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The Church of St James the Less, Ancoats
in the County of
-- Lancashire --

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St James the Less School and Rectory
St James the Less School and Rectory
Image courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives (ref m10245)

The photo of 1962 shows St James the Less school and rectory on Little Newton St, built in the early 1880s. The church itself had been demolished around 1950.

A description of the church from the Manchester Courier & Lancashire General Advertiser, 3 May 1869:

“On Saturday afternoon [1st May] the foundation stone of the church of St James the Less, Newton-street, Great Ancoats, was laid by Mr Hugh Birley MP. The increase of the church congregation during the last eighteen months has been remarkable. The first congregation that assembled in the mission room consisted only of five individuals; now the mission room is crowded every Sunday evening, but the congregation is not so large in the morning owing to the room being used as a school. The Sunday school was commenced with eight children, the Rev. W. Coghlan being the only teacher; now there are between 400 and 500 children on the books, with a daily attendance of 250 to 300. If the room was larger still a greater number would attend, as many children have already had to be sent away for want of accommodation ... The building will be of brick in the early English style of architecture, with stone and coloured brick dressings, and coloured decorations in brick in the interior. It will consist of a nave with clerestory, side aisles and chancel – there being a baptistery on the south side of the chancel, and a vestry on the north side. As the church is closely surrounded with buildings on three sides, the only room for any architectural display is at the west front facing the street. Here there will be a main entrance in the centre, with two side entrances; above the main entrance there will be a three-light window, and there will also be a tower with pinnacles at the four corners, and a slanted spire, 100 feet high. ... The church will seat 750 persons, and about two-thirds of the sittings will be free. Mr Thomas Risley, of Red Lion-street, St Anne’s Square, is the architect.”

St James the Less church was consecrated on 21st September 1870. It was known locally as “Little Jimmie’s” and thrived for several decades. However the population of Ancoats dwindled in the early 20th century and the church fell into disrepair. The school closed in 1914 and the church itself closed in 1937, when St James the Less parish merged with St Peter’s. The church was demolished around the late 1940s/early 1950s.

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