On January 31st 1879, a drawing of St Michael & All Angels Church, designed by the great Victorian architect Richard Norman Shaw, was published in The Building News (above). The paper’s editor was Maurice Adams, another Bedford Park architect and one of the first churchwardens at St Michael’s. The picture was donated to the church by journalist and former Bedford Park resident Michael White. The present church’s foundation stone was laid on May 31st, 1879 and the building was consecrated by the Bishop of London the following year, on April 17th 1880 (see notice from the consecration service, below right).
See 140 Years Serving Christ in the Community and Chiswickbuzz interview with the Vicar Fr Kevin Morris.
To mark its anniversary, St Michael & All Angels has been seeking more volunteers and donations for its arts, charity and community activities. For more than 50 years, it has organised the Bedford Park Festival and Green Days weekend – and it will be celebrating the 140th anniversary of its consecration at this year’s ‘virtual’ Festival, which runs from June 12th to June 28th 2020.
St Michael’s also runs the Chiswick Book Festival, as part of its outreach in the community.
At the start of the anniversary celebrations, in January 2019, three reading charities received £3,000 each from the Festival, following the event’s record ticket sales last autumn. Fundraisers from RNIB Talking Books, InterAct Stroke Support and Doorstep Library were presented with cheques at St Michael & All Angels by the Festival director Torin Douglas.
“St Michael’s has been at the heart of the community for 140 years, not least through events such as the Bedford Park Festival and the Chiswick Book Festival” said Torin Douglas. “These cheques represent just part of the money the church raises each year for charities, supported by local residents and local businesses.”
Krista Dixon, Area Fundraising Manager London, for RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People), said: “This donation of £3,000 is fantastic news at the start of the year. Like the previous gifts from the Chiswick Book Festival, it will go towards the recording of one of our Talking Books, which give free access to over 25,000 fiction and non fiction books for adults and children.”
Nirjay Mahindru, chief executive of InterAct Stroke Support, which employs actors to read to stroke patients in Charing Cross Hospital, said: “The donation is effectively 100 two-hour sessions of our work paid for at Charing Cross. We cannot thank the wonderful book festival enough.”
Judah Urch-Grear, Fundraising Officer for Doorstep Library, which brings the magic of reading into the homes of families in disadvantaged areas of London, said: “It is wonderful news. The book festival is clearly going from strength to strength and we are delighted to be a part of it.”
A year later, in January 2020, three cheques for £5,000 each were presented to the Chiswick Book Festival’s three charities.