London’s Clown Museum | Trinity Church, Dalston
It’s not for the coulrophobes among you, but Dalston is host to one of London strangest – and smallest – collections. The London Clown Museum.
Based in Trinity Church, Dalston, I had no idea what to expect. But I was given a friendly greeting at the entrance…
“It is like meat and drink to me to see a clown.” – William Shakespeare
Run by four members of Clown International, the Clown Museum is the little sister of the main Museum is Wooky Hole, Somerset.
It’s a tiny space and almost every inch is covered with colourful objects, prints and posters.
What immediately catches your eye is the collection of painted eggs.
It was started by a man called Stan Bult, Dentist by trade But very friendly with the local clowns. He began the tradition of painting faces on eggshells.
Known as ‘The Clown Egg Register’ every member of Clown International has an official painted egg as part of their enrolment. This ensures each member has a unique face paint style and it can’t be duplicated by another character.
GINGERNUTT THE CLOWN
Trinity Church is known as the Clown’s Church because of the annual service held each year on the first Sunday of February. Celebrated as Joseph Grimaldi’s Birthday. Grimaldi, who became the ‘unchallenged King of’ Clowns, lived at on Exmouth Market (where there’s a blue plaque) from 1818-1829.
Through it, you can just about make out the Grimaldi stained glass window.
But there’s also a handy reproduction in the museum.
The original Clown’s Church was at St James’ Episcopal Church on Pentonville Road (where Grimaldi’s grave is found) and the first service was back in the 1940s. But why even have a church?
When St James’s was deconsecrated the clown contingent moved to Holy Trinity where they’ve been since 1959.
The cabinet above celebrates the life of ‘Smokey’.
To give you a flavour, the video below was the 70th anniversary. Around 800 clowns turned out with Simon Callow – in a full clown outfit – giving the year’s reading!
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