The Parish of New Brighton,
St. James with Emmanuel
The History of St. James
The Foundation stone of St James Church was laid on 16 February 1854, by the Bishop of Chester, the Right Rev. John Graham D.D. In November 1854, the partly completed exterior was ravaged by the “Great Storm” and many of the rafters were displaced. Work recommenced but then foundered after six months for lack of funds.
The exterior was completed by 1856 and a further appeal for money was launched in April as all subscriptions had been used up. The contractors Furness and Kilpin of Lawton Street Liverpool had not been fully paid. Funds were needed for purchase of the bell and organ and for fencing the grounds. G Scott had been paid the princely sum of £335 for his architectural fees. Scott was such a prolific designer of buildings that there is every chance that he never came to visit the churches in New Brighton that he designed!
Eventually additional money was forthcoming enabling the church to be completed and finally consecrated on 10 July 1856 with the only outstanding items being the church walls and the parsonage. The cost of the church and parsonage was £12,523, which was met by subscription. The largest subscribers were the first incumbent, Rev R D Fowell, John North, and William Rowson. The first memorial placed in 1855 commemorated James Atherton, who had died in 1838 but was the acknowleged builder of New Brighton.
1856 - The first churchwardens were George. H. Lawrence, a merchant, and William R. Coulbourn, joint owner of the New Brighton Ferry. The Sexton was Tobias Cooper of Mount Pleasant Road.
1860 - Gas lighting was introduced, the previous oil lamps having been found insufficient and very expensive.
1867 - The heating pipes were extended into the transepts and the chancel. A new boiler was also installed.
1868 - It was discovered that the roof had shifted position either from external pressure, from severe gales or from a constructional defect. It was pressing heavily onto the south side of the church. Repairs were effected at a cost of £357.
1877 - Gales damaged the weather vane and the spire. The weather vane was removed; a lightening conductor took its place.
1888 - 'Hymns Ancient and Modern' was first used. Surplices were introduced for the choir.
1891 - Lantern services were held in the church, slides being projected onto a sheet hung between two pillars.
1893 - A gale damaged the chancel roof and destroyed the chancel windows, which were made by Pilkingtons of St. Helens. Damage was also suffered to the gates and to the West Door.
1894 - Following damage to the church windows the previous year, many windows were fitted with guards.
1896 - A fire broke out in the heating apparatus chamber. It was speedily extinguished by the 'Brigade'.
1900 - Electric lighting was installed in the church, a gift of W. G. Ellery. In this year, secular activities flourished. There was a Working Institute, a Young Mens Association, a Temperance Society, a Mothers Union and a Girl's Friendly Society.
1909 - Extensive damage was caused when the gas main was fractured. The explosion destroyed the organ, blowing organ pipes through the church windows and even onto adjacent houses. Many house windows were broken including those of the vicarage.
1910 - The death of Fredrick North, one of the churches most generous benefactors.
1920 - The Parochial Church Council was formed. The vicarage was modernised including the introduction of electric lighting.
1924 - Church organisations included 860 children in the Sunday School, 70 Scouts and a company of Girl Guides.
1929 - The Lifeboat Service was inaugurated.
1932 - Floodlighting and rewiring of the church was completed.
1940 - Blitz damage to some windows occured.
1941 - The mooring ropes of an escaped barrage ballon, a device used to prevent enemy aircraft getting too close to 'tagets', became wrapped around the spire. The repairs cost £34. Gates and railings were removed for the war effort.
1950 - The gates and railings were replaced.
1954 - The carved figures on the spire were beyond repair and were removed. The south wing of the vicarage was re-modelled as an apartment.
1958 - An electric motor replaced the manual bell rope.
1961 - The Matins Service was televised on 16 July. The choir of Emmanuel joined St. James choir for this occasion.
1962 - Microphones and loudspeakers were installed.
1966 - The oil fired boiler was replaced with a gas one.
1977 - The very rear pews were removed to create an 'open space' for other uses.
1980 - The church hall was sold to the Sea Cadet Corps.
2008 - The organ from St. Johns, Liscard, was inaugurated in St. James Church by Prof. Ian Tracey of Liverpool Cathedral.
Timeline of Recorded Events: