St James Church
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Mon-Sat 13:00 - 14:30
Recommended Reviews for St James Church
11 reviews in English
Review from David J.
- 2 friends
St James's is a famous landmark on Piccadilly, and an excellent of the work of Sir Christopher Wren.
The church was built in 1872-84 on land set aside by the Earl of St Albans, to serve the growing population of the area after the laying out of St James's Square. Wren's designs had made provision for a steeple (tower and spire) at the west end, which turned into something of a saga, as the foundations were inadequate and cracks appeared as the original spire were being added. After remedial work, settlement stopped, but not until the original spire had been taken down and replaced.
The church had only relatively minor alterations and restorations in the succeeding years, but was badly damaged by bombing in May 1940, when incendiaries burned the roof. Fortunately, some of the best fittings (including carvings by Grinling Gibbons, and the organ) had been specially protected. It was restored in 1947-54, although the tower was reduced in height.
The church is of brick with Portland stone dressings, with large round-headed windows. The interior is whitewashed with the decorative plasterwork picked out in gold. The nave has galleries on three sides, with a barrel-vaulted roof supported on Corinthian columns, with side vaults for the windows.
The celebrated reredos has carvings by Grinling Gibbons. The font installed in 1686 is also attributed to Grinling Gibbons, and has a stem representing the Tree of Knowledge (complete with snake) and the figures of Adam and Eve either side. William Blake as baptised in the font in 1757.
The church has a wide reputation for social justice and inclusion with daily services. It is also a popular concert venue. There is a small but tranquil church garden to the west of the tower, and the forecourt has been home to a market since 1981, with food, antiques and crafts sold on different days.
Review from Karen F.
- 15 friends
Just a little add on to the already fabulous reviews that the christmasy feature they have are the lunchtime recitals starting at 1.10pm everyday. Features Rachmaninov and more with a donation of £3.00 suggested. But otherwise its 'free'.
Its a classic example of the Church being a dominant leader of society in the many years before us. They do have their ways to inspire one and all.
Review from Hannah R.
- 34 friends
San Francisco, USA
Four score and many years ago, this church was founded by some fathers. Abe Lincoln was probably not among them. Bu this church was founded anyway. And now, many score and, say, 9 years after the momentous construction of this church, I went for a visit.
Sometimes historical churches have something that make them stand out, like a pumpkin stuck on their steeple, or a resident ghost, or a red and yellow striped jacket. This church was pretty normal for a church - nave, but no navel, organ, stained glass windows. Nothing that made me say "Hot potato!" or "Wow!" or "Have you seen my canoe?" It's a pretty place, yeah, nice and historic too, but not as impressive as some of the other religious institutional buildings in the city, like Big Ben. Did you know that there's a cult which is founded on the worship of Big Ben? Every time the clock strikes, people drop what their doing and dance the fox trot.
The church has concerts, which is always neat - something that I enjoy in principle very much. Why not stop in and learn some of the church's history if you're passing by (which you'll probably do at some point considering it's central location). Enjoy yourself some pretty organ pipes and then go buy a real pipe at the market in the church yard.
Review from Qype User (Sian…)
- 415 friends
- Qype User Sian…
I've never reviewed a church before. It does seem like a strange thing to review - I'm not religious. but I like this church and it always has a lot going on.
There's a market in the courtyard and I've bought some gorgeous stuff from there (including an antique bracelet watch for a fiver. That WORKED!) and they have some great wine glasses which I was lucky enough to get as a birthday present. (My housemate broke them two days later though grrrrr.)
The market is perfect size to wonder round in your lunch break. If you're looking for somewhere quiet to eat you lunch, walk past the cafe and you'll find a tiny little garden. This is my secret place. There's only ever around ten people in there and it's really cute. It's hard to find somewhere quiet and outside in this area so this place is perfect.
There's a strange little advice giving caravan in the corner too. Cute.
As for inside the church, they sell cards in there (see, loads of stuff going on!) and it seems pretty. They do afternoon concerts, but I confess, I sneak through the middle to get to the other side of the street and I don't spend much time in there no one seems to mind though.
So yeah, I like it. But don't ruin the garden with all your Qypey footprints
Review from Qype User (dapple…)
- 0 friends
- Qype User dapple…
fantastic setting for a market. The market is overlooked by st james's church, built by sir christopher wren. Not a large market, but very pleasant and friendly stall holders. A mix of english and goods from around the world. my favourite stall was the antique stall, st. james antiques. This lady has beautiful, quality selection of porcelain and sliver items, all sorts really, she has it. the other best stall for me was the russian stall, selling all original gifts from mother russia. Alex the russian chap was very intresting. i would recommend anyone to drop in and take a look. The market is open all the year round, but is at its best during the summer months.
Review from Qype User (Buzzbo…)
- 6 friends
- Qype User Buzzbo…
The market is quite small and intimate but a very nice addition to the whole area. The market stalls are set up in the front courtyard of the church which is completely different to what you have seen from the other markets.
The market is not sleazy and it is kept quite clean. There are only a few stalls but they do sell different things to each other. One stall even have homemade jewelry whilst another sells old pub signs and another does glasses made in Jerusalem.
I've bought quite a few things there over the last couple of years. I would recommend this market to anyone who's looking for a different type of gift, you will be amazed. trust me!
Oh, it's not the type of place you spend hours in so stop by and see for yourself. There are a lot of bus routes going past it, I think the No 9 stops there and the tube station is a two minute walk from there.
Review from Qype User (claudi…)
Review from Katie B.
Review from Melissa W.
- 28 friends
Piccadilly Market is just a smaller version of Camden Market, with the exact same stalls and merchandise. It is easier access for tourists to get a feel for a London Market without having to travel out of zone one. Please don't be a sucker and believe them when they tell you the paintings are originals and handmade. I was fooled once in Camden when I first moved to London, and I wouldn't want you making the same mistake. The market has typical "London souvenirs" knitwear, leather goods, and reproduced art work. Inside the church they sell Christmas cards where a percentage of the proceeds go to charity. If you happen by the market take a look but London has much better markets to offer, such as Portobello, Borough, and Spitalfields.
Review from Hannah B.
- 15 friends
I have never actually been into the church, but I am very familiar with the market at St James Piccadilly, and I love it.
The stalls here vary depending on what day you visit (antiques on Tuesday and arts and crafts Wednesday to Saturday) but they always have a really good selection of quality products from around the world, antiques, jewellery and ornaments.
I love the setting in this church courtyard with St James on one side and the busyness of Piccadilly on the other. The market is only small but well worth a look at.
Review from Diana B.