Restoration of the pulpit
St James the Less was built between 1858 and 1861 by George Edmund Street (d. 1881). Pevsner called it ‘one of the finest Gothic Revival churches anywhere’. It was an early architectural commission for George Street, who used red brick with black brick decoration both inside and out, and gave the church a tall, square campanile-like tower, its roof based on a Genoese model. The interior is ‘like walking into a jewel box’ – polychrome brickwork, glazed tiles and semi-precious stones set around the chancel. The limestone pulpit is by Thomas Earp, best known for his 1863 reproduction of the Eleanor Cross which stands at Charing Cross. The pulpit is also carved with relief panels telling the story of Christ’s teachings. It is however is in very poor condition, the fine – possibly Caen stone – has been heavily degraded, particularly on the front panel facing the nave which has lost almost the entire surface of the block.