Sunday, July 5, 2020

The Tin Tabernacle, and Reopening

This peculiar building, which I often pass on the bus in Kilburn, is made of corrugated sheets of metal and used to be a church. It's known as the "Tin Tabernacle" and dates back to 1863. In the 1920s it ceased being a place of worship, and was eventually taken over by the local chapter of the Sea Cadets, a sort of scouting organization. The interior was transformed to fit a nautical theme.

When Victorian England was booming, corrugated metal churches were apparently a thing. They could be erected quickly to serve a growing population, and the technology was relatively new. Apparently this is one of the last in London, but there are plenty of others around England.

As long as I've lived here, there's been a sign in the window saying they need £250,000. I think this dates back to a fund-raising campaign in 2010 meant to restore the building and update its electrical works. I have no idea whether than ever happened, but the Sea Cadets say on their web site that they now meet at St. Augustine's, a nearby church -- if that's any indication.

Yesterday was the big reopening day for our pubs and restaurants in the UK, and I went out on the high street around noon to see what was going on. The pub I consider our local, the Black Lion, still doesn't appear to be open. But many other places were, and people were sitting inside and out. I obviously didn't measure the space between them, but they seemed fairly close together.

I went into one restaurant where I've bought take-away fish in the past, and there were about 20 people inside. I was the only person wearing a mask. None of the servers and obviously none of the customers (who presumably were eating) were masked, and no one seemed at all concerned about maintaining any distance from me. So, on the plus side, they seem to be doing a good business, but on the minus side, I felt anxious and eager to get out of there.

Then I went to the grocery store, and again, I was one of just a few people who were masked. Masks have never caught on in this country, and they seem even less ubiquitous now.

We'll see how this goes! I hope our infection rates don't spike in the next few weeks.

I have a couple more Olga pics to share with you. The first is by Francisco, the dog walker, on one of their outings together...

...and then there's this one, which I took a few days ago on our walk along Billy Fury Way. Olga, who so often seems to be smiling and is even standing beneath smiley faces, appears more wary than anything.

We didn't do anything special for July 4. I heard a couple of pops and cracks last night, as some of my fellow Yanks apparently set off fireworks here and there. But with that awful man in the White House I am not particularly feeling any national pride. If we throw him out in November, then I'll celebrate!


  1. The easing of the lockdown is most concerning. Would everybody co-operate if the government attempted to impose a strict second three month lockdown? I doubt it. Masks should be mandatory in several contexts.

  2. Thankfully masks will be mandatory in shops and the like from Friday here..the percentage wearing them varies widely even in Scotland.

    In Pembrokeshire there is the Tafarn Sinc (Zinc Tavern) which was still going strong..let's hope it can survive this.
    It was interesting seeing all sizes of buildings in NZ made of corrugated iron aka Wriggly Tin not just older ones, and plenty of new roofs as well.

  3. I don't get it. Masks are quite chic here on the north shore of Long Island. I don't go out much, but when I go to Total Wine (the liquor store version of Costco) for my pick-up, I see everyone wearing masks, and this is a huge shopping center that has a Walmart and a Costco and a Home Goods in it. Are there that many extroverts in the world that they must go out with bare faces?

    I wonder what it's like to be inside a corrugated iron building when it's raining.

  4. Let's hope we can celebrate in November...not feeling terribly celebratory at the moment either.

    Olga's look indicates that she might be getting a bit annoyed about being asked to smile so much...maybe she feels the same way as us about the state of the US. Smart dog.

  5. Glen and I were watching that rather dreadful show on Netflix last night starring the always-startled looking Phil and they were in Hampstead Health. I said, "Steve goes there all the time!" That was the best part of the show for me.
    Yes. It will be quite interesting to see what the covid numbers are like after this opening up for you guys. I hope it's a better situation than what happened here. Is happening here. There appears to be no end to either the stupidity or the spread.

  6. I am in central Florida, seems that only "old" people wear masks. Our state opened up and the Covid numbers have increased dramatically. I have breathing difficulties but I wear a mask - I know it isn't perfect protection but it is something. After all this time I don't understand why people aren't taking this seriously!?!?

  7. From 10th of July you will have to wear a mask to enter a shop in Scotland by law. I hope that as everyone will be wearing masks in shops more people will use them in other situations.

  8. I think people should be more careful when among other people. Olga looks great with all the colored smileys. Enjoy your day, hugs, Edna B.

  9. That sounds like a solid plan, throw him out and celebrate in November! I'd be concerned if the servers weren't wearing masks. So far, I haven't been inside any restaurant where the servers were not wearing masks. I haven't heard the news yet today to hear how the celebrations went last night. I hope people were smart enough to stay distant but, honestly I haven't seem much evidence of "smarts" around here.

  10. With the rise of cases here in California the opening of businesses quickly became the closing of businesses in seven very populated counties in the southern part of the state. The rules for the whole state are still strict about mask wearing. We are so glad to obey. No end in sight for that. What a time we are living in.

