Future Events

Open House London September 2017

The Tower was opened by the FoHCT from 2pm to 5pm on Sunday 17th September as part of the Open House London weekend.

The weather was good and the event a great success with requests to climb the tower heavily oversubscribed – an estimated 150 visitors attended the Churchyard and Exhibition during the day and most also wanted to climb the tower. With a continuous succession of tours, 110 visitors were guided up the tower and given a short history by Peter Sanders.

This was more than at the Summer Open Day in June.

Although there can be no charge for entry due to the terms of the Open House event, the FOHCT collected a grand total of £301 on the day, including £136 from teas, £48 from merchandise, £67 from donations and an additional £50 gained from subscriptions for 5 new members. Also 3 copies of Bridget Cherry’s book ‘Ivy-Mantled Tower’ were sold (£45), the proceeds of which were passed to the Hornsey Historical Society.

Thanks go to everybody involved in running of the event and preparing the Tower, Exhibition, Garden of Remembrance and Churchyard.

The tour booking ‘office’…

Visitors to the tower…


Christmas Activities for 2017

Christmas Lights 2017

The Christmas lights are planned to be installed around the Tower on Saturday 2nd December.

The time is still to be confirmed but any help with this task will be very welcome so please look out for further information nearer to December.

Carol Service 2017

This will take place on Saturday 16th December at 6pm and will be followed by mulled wine and mince pies.

Tower and Turrets Tour 2017/2018

The tour previously advertised for October 14th 2017 has been postponed to 2018.

The Tower and Turrets Tour will now take place on Saturday April 28th 2018.

The itinerary will be similar namely the West London area and in particular the 11th Century St Mary the Virgin Church at Harmondsworth.

New Signs & Information Boards for 2017

Thanks to the support of our three Ward Councillors, in late 2016 we received a very generous grant from the Hornsey Ward Budget which will enable the Friends to purchase new signs and information boards.

A criticism made by a past ‘Green Flag’ judge was that “Even when I finally found the site (of the Churchyard), there was little or no signage to indicate that I had arrived at the correct place”.

We have taken this comment seriously and new signs have been ordered from Fitzpatrick Woolmer in Rochester, Kent.

The example shown below will be installed at the High Street, Temple Road and Church Lane entrances.


In 1950 the Borough of Hornsey created the Garden of Remembrance on the site of the demolished church. This was marked by a sign at the central entrance to the churchyard from the High Street.

The Hornsey Ward Budget grant mentioned above will enable a new replica board to be mounted in the original position designed for it.

This project became possible after Frances Colquhoun found a film sequence including the sign in Hornsey Council’s 1950’s film ‘Beauty in the Borough’ (part of the Bruce Castle Museum’s collection).

Frances obtained a still from the film, which has provided enough information to have a replica made.

The illustration below shows a computer generated image of the replica sign in place.

In addition it is planned to purchase two new lockable notice boards and a new tomb interpretation board to give information on the churchyard – this will also feature a QR code giving a link to the Tomb section of the FoHCT website via a smart phone.

It is hoped to have all the signs and information boards installed before the Tower Open Day in June.


The Chapel Floor and Other Works

When the crypt was being cleared for the 2016 summer Open Day, decay was discovered in the timbers supporting the chapel floor.

A floor joist which supports one end of the chapel hearth was found to be going rotten and the timber wall plate embedded in the wall on which this and the adjacent floor joists rest was found to be in worse condition.

If this problem is not repaired, the corner of the chapel floor could collapse and the chapel would become unusable.

The work necessary to permanently repair the rotten timbers is part of a much more extensive upgrade required to keep the tower in use.

The quinquennial survey carried out for the Church in November 2015 lists a number of repairs needed to the tower stone and brickwork – some pictures are shown below.

The FoHCT are working with the Church to see how this can be funded by obtaining grants, as neither the Church nor the Friends have sufficient money available at present to carry out this work.


The Chapel floor from below with temporary supports in the crypt.


