Inspiring Anglican St. James Church, Kolkata (Calcutta), a colonial legacy

St. James'Church, Kolkata, WBYouTube
St. James'Church, Kolkata, WB.inspirock.comChurch
Built in Gothic style in 1868 by Walter B Granville,  the St. James'
Church with its twin  spires and pointed arches both on its interior and exteriors  is  one of the elegant churches in India.  Often referred to as "Joragirja." ( meaning twin church for its twin spires),  it is  on the Lower Circular Road (AJC Road.). Granville designed many famous colonial buildings in Calcutta, notable ones being Calcutta High Court and  GPO. The present Anglican church is a big one with slopping roof painted red and has nice garden outside. Inside, there are rows of narrow windows with stained class doors. The window glasses have intricate designs that are  quite appealing. Because it is  has a high roof, it is pleasant inside.  Polished brass angels—two with folded wings, two with spread wings add beauty to the choir stalls in front of the altar, and the lectern has a massive polished brass eagle adorning it. Yet another feature of interest is an  impressive baptismal font near the main door. The imposing roof is made of wood - Mahogany that has stood the test of time  since its inception.

Nebutolla Lane, near Amherst Street, Calcutta (Kolkata)  there stood an old church  of the same name  which was quite similar, in terms of design and plan to  St.Thomas’ Church on Free street. The present church was built  with a view  replacing  the old one mentioned above. It was consecrated by Bishop Reginald Heber
(21 April 1783 - 3 April 1826) on 12 November 1829 who  died in Tiruchirapalli city of Tamil Nadu while on a missionary work.

Subsequently,  the old church became severely damaged due to termite attack and lack of church activities. It almost fell into disuse.  Because of sustained neglect and poor use, it  became unsafe for divine services. A futile  attempt was made to repair the building to make it safe for services, but the roof caved in on the morning of 23 August 1859 while  the work was in progress leaving the church beyond restoration. Having no other alternatives, considering the demand for a new church,  the church authorities, made a decision to build a new church in a better place and also a school  for the children of the neighborhood. 

St. James Church, KolkataRangan Datta -
To raise the new church and the school, the church authorities were lucky enough to have got the full support of Archdeacon Pratt, a keen educationist and an influential person in Calcutta. He helped the church people  acquire the garden house of Mr. Coates together with its spacious grounds for the purpose. They also acquired the small property adjacent to the ground for the residence of  the Chaplain. It was across the Female European Orphan Asylum,  which  was founded in July 1815 by Mrs. Thompson, the wife of the Rev. T Thompson.

On 7 June 1862, the foundation stone of the new Church was laid  by the Honorable John Peter Grant, acting Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal. A marble tablet placed on the eastern wall of the south transept reads –
The first stone of this Church dedicated to
 St. James, was laid June 7th, 1862.
 Consecrated by Bishop Cotton 25th July, 1864.
 The Revd. Dr. Jarbo, Chaplain.

This Church has on either side  two of Calcutta's famous schools St. James & Pratt Memorial.  The church was renovated  and reopened to public on 11th Dec 2011,_Kolkata