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St James's Anglican Church
Sea Point, Cape Town, Western Cape

George RANSOME: Architect

Date:1898 : 1936 : 1938
Type:Anglican Church


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33°54'37.54" S 18°23'35.91" E Alt: 14m

In 1839 Greenpoint and Seapoint merged to become a single municipality. This and the growth of the English-speaking population after 1806 lead to a growing need for new places of worship and the first was the Round Church initiated by Saul Solomon in 1878.

It was at about this time that the first exclusively Anglican Church was built in an old brewery in what is now St James Road. (Now the Church Hall) The church was consecrated in 1873 but was soon found to be too small so in 1898 George Ransome was commissioned to design the new church and the foundation stone was laid and the church of St James the Great was dedicated in the same year.

The tower which contains a single bell was originally two storeys but was extended by a further two in 1938. Before that in 1936 the addition of the Chancel, vestries and the Lady Chapel was built. The font at the church entrance was carved in Florence from Carrara marble and was dedicated in 1899.

The church plan is of a long central nave with side aisles, transcript, crossing and sanctuary.

The stained glass windows are what brought me to St James in the first place as every window, and there are many, is a work of art and is truly beautiful.

(Robin Elam-Rye, Posted on Artefacts FB page courtesy of Cape Town: Then and Now, November 2023)

Books that reference St James's Anglican Church

Bakker, Karel A, Clarke, Nicholas J & Fisher, Roger C. 2014. Eclectic ZA Wilhelmiens : A shared Dutch built heritage in South Africa. Pretoria: Visual Books. pg 59
Radford, D. 1979. The architecture of the Western Cape, 1838-1901. A study of the impact of Victorian aesthetics and technology on South African architecture. Johannesburg: Unpublished Ph.D thesis. Dept of Arch. University of the Witwatersrand. pg 97, 127, 200
Walker, Michael. 2012. Early architects of Cape Town and their buildings (1820 - 1926) with postcard illustrations, The. St James: Michael Walker. pg 36-37