St Mary's is one of the Church of England's most historic parishes, today we're a church of different people, a community of all ages, living out our calling.
Our two enthusiastic churches are reaching out to our local community and growing the church as a beacon of hope.
We have two church centres in the parish – St Andrew’s and Church on the Corner. St Andrew’s looks like a church, and Church on the Corner looks like a pub, because that’s what it was. The St Andrew’s church family is about as diverse as anyone could wish. The church is one of the few places, in this immensely varied London Borough, where people meet on equal terms with a common aim.
St Andrews is Grade II listed and was constructed in 1852-1854 to the competition winning designs of Francis B Newman and John Johnson. The building is of Snecked Kentish Ragstone, with bath stone dressings and an ashlar spire. The roof is slate with fish scale patterning. Another is Holy Trinity, now known as the Cloudesley Centre. The church is Grade II* listed and was built in 1829 by Sir Charles Barry, architect of the Houses of Parliament. The building has a strong Tudor Gothic architectural style, one of the best early examples, with grey brick, stone dressings and slate roof. It is an iconic building of national significance.
St Andrew`s serves as a local parish church. The area has faced many changes over the years, with houses that date back to the 1800s and earlier, plus 1960s estates, and recent new developments; but the church has been a constant for 167 years and is rooted in Barnsbury and the Caledonian Road. You can hardly turn on the TV without seeing some part of Barnsbury featuring in dramas or sitcoms or TV ads using the elegant local Georgian architecture. But the reality can be a bit different.
It is an amazing community! There can be few parishes which cross as many divides, socially, ethnically, and culturally. The church’s website pulls no punches when it says that development in the 1960s ‘left the parish polarised, the very wealthy on the east of Caledonian Road; serious social marginalisation on the west.’ That tension is lessening thanks to new developments, but it is still felt by some.
Church on the Corner (COTC) was planted from within the parish in 1994. The church meets in an old pub building which the parish bought. It has been part of the Barnsbury Team Ministry for 25 years.