The clowns are back in town

Dig out your squirty flowers and polish your red nose - a memorial service with a difference is coming to Dalston and clowning around is mandatory.

Hundreds of clowns in full circus regalia from all over the world are preparing to descend on Dalston for the 73rd annual Grimaldi Service at Holy Trinity Church on Sunday February 3 (3pm).

The service is in memory of the legendary clown Joseph Grimaldi (1778-1837) who was just three-years-old when he made his debut performance at Sadler’s Wells. He went on to define the appearance and characteristics we associate with modern-day clowns.

Everyone’s welcome but get there early to avoid disappointment. It’s a surreal sight – many of the congregation will be wearing clown make-up, wigs and baggy trousers and you may even see pedal cars being driven up the nave!

The service first started in 1946 at the Chapel of Saint James on Pentonville Road but when it was deconsecrated in 1959 the service moved to the Holy Trinity Church. Clowns weren’t granted permission to wear their full costumes until 1967.