  11. what a cool building! I hope that it does not get torn down because it looks like a fancy SPAM can. I love it. Masks are hip here- fashion- and all are willing to wear them. Still no shops open but that is just fine. We have saved a lot of money during this shut down, though i have purchased a few Oddities online that I would not ordinarily buy.

    Any shot with Olga in it is always an attention getter, she is such a great little model. What Ms. MOON said about netflix Phil is hilarious- I also watched the one on Hamstead heath and thought of you, but Phil barely covered any ground at all, totally missed the mark, as usual. Weird show!

  12. If I were in some other country right now, I'd do my damndest to convince people I'm Canadian. When I think back to being in Europe when "W" was in office and being hesitant to admit being an American, it's to laugh.
    Does Olga identify as a Yank or a Brit?

    Amazing building - that's one I'd love to see in person. Do you think the hymns once sung there reverberated against all that tin?

  13. never seen a tin clad church before. there a barn that we call the quilted barn down the road a ways. it's clad in those old decorative tin squares that ceilings in old buildings used to have.

    we haven't put our flag out since Trump was given the presidency. I do not care for the America he has turned it into.

  14. I wonder what a service would be like in that church during a heavy rainstorm.

    Don't feel alone. Masks have not caught on in my area either and our infection rate continues to rise. I never go out without one. Mask, that is.

  15. I would love to see that tin clad church. I wonder, like Catalyst, what it would sound like in the church during a rainstorm.

    I don't go anywhere but doctor appts and haircuts at a trusted, completely compliant salon--temp checks, masks, sanitizing chairs and bowls each time. I have an immune-compromised system and a 87-year-old husband who has a pacemaker and is a diabetic. We don't mess around. People better have masks on where I am and go, or I will leave immediately and not patronize them again.

  16. Francisco focused on the flowers instead of Olga? Horrors! lol
    That tin church is interesting. I, too, wonder what a service in the rain might have been like.
    I don't understand why people (especially young people) don't get how infectious the virus is. Maybe they just don't care if they get it. A lot of younger ones don't think it will hit them hard and they don't seem to care about older or sicker people around them. I am getting a bit tired of reading the articles on the theme "I didn't believe the virus was a thing but I got it and now everyone needs to listen to me when I say 'it's a thing'..." My eyes roll like slot machines when I see those.

  17. Hi Steve, I came upon your blog when I was searching for random info about Camp Indian Head, (& saw your blog from 2017). I enjoyed reading your story, (I went there too), and was going reply with a comment but would prefer to email you personally. I clicked around on your page, but didn't see an email address...Let me know if I can send you my two cents about CIH. Thanks!

  18. YP: Yeah, once the cat's out of the bag, I don't think it's going in again. It seems what's happening here is very similar to what's happening in the states. Young people are frustrated at being locked up all this time and they've decided to bust out and celebrate their freedom, and if they catch the virus, so be it. They're not even thinking about the risks of passing it on.

    GZ: Interesting -- I didn't realize that rule was taking effect in Scotland. Why haven't we done something similar?!

    Vivian: Yeah, I bet it's loud in there, although hopefully it has some insulation! Masks have not reached fashion status here. (Well, except for mine. Ha!)

    Mary: Olga is just like a little kid. She gets impatient easily, especially with things she doesn't understand!

    Ms Moon: Are you talking about Ricky Gervais' show, "After Life"? That's filmed in Hampstead. Apparently he lives there in real life.

    Cheryl: I KNOW! Wearing a mask seems like such a small thing, and if it makes even a tiny bit of difference, why not do it?!

    Jessica: It's so great that Scotland has passed that rule. I hope England follows suit! Why are we so behind the curve on this?!

    Edna: Absolutely! People seem to have abandoned even social distancing here. I think our numbers are going up.

    Sharon: Interesting. I was very surprised at how many people aren't wearing them.

    Robin: I think we're going to backslide too, but as YP said above, I wonder how many people will be willing to go back to lockdown after having a period of freedom? It may be harder to impose now.

    Linda Sue: I don't think I know what this Phil show is! I need to look it up!

    Marty: I'm not sure Olga identifies as either (ha!) but she is a Brit by birth. I never imagined, during George W. Bush's presidency, that we could ever wind up with someone WORSE.

    Ellen: We don't even own a flag! But if we did I wouldn't put it out either. It's terrible that we can't be proud of the country with this narcissistic imbecile in charge.

    Catalyst: Really?! That's surprising. After the infection rates went up in AZ I thought they'd catch on. People are a mystery.

    BethB: I wish everyone was that conscientious. I think young people feel invincible and don't understand why they're being made to curtail their activities. Trump, of course, has fed that impulse by falsely declaring that 99 percent of cases are inconsequential.

    Jenny-O: Yeah, young people in particular are just not seeing beyond themselves and their own outcomes. And the fact is, doctors don't know how this virus affects people long-term. It's definitely better NOT to get it!

    Anchorlady: Thanks for the comment! I have e-mailed you!

  19. I felt the same as you about this Independence Day (and last, and the year before, and the year before that).

    I've never seen a building like that church. I'm going to see if I can find photos of the interior. Fascinating.

    Again, I'm so glad masks are a legal requirement here. People! Ugh!