St James Sussex Gardens

St James is a glorious Victorian parish church, rich in original stained glass, monuments and fittings, and home to a lively and active community.

About this church

Although the parish of Paddington is medieval, a church was first built on this site in 1843. It was substantially rebuilt by the illustrious Victorian architect GE Street, in a neo Gothic style of unusual and generous breadth.

The walls are clad in inlaid marble, and almost every window is stained glass. In the chancel, the highly ornate and partially guilded High Altar stands in front of a marble reredos carving of the Last Supper, and inlaid marble panels depicting biblical plants and flowers. The font and pulpit are fine examples of marble sculpture.

After bomb damage destroyed the orignal baptistry window, a striking new window was installed in 1955 as a memorial to those who died in the Battle of Britain. It was designed by Arthur Buss and depicts the Te Deum; it also includes some local scenes and references to well known people connected with the church or parish: Robert Baden Powell, who was baptised at St James's; the statue of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens (JM Barrie lived locally); and Alexander Fleming, whose discovery of penicillin happened at nearby St Mary's Hospital. In the last few years, a plaque has been installed near the entrance of the church commemorating the marriage here in 1884 of Constance Lloyd to Oscar Wilde.

In recent years the church was reordered and a modern nave sanctuary was constructed, at whose heart is a large square wooden altar, lit from beneath (the church and its interior is especially atmospheric after daylight has faded).

Key Features

  • Captivating architecture
  • Spectacular stained glass
  • Magnificent memorials
  • Glorious furnishings
  • Enchanting atmosphere
  • Social heritage stories
  • National heritage here
  • Famous connections

Visitors information

  • Level access to the main areas
  • On street parking at church
  • Parking within 250m
  • Accessible toilets nearby
  • Dog friendly
  • Walkers & cyclists welcome
  • Space to secure your bike

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