St James’ Church, Islington
There is a little spot on one of my regular walks where I never seem to pause for long, and yet I’m always delighted to be there. It is St James’ Church in Islington.
It is a lovely little church surrounded by little gardens and lots of dogs visit there throughout the day.
The church actually has a very long name – St James’ with St Peter and St Philip – because it actually includes three different parishes. St Philip’s was demolished in 1954 because unfortunately no-one was showing up. And then St Peter’s was closed in 1981. And so everyone went to St James’.
It looks 13th century French gothic but it is actually a 19th century church. It is a sort of new church with a very long history.
The church is “related” to St Paul’s Cathedral, because St Paul’s Cathedral owned the spot on which it is built. But a very long time ago in the 16th century everyone got into a bit of an argument over real estate, architecture, and outfits. It’s all a bit beyond me, but the upshot was that St Paul’s Cathedral lost the land and the Clothworkers’ Company bought it instead. They built lots of housing in the area and then they built the church in 1875. And then 120 years later they opened a new church hall where they now have all sorts of community events, birthday parties, music therapy, ballroom dancing, and a whole bunch of other things.
Sometimes when we walk past we hear music, because they have lovely concerts at the church. And sometimes we see Fr. John outside chatting to people. He is a very friendly chap. I’m not sure how he feels about dogs, however, we have never got close enough to check. His outfits look like they might collect dog hair though.
Leo used to like visiting this churchyard because he could potter about in the garden. And Finnegan had some of his very first puppy walks there. Aubrey likes to see the squirrel. Huw refuses to leave the path in case he gets leaves in his hair. And Jeff likes making the pigeons fly. In fact, if you look closely in the photo below, the pigeon flying at the top looks just like an angel.
And I like St James’ because it is on the way to the park. Pausing isn’t one of my strong suits. But this week I decided to stop, look around, and smell the spring time.