Deterioration of Chapel/Vestry stone columns.


Turret stairway brickwork mortar deterioration.


Crypt entrance stonework delamination.


Brickwork in the Crypt between the Chapel floor joists.

St Mary’s Tower: An invitation to take The Long View – Part Two
Saturday 14th January 2017

Following the first ‘The Long View’ meeting on the 15th October 2016 the second (follow-up) meeting was held on Saturday 14th January 2017 at St Mary’s Primary School. The purpose of the second meeting was to continue discussions regarding the long term use of the Tower and identify some strategies and initiate actions that would secure its future.

The meeting was chaired by the Archdeacon of Hampstead, The Venerable John Hawkins and opened by Fr Bruce who summarized the conclusions from the first meeting in October 2016 and outlined the progress made since then. The electrical works (funded by the FoHCT) within the tower were now complete and the appropriate IEE Safety Certificate had been issued. The next project would be to install the lightning conductor (funded by the PCC) and the new flagpole (funded by the FoHCT). The flagpole must be ‘on site’ when the lightning conductor is installed as it will be connected to the lightning conductor system. With regard to the long term future of the Tower the PCC are of the opinion that the Tower should be ‘organic’ to the local community as the building is an important part of the parish and that it could be used for additional church and spiritual activities which was its original purpose. Although activities at the tower can be weather dependent due to space constraints a number of organisations have been able to make use of the tower in the past and will be able to continue to do so again now that the electrical work has been completed – these include Intimate Space, the Crouch End Festival, community music events such as the Hornsey Music Festival and possible use as a venue for a Community Choir. The church has sought advice from Kevin Rodgers (Borough Conservation Officer) regarding possible innovative uses for the tower beyond those already envisaged and also from Alice Yates who is a specialist employed by the church to advise on fundraising. Fr Bruce closed his remarks by discussing the formation of a sub-committee to work on the ‘Long View’ concept – ‘Vision Begets Provision’.

The meeting was then opened up to the floor for suggestions and comments:
The Hornsey Historical Society suggested an analysis of the immediate and future expenditure required and what, if any, funds are available from the church.

The Intimate Space management are seeking to employ a fundraiser in cooperation with the Crouch End Festival team and suggested the successful applicant could work on behalf of and be funded by all the groups interested in the future of the Tower.

The experience of the Lauderdale House refurbishment team was quoted as their project had highlighted the importance of the proposed fundraiser having a detailed knowledge of the current grants system and application procedures particularly in relation to the Heritage Lottery and the Heritage Memorial Funds. In addition the fundraiser must have sufficient time to devote to the task as offers of finance might otherwise lapse and planning permits be withdrawn. A sound business plan was an essential element of a successful campaign and it was suggested that the Church Commissioners might have to act as guarantors to any project.

A PCC representative reiterated that the Church should place the Tower at the centre of the community and that a local campaign to raise funds could be launched if a clear financial target could be established under the banner ‘Save Our Tower’. Consideration should be given to providing an educational display of the Tower’s history within the vestry – this could become more relevant if the school visit proposals were enacted.
The schools group reminded the meeting that the Tower is the logo of St Mary’s School and outlined the possibility of using the tower for school visits as part of the history curriculum. There is the possibility for making the facilities of St Mary’s School available for events at the Tower and also the services of the school site manager.

The local Councillors stated that the Hornsey community was a microcosm of London with extremes of rich and poor and that the vision for the Tower needs to include all parts of the community. The gardening mornings do provide an easy, free, entry point for any person but the proposed ‘Long View’ sub-committee should be accessible with a wide input including the young.

