Tuesday, 9 August 2016

A little Lambeth mystery


At the end of Hooks Newsagent on Kennington Road, a short walk from Lambeth North tube station, is a puzzling plaque. Fixed above a window, it reads 'St JMs'. But what does it stand for?


I can't find any clues. The 'St' may suggest it's something to do with the parish ... but no nearby churches have corresponding names. Does anyone have any ideas?



5 comments:

Philip Wilkinson said...

A mystery. It means nothing to the Resident Wise Woman, who used to work in Vauxhall and knew quite a lot about the history of the area. There seem to be no St James Minor or Major churches round there (although of course there's St James the Less in Vauxhall Bridge Road, but that must be too far away). Someone will know I'm sure.

Bill Ellson said...

There is a parish of St James, Lambeth. There are, or were, four other St James's parishes, four St John's parishes and a St Jude in Lambeth. St JM would be an unusual way of abbreviating St James, but if James and John were neighbouring or part of St James was 'detached' in St John's it would be an understandable method of differentiating between them.

Ralph Hancock said...

Is it a side or back door to a former block of flats called St James (or St John) Mansions? The carved brick tympanum dates it to about 1890, when 'mansion' blocks were being put up all over London, often decorated in this style.

CarolineLD said...

Thank you all. Ralph, I do wonder if that might be the case. Over on Facebook, Maggie Jones comments that on Streetview it looks like a mansion block.

The brickwork around and under the window all looks identical, though, so is it a former door? Unless it was a sort of hatch for the porter? Or just very well done?

CarolineLD said...

In fact, looking again at the streetview image, a former doorway does look likely.

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