Both Holy Trinity, Dalston, and All Saints, Haggerston, sit in the borough of Hackney, north east of the City of London.
Both churches were built in the mid-nineteenth century when the Hackney landscape was undergoing a period of significant change. The industrial revolution paved over farmland with factories and as the population of London and surrounding areas grew rapidly so did the need for new spaces to worship.
Holy Trinity was built by Ewan Christian in 1878–79. It is made of red brick, lancet-style and in crucifix shape when seen from the east. A central tower is the dominant external feature. Its screen is from St Philips, Dalston, a nearby church that was demolished in 1940 after suffering badly from bomb damage. Christian was architect of more than 2,000 building and restoration projects in his lifetime, many of them carried out for the Church of England.
All Saints was built slightly earlier, in 1855–56, by Philip Charles Hardwick, known principally as architect to the Bank of England (1856–83). A couple of years after the building’s completion, the aisles were extended and the upper galleries added to accommodate the burgeoning congregation.
Hackney was badly bomb-damaged following the Second World War and the high death toll of the conflict meant that the labour force here and across much of the United Kingdom was hugely reduced. When the British government offered citizenship to people from Commonwealth countries to help rebuild the country, many chose to settle in Hackney. The ‘Windrush generation’, as they became known, experienced many challenges adjusting to life in Hackney, not least institutional racism. But this generation’s perseverance and unwavering faith in Our Lord God has played a major part in the welcoming, vibrant and culturally rich community that has grown up around Holy Trinity and All Saints over the last forty years. The congregations of both parishes are made up of people who can trace their ancestry back to countries thousands of miles from Hackney; we celebrate and thank God for this diversity because it makes our community what it is today.
The two churches were united as one parish in 1997 as Rose-Hudson Wilkin became vicar. Our full legal name became ‘The United Benefice of Holy Trinity with St Philip’s Dalston and All Saints Haggerston.’ In 2010 Rose was made Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons and held both posts until 2014 when she took on the parish at St Mary-at-Hill in the City. Rose gave a huge amount to the community, shortly after becoming minister, she memorably mounted the roof of All Saints church in a bid to raise awareness of the lack of funding to fix the leaking roof. Rose has since become the first Black woman to be ordained a Bishop in the Church of England, she was consecrated as Bishop of Dover at St Pauls Cathedral in November 2019. We praise and thank her for her enormous contribution to our churches and her spiritual leadership.
An annual service in honour of Joseph Grimaldi (1778–1837) – the father of clowning – has been held at Holy Trinity since 1946. The service, which takes place the first Sunday in February, has led to the Church becoming known as ‘The Clowns’ Church’. We hold a number of special services and events throughout the year, from Men’s Fellowship services (founded in 2012), to summer BBQs and bring-and-buy sales. We even act as a water station for the Hackney half marathon held each year in May. We see our united church as a pillar of the Hackney community.
In 2018 we welcomed Laura Luz as reverend and continue under her compassionate and inspirational direction to worship as one parish. We began to use our shortened name “Trinity Saints” in 2019 reminding us that together we are “Trinity Saints: United to love”