Saint James the Less, off the Vauxhall Bridge Road, is a gem of a Gothic revival church which 30 of our members were privileged to be shown around by the vicar Lis Goddard.

It was designed in the late 1850s down to the last detail by GE Street who was also responsible for the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand.  It is not only Grade 1 listed in its own right but the adjoining school is also Grade 1 and even the two sets of railings outside are separately listed as well.
It is unusual enough to look at from outside with its freestanding tower or campanile but inside it is a treasure trove of sculpted brickwork, tiles and stained glass windows with biblical narratives made by the celebrated Victorian firm Clayton and Bell.  It is difficult to believe that it was built in little more than two years. Funded by three sisters – Jane, Penelope and Mary – in honour of the memory of their father Bishop Henry Monk, which may help to explain why, highly unusually, there are depictions of eight women on the wall behind the high altar.  Another feature is a mosaic made of Venetian glass which replicated a mural, which had deteriorated, of the same scene by the celebrated painter GF Watts on the chancel arch.
Small wonder that this church has been praised to the skies by celebrated writers from Ian Nairn to Sir John Betjeman who helped to save it when it was threatened with demolition.  We are most grateful to Lis Goddard for sharing her extensive knowledge of the church with us.














 Tour of St James the Less church in Pimlico - September 2017