The FoHCT described how in 1989 when the Friends were formed the Tower was described by the then Bishop of London as a ‘crumbling ruin’ and was on the historic buildings ‘at risk register’. Since then grants have been raised and much achieved – the building has been stabilised, repaired and made weathertight and the pigeon infestation eliminated. However if the momentum is not maintained the Tower will inevitably and gradually revert to the previous dilapidated state. In the short term, the FoHCT believe that the present limited funding and maintenance programmes should continue so that the current church and cultural activities can still be held but that in the long term, a more ambitious funding strategy will need to be developed if the full potential of the site is to be realised and the building brought fully ‘back to life’. The Churchyard and Garden of Remembrance also need to be properly maintained as they are the setting for the Tower. The FoHCT together with the Hornsey Historical Society have prepared a joint policy statement concerning the Future of St.Mary’s Church Tower – this is posted below.

The meeting was closed by the Archdeacon of Hampstead with the decision taken to set up a single ‘Long View Working Group’ which would have representatives from all the interested parties and be chaired by Fr Bruce. The group would be tasked with defining the future use and potential of the Tower and also fund raising, sponsorship and grant applications.



1 Both the Friends of Hornsey Church Tower (FoHCT) and the Hornsey Historical Society (HHS) consider it important that this Grade ll* listed building should be conserved and enhanced, and that every effort should be made to:

a)    have it recognised as a community focal point for Hornsey
b)    encourage the fullest possible use of the building by all sections of the community
c)    explore the possibilities of expanding the use of the building.

2 It is considered that the Tower should be used to its maximum potential in its current form whilst longer term plans for any major changes to the Tower are being explored.  To achieve this, the FoHCT should continue to work in close conjunction with St Mary with St George Parochial Church Council (PCC), and Intimate Space to expand the Tower’s use as a place of worship, and to plan activities, attract users and encourage interest in the Tower and its surroundings.
3 For the long term future of the Tower a working group should be set up to:

a)    define a vision of the Tower’s possible future use
b)    make grant applications, and research local business and developer opportunities for funding and/or sponsorship.

This group should be broadly based and should include members/representatives of the PCC, Haringey councillors, FoHCT, HHS, St Mary’s Infant and Junior School, Intimate Space and other willing participants, especially community groups.

The group should be answerable to the Rector of Hornsey, Fr Bruce Batstone, as owner of the Tower and Churchyard, and chairman of the PCC.

4 Both the FoHCT and the HHS consider that it is equally important that the Churchyard and Garden of Remembrance (GoR) are both properly maintained and that the work of enhancing both is continued.  To achieve this:

a)    the PCC needs to clarify what agreement exists between Haringey Council and the PCC in respect of responsibility for maintenance of the Churchyard and GoR
b)    Haringey Council needs to ensure that work contracted out to Veolia is properly carried out
c)    FoHCT need to continue vital voluntary work to prevent decline in the quality of both churchyard and GoR, which would be to the detriment of the Tower itself
d)    funding must be found to augment the very limited amount the Council is expected to spend on the Churchyard and GoR in the foreseeable future.

5 Both the FoHCT and the HHS consider that as the incumbent Rector of Hornsey is to maintain ownership of the Tower for the foreseeable future, it is vital for the success of the venture of keeping the Tower, Churchyard and GoR in good order that the PCC continues to make active use of them.  It is also considered vital that the PCC continues to work with other bodies to develop ideas for additional uses and to participate in finding funding to achieve these and the long term security of the Tower, Churchyard and GoR.
6 A catch phrase such as:
‘Make Hornsey Church Tower
Hornsey’s Church Tower’

could be developed to be used in publicity material to have the Tower recognised as a community focal point for Hornsey.


All are welcome to join us gardening in the churchyard and Garden of Remembrance.
No experience is necessary and tools are provided. We will be meeting during 2017 on Thursdays and Saturdays between 10.30am and 1.00pm on the following dates:

  • Thursday
  • February 16
  • March 16
  • April 20
  • May 18
  • June 15
  • July 13
  • August 17
  • September 14
  • October 12
  • November 16
  • December 14
  • Saturday
  • March 4
  • April 1
  • May 6
  • June 10
  • July 1
  • August 5
  • September 2
  • October 7
  • November 11
  • December 2