 8 to 17 across England, welcoming people to explore new places and venues in celebration of England’s history and heritage. For more information on this visit heritageopendays.org.uk.

Address: 19b Compton Terrace, Islington N1 2UN

Website: unionchapel.org.uk