What a smasher! As suburban non-conformity goes, Muswell Hill Baptist Church is much above average. It's surprisingly spacious and was designed by George Baines, who specialised in non-conformist chapels and churches.
The church was built in 1900-01 and is deservedly Grade II listed.
The wood-lined twin peaks of the roof are spectacular, and so too is the curved balcony. No wonder the hard-to-please Nikolaus Pevsner commends the church's 'good interior'.
There's a lot of attention to detail in the design, and the stained glass - while simple - still manages to catch the eye.
I popped in over the weekend when I noticed the 'Open House sign outside. I'm glad I did!
It has an octagonal tower with a twee little spire. And if you need some more encouragement to pop in, have a look at these:
This rather impressionistic piece of art is made from chewing gum. The used stuff. It's also tiny. The circle is perhaps eight centimeters in diameter.
I came across it in Muswell Hill, on the Parkland Walk - it's on a bridge with a rather dramatic view, and depicts that same view (you can see the gum towards the bottom of the photo below). Clever!
The artist himself had passed by minutes earlier - I didn't initially realise who he was. His name is Ben Wilson; he lives in Muswell Hill; and he has done upwards of 10,000 pieces of chewing gum art, with a technique he has devised himself.
It turn out that Wilson and his miniature art featured in the New York Times almost a decade back. The image below is from Kickstarter which has been seeking pledges towards a book on 'the Chewing Gum Man'.
I have taken to the Parkland Walk, along the line of north London's lost railway, with the enthusiast of a convert. On a Sunday morning, I get up early and cycle. And on the northern stretch - on a bridge over St James's Lane in Muswell Hill - there is one of those views which hits you in the stomach. Looking east - with the Gherkin the most southerly spot in views, stretching to the bounds of London and beyond. You can get a sense of it here. Worth a glance!
If you head west into Alexandra Park, there's a another hidden gem - a cafe, the Grove, on a cycle path. On summer weekends, it opens at nine. I popped in this morning for a sausage sandwich breakfast to sustain me on the resy of my cycle ride, after which I cook a breakfast for the family. Sausages, of course.
Andrew Whitehead's blog
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