Union Chapel, just south of Highbury Corner in Compton Terrace, on the east side of Upper Street is one of Islington's most important buildings. The main Chapel is a Grade I listed building, with the rear of the building being Grade II* listed.
The present building is a magnificent example of Victorian gothic architecture and displays many features which were at the cutting edge of technological advance in their day, including a fine "Father Willis" organ, still in its original condition. It is also notable for its adventurous auditorium design on an octagonal ground plan, in accordance with its architect's ideas set out in his book Church Design for Congregations. The congregation first gathered in 1799 in a house in Highbury Grove as a Union of evangelical Anglicans and non-conformists, and moved to the previous building on the present site in 1806. It is a major London landmark. It was designed by James Cubitt and completed in 1877, the 170 foot tower being completed in 1889.
Union Chapel is today a working church, an award winning venue and a centre for those homeless and in crisis in London.
In 1991, Union Chapel Project was formed as a charity devoted to restoring and running the building and making its facilities available to a diverse group of people. It has become an award winning music venue, regarded as one of the best places in London to experience live music. The aim of the project is to place the arts and creativity at the heart of Union Chapel and to increase access and inclusive involvement in the performing arts. It offers an independent, nonprofit making, naturally chilled-out environment, in which to experence the ultimate fusion of atmospheric high gothic surounding while enjoying your favorite artists. Most recently Union Chapel was voted by Time Out London readers London's No.1 Live Music Venue.
Union Chapel is a Congregational Church with a worshipping community which meets on a Sunday and Wednesday for worship and during the week for Bible study and prayer.
The Margins Project runs a drop-in centre at the Union Chapel for the homeless and people in crisis. It provides services and facilities to help maintain basic human needs; food, shelter, health and social place to meet. The project also runs an innovative training cafe and a successfull Arts programme.
"The Friends of Union Chapel" was set up in 1980. It aims to help restore and preserve the premises of Union Chapel and to initiate and promote in the building a variety of activities in response to the needs of the local and wider community. Friends are kept informed of events and developments by newsletters and meetings.