Bermondsey Voices Christmas Concert 2016


Bermondsey Voices Christmas Concert 2016

10th December 2016 | 16:00

Welcome to Bermondsey Voices Christmas Concert 2016, a yearly Christmas Concert in the beautiful St James Church in Bermondsey. The London community choir Bermondsey Voices will perform a Christmassy and sparkly programme full of Christmas cheer.

Mulled wine and mince pies are served after the concert when a Raffle will also take place. The choir will collect for St James Sunday School. Y

Tickets are sold on the door from 4pm for £8/£6


Bermondsey Voices Logo

Bermondsey Voices: Because singing makes you happy

Bermondsey Voices is a community choir in the London borough of Southwark started by Kristina Mansbridge in May 2012 to promote singing in the community. Bermondsey Voices meet Tuesday evenings at 7.30-9.00pm in the beautiful St James Church on Thurland Road around the corner from Bermondsey Tube Station.

Everyone is welcome to join for a free taster rehearsal any Tuesday. The majority of their members are British but they also have members from New Zealand, Belgium, Brazil, Norway and Ghana and MD Kristina is from Sweden.

The aim is to sing to the best of anyone’s ability, work hard during rehearsals and to have a lot of fun. Members often go for a drink in the local pub after rehearsals and sometimes go to concerts and other fun events together.


Did you know singing in a choir is as good for your health as yoga? Come to a rehearsal and speak to Kristina if you want to know more about the added benefits of singing in a choir.

Bermondsey Voices perform in the local community on a regular basis. The choir sings with gusto every September at the fun and funky Bermondsey Street Festival and holds a sparkling and fabulous Christmas concert every December in a packed St James Church incorporating the Swedish tradition of the celebrating the saint of lights, St Lucia. The concert is all about beautiful singing and lit candles and is a true celebration of light in dark times.

Past events include: Four performances of the play The Events at Young Vic Theatre, Voicelab projects at Southbank Centre or The Lord Mayor’s Show November 2014   @BermondseyVoice   bermondseyvoices

St James Church

St James's Church in Bermondsey

St James’s Church in Bermondsey

Travellers through Bermondsey all know St James’ Church as a landmark – by road, rail and from the air, the dragon on the steeple rides calmly amid the tower blocks and acres of housing estates.

Before 1829, when the church was consecrated, the only church in the whole of Bermondsey was the Parish Church of St Mary Magdalen, at the end of Bermondsey Street. In 1724 at the Bishop’s Visitation, it was recorded “In Bermondsey there are 9,000 people”.
The only houses were along Bermondsey Wall, which was part of the only road or highway from the City out into Kent. Here wealthy merchants had magnificent houses. The first streets in our Parish were Salisbury Street and Janeway Street. Here a rich West India Merchant built a house and called it Jamaica House, after the island from which his fortune was derived. By 1710 there were enough poor people living here for it to be necessary to provide a workhouse for 50 people.

In the 18th century ropemakers settled here and in Bevington Street, Farncombe Street and New Church Street (later called Llewelyn Street) ropewalks were established and houses sprang up so that it became necessary to build a new road – Jamaica Road.
Between 1825 and 1830 our end of Abbey Street and a few houses along the line of Spa Road were built. In Jamaica Road only the south side was inhabited in large houses with a view from back windows over open country. As late as 1870/80 there was a farm in Tranton Road.

After Waterloo in 1818 an Act of Parliament was passed to raise a million pounds as a national thank-offering for peace, and as a memorial to the soldiers who had fallen. South London secured seven of the so-called Waterloo Churches which it was decided to build with the money, and, through the persistence of a group of Bermondsey churchmen, the needs of our area were pressed, and in 1821 they bought the land which forms our churchyard and secured a generous grant from the Commissioners of the Fund.

Bermondsey churchmen, the needs of our area were pressed, and in 1821 they bought the land which forms our churchyard and secured a generous grant from the Commissioners of the Fund.

The Chairman of the Committee was William Nottidge, a wool-stapler; with him were two brothers, William George and Richard King Watts, tanners; John Harcourt, Thomas Keeton and Martin Carter, all builders, Robert Rich, who commanded the Bermondsey Volunteers and Dr William Harrison, one of the two Chaplains of St Saviour’s, Southwark (now Southwark Cathedral).

Then came 6 years delay – the committee wanted a tower and a spire but there was not enough money. They devised a scheme – to build a crypt under the church in which bodies could be buried; this would provide a steady income. On this security the trustees received permission, by Act of Parliament, to raise £3,000.
With a liberal grant on the part of the parishioners and the gift of the Commissioners, the contract for the building of the church for £21,412.19.5 was signed and the first stone laid on the 21st February, 1827. Dr Sumner, Bishop of Winchester, consecrated the church on May 7th, 1829.

“The building will hold 2,000 persons, of whom 1,200 are accommodated in free seats”. But the spire (copied from Wren’s at St Stephen’s, Walbrook) cost £2,300 more, so in 1831 a new Act of Parliament had to be passed to borrow this further sum. By 1840 the last loan had been repaid and the church was free of debt.

James Savage, the architect, modelled the church on that of Greek Temples with galleries round three sides and the organ in the west. Competent authorities declare that St James’ Church is the finest church built by the Waterloo Churches Commissioners. (Sir John Betjeman)
The lectern and pulpit were built very high to keep the minister in touch with the galleries.

A glorious peal of 10 bells was cast by the famous foundry of Mears of Whitechapel, from cannon left behind by Napoleon at Waterloo. A four-faced striking clock, costing £160, was put in the tower. The Organ, built by J.C. Bishop in 1829 is described later.
Gifts of silver Communion vessels were received from some of the original members of the Committee whose energies resulted in the building of the Church, and the Clock in the West Gallery was given by J.T. Martin.

The Church now built was dedicated to St James but everyone called it Bermondsey New Church. Its grandeur recalling the days when wealthy merchants still lived in Grange Road and Jamaica Road.

St James today

In the last fifteen years the entire church building, including the historic organ and the Ascension picture,  has been extensively restored.

The bells once again ring out over Bermondsey each Sunday morning and the Great West Doors are opened wide to welcome the people of the parish to worship the Lord Jesus Christ and hear his Gospel proclaimed.


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