A pew and a pint

Pop-up pub, the St Barnabas Arms

The St Barnabas Arms and the volunteers who helped create it

Churches and pubs don’t make for an obvious union but that was exactly the pairing seen in Walthamstow this summer.

For one weekend, St Barnabas Church in Lansdowne Road converted its Stafford Hall into ‘The St Barnabas Arms’.

The pop-up pub was the brainchild of the church’s vicar, Canon Steven Saxby, as he sought to raise money for a restoration project.

He said: “Pop-ups are becoming increasingly popular in E17 and this was one way for us to connect with the changing demographic of the neighbourhood, raise the profile of the building, and raise some funds to smarten it up.”

With beer provided by Walthamstow’s Wild Card Brewery, Greek street food, and live music, the St Barnabas Arms helped raise £1,500 toward the church and its restoration of Stafford Hall.

The building is an iron-hut structure purchased and moved from Battersea in 1901 and used as a church while St Barnabas itself was under construction.

It then served as the church hall until 1927, until the Foster Hall was built next door, and was then used as a special school by the local council.

For the last 45 years it has been the home of a film club. Now the church is seeking to make more use of the building for its increased community activities.