Thurland Road

Yesterday & Today
How we lived then & How we live now
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bermondseyboy
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Re: St. James's church

Postby bermondseyboy » Wed Jan 25, 2017 7:02 pm

Posted by ianmartin

Thanks all, for your kind comments! I just feel that so much of what I remember about the area, just isn't there any longer, and I don't mean bombsites or derelict buildings, I realise progress has to take place, but not at the expense of peoples perfectly good homes and communities. There is nothing left now of all the houses and flats that any of my family ever lived in, in Bermondsey, even most of the roads aren't there now, and we're not talking bomb damage here now, it's town planning (or lack of). The slide just seemed to sum it up, it was given to the people of Bermondsey by a Bermondsey business of great repute for their recreation and leisure. How is it then the council's decision to take it away without consulting Peek Freans, St James's Church, and the local electorate first...............of course, they may well have done, I wasn't around at the time, so I don't know for sure.......but I wouldn't mind betting they didn't, or if they did it was probably a short word lost in the back pages of the local rag that would more likely get missed.............sorry, I'm getting cynical now!!

Somebody out there knows something, if we all shout loud enough they might just hear?

Good night all!!

All the best to you

Ian

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bermondseyboy
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Re: St. James's church

Postby bermondseyboy » Wed Jan 25, 2017 7:08 pm

Posted by freddie

bermondseyboy wrote:Posted by ianmartin

The slide just seemed to sum it up, it was given to the people of Bermondsey by a Bermondsey business of great repute for their recreation and leisure. How is it then the council's decision to take it away without consulting Peek Freans, St James's Church, and the local electorate

Ian


The one obvious point you have missed which has been mentioned in other threads about the covered slide was that it was twice set fire to and generally destroyed by (probably) local youths (albeit now Southwark rather than Bermondsey).

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bermondseyboy
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Re: St. James's church

Postby bermondseyboy » Wed Jan 25, 2017 7:09 pm

Posted by ianmartin

Hi Freddie

So, was it destroyed by fire then? When was that? Do you know?

regards

Ian

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Re: St. James's church

Postby bermondseyboy » Wed Jan 25, 2017 7:16 pm

Posted by deegs

St James church filming1.jpg
Ian's photo of part of a film-set in the churchyard jogged my memory of some photo's my Mum & Dad had taken. They're not the greatest (though not bad by their standards!), but show the Church being used as a film-set for what looks like a Georgian period drama. Unfortunately, you can't see the slide.

I've also added this photo from about 1986/7, which shows the Church before it was hemmed in by all the recent 'regeneration' apartments. What's most interesting is the newly planted London Plane trees that now look so mature on Jamaica Road.
St James church filming2.jpg

St James church filming3.jpg

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bermondseyboy
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Re: St. James's church

Postby bermondseyboy » Wed Jan 25, 2017 7:17 pm

Posted by deegs

Ian - I've just seen your post on the Films Shot In Bermondsey. Great photo's - just wished I'd read it before I posted mine!

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Re: St. James's church

Postby bermondseyboy » Wed Jan 25, 2017 7:18 pm

Posted by bermondseygal

Nice pics deegs...thanx for sharing!

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Re: St. James's church

Postby bermondseyboy » Wed Jan 25, 2017 7:20 pm

Posted by ianmartin

st james1.jpg
Deegs

They're great photo's, gives more of a local's perspective on what was happening at that time, plus the weather looks better too! I'd have thought we might have seen the slide lurking in no 2, perhaps it got taken down some time during the shooting, or perhaps it's just obscured?

I see what you mean about the trees etc, in no3!

Here's one I took the other week, similar view! The trees have grown a bit!

All the best

Ian

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Re: St. James's church

Postby bermondseyboy » Wed Jan 25, 2017 7:21 pm

Posted by bermondseygal

Great pic Ian...love the dark and light clouds over the church!

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Re: St. James's church

Postby bermondseyboy » Wed Jan 25, 2017 7:25 pm

Posted by ianmartin

You probably all think I am obsessed with St. James's Church, but it spans many generations, I mentioned before, it must be one of the most iconic, and enduring buildings in Bermondsey. It escaped the Luftwaffe, and, so far, touch wood, has escaped the town planners knife.

It nearly may not have been quite so fortunate though, I vaguely remember it being closed down when I was a lad, although I didn't pay much attention back then, and although I was christened there, I wasn't, and still aren't much of a church-goer!

I found this little piece of history the other day which puts all of those old memories into perspective, I hope I'm not repeating anything already on this site, I have looked, and do read everything with interest:-

Closure … and restoration

After the 1939-45 war, the crumbling fabric of the church was causing concern. Then the blow fell. On 17th February 1961 the insurance company refused to give cover in case of injury from falling masonry, and the church had to be closed forthwith; weddings booked for the next day had to go to St Crispin’s, and this state of things continued for more than five years. A wire fence was erected round the church and services were held regularly in the parish room in St James’ Road (now home to the Headstart project), where the east end was curtained off and provided with a holy table and a reading desk.


In spite of difficulties, numbers kept up and, in fact, grew, so that when there was a baptism or a church parade it was a case of standing-room only. Every possible means was tried to ascertain what the future was to be. In 1962 the Historic Churches Preservation Trust promised £500 towards the cost of the church restoration.


On 12th March 1963, the Parochial Church Council wrote to the bishop expressing the concern of the P.C.C. that some decision should be made as to the future of the church. He replied that he was willing to come and discuss the matter to try to come to a common mind about the church. This meeting was to be on Friday, 12th July.


There were now many suggestions as to whether the church could be demolished or whether a smaller church could be built on a nearby site. There appeared to be no alternative to demolition. But behind all our thoughts and prayers God was working his purpose out. Sir John Betjeman walked down Jamaica Road and saw the derelict church : he went to his friend Mr Ivor Bulmer-Thomas, Honorary Director of the Friends of Friendless Churches, and said that here was a friendless church that must be saved. He said “Of all the churches built in London by the Waterloo Commission, it is the finest, the most original and the most impressive”.


A letter was received from Mr Bulmer-Thomas offering to restore the church, saying that the Friends of Friendless Churches would not expect any financial help from the P.C.C. Soon we were meeting with ‘all the powers that be’ – architects, builders and, always, Mr Bulmer-Thomas. First the fabric was repaired – roof and gutters, walls and windows, scaffolding covered the spire and the dragon was repainted. Then the south aisle was redecorated and screened from the main part. At the same time an agreement was signed leasing the north aisle to the RAF/ATC Squadron as lecture rooms and training centre as from 24.6.65. This part was likewise screened from the nave – there were connecting doors on either side.


Despite this partial restoration, the structure of the church continued to be in a very poor condition, and in the 1980s a development appeal was launched, based on a three phase restoration proposal. The first two phases were principally concerned with the roof and stonework, and these have been completed. Since 1995 we have concentrated on the interior of the building.


Further stages include:

· Redecorating, rewiring and reordering the ground floor, including new heating.

· Upgrading the crypt into effective useable space.

· Restoring the famous Bishop organ (for which heritage funding has been offered, and the parish is currently raising the balance).

· Adding two further bells (to restore the ring to its original ten).

· Restoring the churchyard (the responsibility of the London Borough of Southwark)


I'm not sure when this was written, but on a recent visit, I can confirm, to those of you not living in Bermondsey now, the Church and Yard have since been transformed.

All the best

Ian

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Re: St. James's church

Postby bermondseyboy » Wed Jan 25, 2017 7:30 pm

Posted by ianmartin

st james inside.jpg

Before I visited St. James's Church recently I knew very little about it, other than my childhood memories. When I joined this marvellous forum I naturally learned a great deal more. My Mum grew up in Bermondsey and always lived very close to the Church, her primary school was St. James's before she went to Bermondsey Central, she was married in the Church in 1954. A couple of days before my visit she rang me to say, if you're taking your camera, and the beautiful big picture is still in there, make sure you get a shot, she continued to tell me how lovely the picture was, I must have seen it when I was young, but had obviously forgotten.

Well, when I saw it I realised what she was trying to convey, and I'm sure, a lot of you reading this will already know what I am talking about. If you don't, and you are able to visit, then go and have a look, it is beautiful, I did take some photos, of course they don't really do it justice:-

it is called, for those of you that don't know, The Picture Of The Ascension, and comes with a very interesting story:-

On his death, one of the Church founders left £500 in his will for a painting of The Ascension to be placed over the communion table. The executors decided to make this the prize in a competition for the “winning” artist. They put an ad in The Times (as you do) inviting artists to submit their sketches, the commission to be awarded to the selected sketch. The original ad read as follows:-

TO ARTISTS:- The TRUSTEES of ST. JAMES’S CHURCH, BERMONDSEY, SURREY, desire to make public that a Legacy of £500 has been bequeathed by the late John Harcourt, Esq., for the purchase of an appropriate SCRIPTURE PAINTING to be placed in the recess over the Communion Table of that Church; and no appropriate painting having been found, the Trustees are prepared to receive finished sketches of a Painting from Artists who may be disposed to prepare them, upon the understanding that the Artist whose production is selected would be engaged to paint a Picture, and be paid the said Legacy of £500, provided (as required by the Testator) that two persons of competent judgment and knowledge shall pronounce it to be of that value.
The sketch is to be 36 inches in height by 17 inches in width. The Subject is to be the ASCENSION OF OUR SAVIOUR. The painting to have a frame to be provided by the Trustees and with such frame to be of the following size- viz. 11 feet in width by 23 feet in height.
The sketches to be sent without the name of the artist but with some motto or initials, for the inspection of the Trustees, at the Committee room of the Workhouse, in Russell Street, by Wednesday the 4th of December next.
The person selected to undertake to complete by Mid-summer day 1846; and if not completed by that date, the arrangement to be considered to be null and void. By order of the Trustees, Sept., 1844.
B. and G. DREW, Clerks.

73 sketches were submitted, all anonymous, but after the final selection it turned out that 15 were “famous” artists, yet the “winner” was an unknown by the name of John Wood, he fulfilled the requirements earlier than challenged and it is his work that hangs on the eastern wall of St. James’s Church today, restored in 1971, had it not been for Sir John Betjeman, who knows where it would be hanging now?



I wonder how much it would cost to place the ad now?!



All the best



Ian


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