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TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
St James Church
This is the church of poet and painter William Blake.
Location: 197 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9LL
Description: In 1662 Henry Jermyn, Earl of St Albans, obtained a grant of land on the outskirts of London which is now known as St James. He laid out St James Square, and set aside land for the building of a parish church and churchyard on the south side of Portugal Street (now Piccadilly). Christopher Wren was appointed the architect. Wrens plans were approved; the superb carvings of Grinling Gibbons on the reredos, the organ case and the font added beauty to the dignity of the design.
Celebrated poet and painter William Blake was baptised at the church in 1757.
The church was severely damaged by enemy action in 1940, and the verger was killed when bombs destroyed the Rectory.