Postcard of the month - #82 - March 2007
St James the Great Church Bethnal Green Road
St James the
was dedicated on 4th June 1844. The
designer was Edward Blore who used red brick and stone dressing for the
Church. This gave rise to its
local nickname the “Red Church”. The
bus stop outside the Church was also called the “Red Church”. The Church could seat 600 with ease. Added, over the years, at the rear, were the Church Institute
and caretaker cottages.
In its early years a leaking roof
led to serious damage to the structure and the Church was closed.
After major restoration work, St
James the Great Church, now a High Church with Catholic influences,
opened again in 1896.
From 1852, the Vicars of St James the Great Church married couples without charge.
This act of generosity enabled couples, who could not afford it, to
have a Church wedding, thereby helping them keep faith with Christian
teachings. After the service
the Bride and Groom received a loaf of bread and a six pence piece.
This was to help them at the start of their married life.
In the 1970s weddings were still free although couples no longer
received the loaf of bread or the six pence piece!
To the left of the Church is the printers and
publishers J S Forsaith and
Son. The Firm had commenced
trading in 1834 at 86 Church Street, Bethnal Green.
Four years later they moved to the present site at 327 Bethnal Green
Road, then a private house. Expansion
over the years followed: first at Pollard Row then later at Valence Road.
In 1934 the Firm celebrated 100 years' existence and survived until
the late 1950s. The house has
gone and the site empty.
St James the Great Church survived the Second World War but the Institute and building at the rear received some bomb damage. In April 1984 the Church closed and it was converted into flats in 1991.
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