Open House was started in 1992 as a small, non-for-profit organisation to promote public awareness and appreciation of London’s design and architecture. The intention was to open up a great variety of the capital’s buildings to the public who don’t otherwise have access to most of them over one weekend in September. The concept has become so successful that it has spread to nearly 20 cities worldwide. For several years St Mary’s has been invited to take part and the weekend has usually coincided with our annual Fair.
We have a one-page self-guided tour round the main features of the church and Sven Tester gives guided tours as well as producing a marvellous display of his collection of pictures and historical maps of Battersea. This year the event coincided not only with the late summer Fair but with the Ministry Fair and some people who had come because of interest in architecture spent money on the stalls, studied the Ministry Fair displays and even joined in the community hymn-singing!
We try to keep a record of numbers, so we ask people if they have come because of Open House. This time the numbers were swelled by many people who had given up on the queue for the power station – we had a record-breaking 325 visitors over the two afternoons!