GreaterLondonBERMONDSEYStJames(paulfarmerCC-BY-SA2.0)1 PaulFarmer

St James

The great west doors of St James's church have been wide open to the people of Bermondsey since 1829.

Bermondsey, Greater London

Opening times

The church is open to visitors on Weekday mornings from 10am to 1pm, on Saturdays 11am to 1pm; and on Sundays from 9.30am to 4.30pm.


Thurland Road
Greater London
SE16 4AA

Travellers through Bermondsey all know St James as a landmark.

In 1724 at the Bishop's Visitation, it was recorded 'in Bermondsey there are 9,000 people. The only houses were along Bermondsey Wall, predominantly wealthy merchants magnificent houses. However, by 1710 there were enough poor people living here for it to be necessary to provide a workhouse for 50 people.

In the 18th century ropemakers settled here and in Bevington Street, Farncombe Street and New Church Street (later called Llewelyn Street) ropewalks were established and houses sprang up. As late as 1870/80 there was a local farm.

After Waterloo in 1818 an Act of Parliament was passed to raise a million pounds as a national thank offering for peace, and as a memorial to the soldiers who had fallen. South London secured seven of the Waterloo Churches and, through the persistence of a group of Bermondsey churchmen, the needs of our area were pressed. In 1821 they bought the land which forms our churchyard and secured a generous grant from the Commissioners of the Fund.

James Savage, the architect, modelled the church on that of Greek Temples with galleries round three sides and the organ in the west. Sir John Betjeman declared that St James is the finest church built by the Waterloo Churches Commissioners.

The lectern and pulpit were built very high to keep the minister in touch with the galleries. A glorious peal of 10 bells was cast by the famous foundry of Mears of Whitechapel, from cannon left behind by Napoleon at Waterloo.

  • Spectacular stained glass

  • Social heritage stories

  • National heritage here

  • Glorious furnishings

  • Fascinating churchyard

  • Famous connections

  • Enchanting atmosphere

  • Captivating architecture

  • Walkers & cyclists welcome

  • Train station within 250m

  • Space to secure your bike

  • Parking within 250m

  • On street parking at church

  • Level access to the main areas

  • Dog friendly

  • Café within 500m

  • Bus stop within 100m

  • Accessible toilets nearby

  • Church of England

Contact information

Other nearby churches

Most Holy Trinity

Dockhead, Greater London

Dockhead has claims to be the oldest mission in the Archdiocese, having been established in 1773 in a chapel which was destroyed in the Gordon riots of 1780.

St Mary the Virgin

Rotherhithe, Greater London

Christians have worshipped on this site for at least 1000 years and Roman bricks have been found on the site of the church which indicates that it may have been built on an earlier Roman building.

Finnish Church in London

Rotherhithe, Greater London

The church is full of stories about people getting help, meeting long lost friends and experiencing the miraculous effects of sauna.