St. James' Church in Kolkata (Calcutta), India, is one of Kolkata's most elegant churches. Built in 1862. the twin spires of the St. James' Church dominates Kolkata's skyline.
The present church was built to replace an older one of the same name which was situated in Nebutolla Lane, near Amherst Street. This earlier church, built very much after the style and plan of St. Thomas’ Church, Free School Street, was consecrated by Bishop Reginald Heber on 12 November 1829. It appears to have fallen into a state of disrepair, due chiefly to white ants having eaten into the beams, and was declared unsafe for divine worship.
An attempt was made to repair the building, but while the work was in progress, the roof fell in during the early hours of the morning of 23 August, 1858, leaving the church in ruins. It was decided to abandon any further attempts to repair the Church as it was found to be very much out of the way, and in many ways inconvenient for those attending it. The church authorities, therefore, resolved to build a new church in a more convenient locality and, in conjunction with it, a school for the children of the neighbourhood.
The project for building the new church and school had the full support and backing of Archdeacon Pratt, a keen educationist, who, with his influence, was able to acquire the garden house of Mr. Coates together with its spacious grounds for the purpose. At the same time, a smaller house in the grounds was also acquired for the residence of the Chaplain. This property was situated opposite the Female European Orphan Asylum, across the road, which had been founded during July 1815 by Mrs. Thompson, the wife of the Rev. T Thompson.