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Joseph Grimaldi Park

Home > London > Free | Parks | Places of Interest
by Mike Whyte (subscribe)
Published August 29th 2021
The resting place of the greatest clown of them all

A word of caution before you head out for this one - you really have to look for it to find it. Once in Angel, you should take a walk all the way through the market until you get to Pentonville Road. Just off here, you will find Joseph Grimaldi Park.

Now, be prepared, as it won't look like much at first, but once you get into the park, head for the southeast corner, and there you will find a burial site dedicated to Grimaldi.

Why is this of such importance? Well, without Grimaldi we probably wouldn't have had clowns - as he took the art of the harlequin or jester (as it originally used to be) and created the style and make-up that would influence the development of clowns as we know them today. His make-up, hair and costume are all easily recognisable with the modern-day clowns we see now. The influence can clearly be seen through the ceremony which is held every year at the Holy Trinity Church in Hackney, where hundreds of clown performers attend a service in full costume to honour the memory of Grimaldi.

Back to the park - if you look carefully, you will also find a coffin-shaped musical memorial made of bronze, which, if danced upon, will perform the tune most associated with Joseph Grimaldi "Hot Codlins".

So it may take a little effort on your behalf, but it is worth paying your respects to the Godfather of clowning, as a lot of what we know today can directly be linked back to him and his unique way of entertaining people.

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Why? Pay your respects to the Grandfather of clowning
When: Any time the park is open
Phone: n/a
Where: Joseph Grimaldi Park, off Pentonville Road, Islington, London
Cost: Free
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