Podcast takes listeners on a walking tour of Stroud Green's musical heritage

Exterior of St Mellitus church in Tollington Park

Exterior of St Mellitus church in Tollington Park - Credit: Archant

An audio walking tour exploring Stroud Green's rich music heritage launches this week. (Feb 8)

The 35-minute podtour by Oonagh Gay and Susan Hahn of Islington Guided Walks takes in the restored organ at St Mellitus Church, the site of the legendary Rainbow Theatre in Finsbury Park, and musical memories from the Irish, African-Caribbean, and Greek Cypriot communities.

The self-guided tour is perfect to download for a daily lockdown walk or can be enjoyed from the comfort of an armchair.

The first stop is St Mellitus in Tollington Park where the Hunter memorial organ -  built to commemorate the men from the parish who fought in the Great War - has just been restored thanks to a National Lottery Heritage grant. The tour also visits the site of a piano factory, a former music hall, and studios belonging to the oldest independent record label in the world.

Listeners will learn of ‘jelly mould’ cinema organs, and memorable performances by the likes of Bowie, Bob Marley and The Clash at the Rainbow - now the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God.

1973, the year after the Bowie show: a crowd of screaming teenagers besiege the Rainbow Theatre in F

A crowd of screaming teenagers besiege the Rainbow Theatre in Finsbury Park in 1973, hoping to buy tickets for The Osmonds' concert in October. - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

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Local residents including Geri Caulfield, who saw The Pogues play at the now demolished Irish pub the Sir George Robey, Sarah White of the George Padmore Institute, which holds archives relating to Britain's black community, and Alice Georgeou, whose Greek Cypriot father ran a cafe on Hornsey Road, also share musical anecdotes.

The site of the former Sir George Robey/Powerhaus premises pictured after they were demolished in 20

The site of the former Sir George Robey pub in Seven Sisters Road Finsbury Park shortly after demolition in 2015. Run by the Mean Fiddler group as Powerhaus it hosted gigs by Bad Manners, Billy Bragg, Blur and The Pogues - Credit: Gwydion M. Williams

Oonagh Gay chair of Islington Guided Walks said: “Susan and I were delighted to help develop this podcast for St Mellitus, which showcases the rich and varied musical history of Stroud Green up to present day, reflecting the diverse community which lives there. Researching and recording the podcast was challenging during a pandemic but we hope the result will be a useful and entertaining resource.”

The podtour will be available on Spotify and iTunes or from February 8 from the project website https://stmellitusorgan.co.uk/pod-tours/

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