Remembrance – St Martin’s Church London 2015

opened by Michael Palin

Over 70 artists are showing work with the theme REMEMBRANCE to help raise funds to pay for vital restoration of St Martin’s Gospel Oak, which remains a beacon of life and hope in one of the most deprived parts of London, since its foundation 150 years ago.  By exhibiting my sculpture ‘Regeneration’, along with several acquatint monoprints, I was pleased to mark the centenary of World War I, and acknowledge remembrance in the widest sense of the word.

Cell Form II - Embossed Aquatint
Cell Form II – Embossed Aquatint – 2015

Over 70 professional artists taking part, including a number of Royal Academicians; Eileen Cooper, Stephen Cox, Diana Armfield, Anne Desmet, along with many well-known names in the Art World such as Maggi Hambling CBE, Craig Murray Orr, MaryAnne Aytoun-Ellis, Charles MacCarthy, Lucy Jones, Olivia Musgrave and many others.

Michael Palin and Reverend Chris Brice at St. Martins
Michael Palin and Reverend Chris Brice at St. Martins

St Martin’s Gospel Oak was built in 1865 by the architect Edward Buckton Lamb.  It is a grade 1 listed building, described by Nicholas Pevsner as the ‘craziest of London’s Victorian churches’ with its Gothic pinnacles giving the appearance of a fairy-tale castle.

St Martin’s, like so many churches, is desperately short of money for repairs. It is a centre for community activities in an area which has suffered the worst ravages of social breakdown and is an inspiring haven within a landscape of blighted post-war architecture. The Church was recently shortlisted for Historic England’s ‘Angel Awards’ after the restoration of the tower to its original glory, but there is much more to be done in the main body of the church particularly to the windows and walls.

It is also of interest to note that the Rev Chris Brice and volunteers do important work in the parish, not just to raise restoration funds but also to help refugees, housing the homeless and many other outreach projects in the community.