The Finnish Church
The Finnish Church grew out of The Finnish Seamen’s Mission – Suomen Merimieskirkko ry – which was established in 1875 to help and support Finns (mostly seafarers and migrant workers) who were experiencing problems during their time abroad. The first UK missionary was Elis Bergroth, who was posted to Grimsby and Hull in 1880, but soon moved to London on account of the greater volume of workers in the capital. The present church building – the only Merimieskirkko in the UK – dates from 1958 and is Grade-II listed.
The architect, Cyrill Mardall-Sjöström, first designed the building before the Second World War; however, by the time it could be built the original site – a plot in Southwark Park – was no longer available, so a new location was found in Rotherhithe, an area with existing Scandinavian and Nordic connections. The architecture is distinctively mid-century Modern, with none of the usual embellishments one might expect on an ecclesiastical structure. It is also unusual also for having a free-standing bell-tower, completely apart from the main building. Inside, the nave is a bright, airy space with unfussy décor, including a wood-lined ceiling and large, clear glass windows. Serving as a secular as much as a religious hub for Finnish expatriates, the building also features a shop, café and – most essentially for Finns – a sauna.
Stick in the Wheel
Stick in the Wheel are an acclaimed five-piece London folk band with East End heritage, headed by producer Ian Carter and Nicola Kearey.
Their debut album ‘From Here’ (2015) was fRoots magazine Album of the Year 2015 and a MOJO Folk Album of the Year, and group have been widely praised in the music press for their timely appraisal of folk, and in particularly, their skill in telling stories through song that help re-connect modern audiences to the past – drawing unexpected parallels between 21st-century lives and those lived centuries ago. ‘From Here’, for example, features tales of car-boot swindlers, lorry drivers and London rioters, alongside traditional songs of prisons, hammer-wielding blacksmiths and 18th-century madhouses.
Stick in the Wheel are famed for their incendiary live shows, Kearey’s uncompromising vocal delivery, and their sparse taut musical arrangements. The band also run the From Here Records label and undertake residencies and commissions such as ‘The Singing Bridge’ installation at the 2016 Totally Thames Festival.