Union Chapel Open Day 2023
28 July 2023
Walk within our walls on Saturday 9 September to discover our Grade I & II* buildings, unique organ, 200+ year legacy, and plans for the future in this unique day for all.
Discover what we do in the beautiful Victorian Gothic chapel, which is home to an inclusive church, an award winning live venue, one of the UK's finest organs, and The Margins Project for those in crisis in London.
Learn more and book free tickets below for our guided tours, family workshops learning to build & play an organ, organ recital, and film screenings.
SATURDAY 9 SEPTEMBER, 10am - 2.30pm
*Pre booking required - Free Tickets On Sale from 16th August*
Family Organ Building Workshops: Wooden One-octave Organ For Young Technologists
Explore the connections between music, science, engineering and technology. The WOOFYT makes these connections visible and audible, linking music in a simple and direct way with the physics of fluids and the technology of pumps and valves. This workshop is generously supported by the Institute of Physics.
10:00 - 11:00 Session 1 aimed at ages 7-10 Book | 11:15 - 12:15 Session 2 aimed at ages 11+ Book
Guided Tours led by the Friends of Union Chapel
Discover our legacy, future, community, and the stage that has hosted Amy Winehouse, Elthon John, Ed Sheeran, Adele, Mavis Staples, Damon Albarn, Olivia Coleman, Nick Cave, and more. Only 30 places available per slot!
10:00 - 11:15 Guided Tour Book
11:00 - 12:15 Guided Tour Book
13:00 - 14:15 Guided Tour Book
A lunchtime treat from Union Chapel's organ students from St Mary Magdalene School and their tutor and acclaimed concert organist Jeremiah Stephenson on the world-famous 1877 Willis organ powered by water hydraulics.
12:15 - 13:00 Book
Documentary Screening Organ Stops - Saving the King of Instruments
Watch James Dawson's feature film about the crisis facing Britain’s pipe organs. One step ahead of the bulldozers, a small band of enthusiasts is fighting to save precious instruments that were until recently the glory of their communities. Presented by restorer of historic organs Martin Renshaw.
13:15 - 14:00 Book
All this plus catch heritage films throughout the day for a behind-the-scenes of our Grade I and II* buildings.
Founded in 1799 by a group of ‘radical activist’ Nonconformist Christians, Union Chapel’s founding principal was to be a ‘Friend for All’. In 1991 Union Chapel Project charity was formed to preserve the building and open up the space to as many people as possible to enjoy, and to develop the building for cultural and community use. The next year, the space became a stage for live performance, beginning our journey to being one of the most beloved London music venues where you could see international stars, emerging talent, and experience the stunning acoustics fill with the sounds of all genres.
Love from open days past:
“So much more than you’d expect from a typical chapel”
“It really captures the essence of how special the chapel is and the wonderful hugely varied work”
“It really breathed life into the idea of Union Chapel to the children”
Got free tickets? Please consider donating to our organ.
Designed & built for Union Chapel’s size & acoustics in 1877 by master organ builder Henry “Father” Willis. Known to be one of his finest & registered as an instrument of importance by the British Institute of Organ Studies, it is one of few organs left in the UK with a fully working original hydraulic blowing system.
Our highly praised organ programme of education and performance provides opportunities for all ages and disadvantaged communities with a supported path from childhood to professional organ performance and composition of all genres.
Through free workshops, residencies, scholarships, lessons, tours, and our critically acclaimed festival Organ Reframed, our programme is world renowned for its innovative approach.
Please consider donating to support this work and to help maintain our unique & historic organ. Your donation can fund...
- £10 One primary school student place at an organ workshop.
- £15 A subsidised ticket for an organ recital or concert for someone who would otherwise miss out.
- £30 One free organ lesson for a local young person with a Royal College of Organists Accredited Teacher.
- £150 A month of organ maintenance and routine repairs.
- £250 An educational organ-building workshop for young people.
- £500 An organ masterclass for student composers.
Charity No. 1010166 | Company No. 3047257