The Clowns’ Gallery- Museum’s History

Clowns International was formed as the Circus Clowns Club in 1946. Clowns started meeting at St. James’s Church (now part of Joseph Grimaldi Park), Pentonville Rd. Islington N1. the burial place of Joseph Grimaldi, to commemorate ‘the father of Clowning’ and in February to hold a memorial service.

In 1959, St. James’s was deconsecrated due to subsidence and a fire. The clowns then moved to their new spiritual home, Holy Trinity Church, Beechwood Rd. Dalston E8 Pictures and painting of clowns soon started appearing in a room behind the church and the Clowns’ Gallery was born. Over the years, it’s grown from strength to strength and now incorporates many costumes and props with loads of artefacts from the world of clowning and becoming a museum, gallery, archive and reference library on clowning.

In 2007 because of its size, the main museum was relocated and now forms part of the Wookey Hole complex in Wells, Somerset. Run by Gerry Cottle of Gerry Cottle’s Circus, and Vice President of Clowns International and is open all year.

The London Clowns’ Gallery – Museum, archive and reference library are housed at Holy Trinity Church and is open on the first Friday of the month –12 to 5pm.or by appointment. For more information about the Museums contact:     Museum Director, Mattie Faint on 020 7608 0312