A little about our history
In 1899, out of ‘Clerkenwell Detached’, a small portion of the Parish of St James and St John, situated in Muswell hill, an application was made to Bishop of Islington for more ecclesiastical provision for the thousand inhabitants. The parish was formed and the then curate of St Mark’s, Noel Park - The Rev Martin O Blakelock was made Mission Priest.
Worship began in a little Swiss chalet, called the Norwegian House, situated at what is now the junction of Alexandra Park Road and The Avenue and the opening service was held on 20th October 1899 led by the Bishop of Islington and supported by the choir of St Mark’s. On the following Sunday, fifteen communicants were present for Holy Communion.
On the 5th July 1900, it was decided that a temporary building should be erected on the site which had been purchased for a permanent church by the Bishop of London’s fund. An iron structure was erected at a cost of £800.
On the 15th November 1900, the last service was held in Norwegian House. After evensong the altar was carried up to the new church by members of the congregation with the new temporary church dedicated the following St Andrew’s Day (30th Nov).
In March 1901 the mission district, as it had been, was formed into a separate ecclesiastical parish by Order in Council and Rev Blakelock became the first Vicar. The appointment was a Crown appointment and among the first of those made by King Edward after his accession.
On the 21st November 1901, J.S Alder was selected as the architect. A plan prepared by him for a church with capacity of 800 at a cost of £8000 was approved.
On the 11th October 1902, the ceremony of the ‘turning of the first sod’ took place. The spade was handed to C.C Smith, one of the first members of the congregation. The stone laid here can still be seen today in the alleyway between the hall and the church.
On the 13th January 1903, the Bishop of Islington laid the foundation stone.
On the 31st October 1903, the consecration of the building by Bishop of London took place. The motto he suggested for the church in his sermon was - ‘in your patience possess ye your souls’ (Luke 21:19).
By 1904 the population of the parish had reached 4,400. It stands at approximately 12,000 today.
On 19th February 1944 the church was struck with fire bombs from an enemy aeroplane. Only the walls and the belfry survived. By 1957 the Church had been rebuilt with many of the original features retained.
You can see and read much more about the history of St Andrew’s on our display in church. Please get in touch if you would like to view more of our historical archive.