Friends of Union Chapel

Friends of Union Chapel

The Friends of Union Chapel help restore and preserve Union Chapel and organise a variety of activities in the building

Founded in 1981 in response to the attempt to demolish Union Chapel, we have been working ever since to help preserve this Grade 1 and Grade 2* listed building and welcome new members to join us in

  • building our community of heritage and architecture lovers
  • archiving the last 200+ years of artifacts and ephemera of the radical Union Chapel Church and community work alongside its past 30+ years as a live venue and social justice charity
  • being hands-on for conservation of the historic buildings' traditional materials, gardens, and livelihood

Who We Are

The Friends are an independent, non-religious registered charity made up of a group of enthusiastic volunteers. Our members come from all sorts of backgrounds – many are local residents and all are lovers of heritage and architecture who work together to support the chapel.

What We Do

Workdays We hold working sessions throughout the year with the current focus being on Union Chapel’s collection of archive documents and ephemera.

Library & Archive Work The Friend’s Archive Group & Library Group is working towards cataloguing the Chapel’s extensive collection of papers, books and ephemera. We are aiming to find a sustainable future for this important archive as part of the Sunday School Stories Project. 

For more details, contact: [email protected]

Anyone can become a Friend of Union Chapel, we'd love for you to join us here

Receive regular newsletters, invitations to events of special interest and join our sessions

Annual subscription: £20 adult | £10 concessions | £35 Corporate/Family


Read the 2022-2023 Annual Report and AGM Minutes here.

Read the 2021-2022 Annual Report and AGM Minutes here.

Latest News

Autumn 2023

Friends were out in force leading guided tours and assisting Union Chapel Project and visitors at the bustling Open House and Heritage Open Day on Saturday 9 September in a true celebration of Union Chapel, heritage, legacy, and the organ.

Read the full Autumn 2023 Newsletter here, including information on works beginning in the Sunday School Hall uncovering a 120+ year old ventilation system, record high numbers of guests using The Margins Project's services, the Church's ongoing work with and for asylum seekers, a fascinating glimpse into Union Chapel's Victorian age in a recently discovered newspaper, and updates from The Gardening Group's activities.


August 2023 - Archive Working Group

Huge steps have been taken to sort the extensive archival library of Nonconformist Christian, British culture and politics books as well as copies of Union Chapel and Congregational hymnals and sheet music ready for the research by the Archivist, volunteers, and specialists. There was also focus on the installation of Rev William Hardy Harwood as Co-pastor with Dr Henry Allon in March 1892, material on social, educational, and religious activities at Union Chapel around 1890-1910 such as a newspaper clipping from The Islington News, March 1892, Church minutes, and the Union Chapel Magazine. Flashing forward to the late 20th century, posters of past live music and comedy events are being sorted.

Read full AWG August 2023 Newsletter here.


July 2023

The Gardening Group, a collaborative effort between members of the Friends, Union Chapel Church, and Union Chapel Project, have made huge progress in the maintenance and tidy of the courtyard and staff garden.

More than 80 bags of green waste, general waste and wooden logs were cleared out, bagged up, and removed or donatedThis has improved accessibility to the outside areas, and reduced some dampness in the toilet block wall.

The Friends have also re-discovered a climbing rose and re-potted specific plants, all of which appear to be thriving with the recent warm, sunny weather, and regular watering. The plants will continue to provide more colour in the Staff Garden and public Courtyard over the coming months.


Autumn 2022

Friends and Union Chapel Project come together to see some of the latest building repairs and maintenance work.

Cleaning trials of pew timber and Pulpit stone by specialist conservators, keeping up the maintenance of these traditional materials for all.

The collaborative Gardening Group was formed in April 2022, combining the efforts of members of the Church, Union Chapel Project, and the Friends. Left picture shows the hard work taking place in our courtyard, with chillies, roses, and other potted plants flourishing.


Read full Autumn 2022 Newsletter here




August 2022 - Archive Working Group

Leafing through the libraries in our Sunday School Hall to research and transcribe various history books, biographies, scrapbooks, personal notes, and articles that tell Union Chapel's story.

Read full August 2022 Archive Working Group Report here


Spring 2022

Archive Working Group cross referencing and transcribing the beautiful documents from Union Chapel's history.

Read full February 2022 Archive Working Group Report here 

Read full Spring 2022 Newsletter here


Committee 2022–2023
Chair - Richard Wallington
Secretary - Juliet Johnson
Treasurer - Jennifer Sharpley
George Allan, Vanessa Easlea, Kathryn Dixon, Andrew Gardner, and Rev Vaughan Jones (ex officio).

Registered Charity No. 288545

Contact us: [email protected] 

Fundraising & Annual Subscriptions

The Friends' support the restoration of the buiding and its use by the community, and many of the interests of the Friends are those of the UCP.

Donate and Pay Subscriptions Online

Banking Details:
Friends of Union Chapel
Islington Branch, 19-20 Upper Street, N1 0PL

Sort Code: 30-94-21 | Account Number: 01290961

Alternatively send a cheque made payable to: 
Friends of Union Chapel c/o Union Chapel Office, 19b Compton Terrace, Islington N1 2UN.