Not one of the oldest churches in and around Hornsey - not one of the biggest - not one of the prettiest ... but there is a charm about Hornsey Moravian Church, don't you think?
The building dates back to 1908, and according to Pevsner it is 'distinguished by an attractive octagonal corner turret with a spire'. And this is certainly the stand-out aspect of the architecture.
The Moravians are one of the oldest Protestant churches, dating back to the fifteenth century, and perhaps best known for their symbol of the Lamb of God.
They are also one of the smaller churches with perhaps a million members worldwide, mainly in Africa, the Caribbean and Central America.
There are around 20,000 Moravians in Europe - and a thousand or more are in the UK in about thirty congregations (including the Chelsea church and burial ground which I have blogged about before).
The Hornsey church seems to house the headquarters of the church in Britain. The Hornsey Moravians have a good website, and have posted online a comprehensive history of their church, from which this photograph of its opening in 1908 is taken:
The Moravian Messenger reported the plans for the construction of the church as follows:
'Various sites in North London suburbs were examined by the Committee, and it was decided to recommend a plot of ground on Priory Road, Hornsey, at the foot of Muswell Hill. ... The district is a new one, few of the houses in it being more than ten years old. While to all intents and purposes the site is on the main road, it is separated from it by a public garden which runs along the Priory Road to Hornsey. This ensures a certain amount of privacy, and will also prevent the noise of the electric cars causing annoyance during services. ... Ours will be the first Free Church in the field. Trams to various parts pass the site, and several G.N.R. Stations are within a short distance. The people belong almost entirely to the middle class and the wish, so often expressed, that efforts be made to reach the middle classes, will have a chance of fulfilment.'
I feel an affinity with the Moravians because I am part of the 0.01% of the population - actually, that's probably on the high side - that went to a Moravian primary school ... at Fulneck outside Pudsey in West Yorkshire. A beautiful spot with wonderful eighteenth century architecture. My parents weren't Moravians (indeed they were, if anything, lapsed Baptists) - but they preferred me going to fee-paying Fulneck rather than the village primary.
So although I'm a non-believer, I'm pleased there is a flourishing Moravian church just down the road.
Andrew Whitehead's blog
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