Building » Ipswich – St James

Ipswich – St James

Landseer Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP3 9LU

A utilitarian dual-purpose church built from designs by Eric Sandon in Festival of Britain year to serve an interwar housing estate.

Eastward expansion of Ipswich in the early twentieth century led to plans to establish a new parish, with a building fund established in 1928 and the site of the present church in Landseer Road acquired in 1938. Mass was said in various locations on the Gainsborough estate until 1951, when the Revd Joseph Sweeney built the present church as a dual-purpose church and hall. The architect was Eric Sandon of Woodbridge (planning records on Ipswich Borough Council’s website name the agents as The Suffolk Group of Architects, 1 Quay Street, Woodbridge) and the builders were Messrs Cubitt & Gotts. The cost was £7,000 and the church had a seating capacity of 160. A folding screen allowed the sanctuary to be closed off when the nave (which had a sprung floor) was used for parish dances and social events. A property at 28 Maryon Road was acquired and served as a presbytery until 1959, when a purpose-built one was erected alongside the church. It was hoped to build a permanent church on the corner with Nacton Road, but in the event that part of the site was sold and the existing building adapted, with a parish hall alongside (in 1979). The church was refitted with wooden benches, the gift of Ted Browne. More recent (1994) furnishings include two stained glass windows in the sanctuary.


A utilitarian design, built in 1951 as a dual-purpose church and hall, steel framed and mainly rendered externally, with a more recent corrugated sheet metal roof. A projecting flat-roofed porch incorporates painted concrete square panels around the door, each inset with a Greek cross, the only concession to embellishment. A timber cross mounts the main gable. At the sides the building is lit by high-level clerestory windows (renewed in uPVC), most of those on the north side truncated in 1979 when an attached flat-roofed brick parish hall was added. At the east end, the sanctuary is a small, side-lit lean-to structure.  

Inside, the space is ceiled at collar level, with the steel stanchions of the framing exposed at the sides. At the west end a door to the north leads to a WC and on to the parish hall. The nave has a timber spring floor, with the circulation areas carpeted. The sanctuary is separated from the nave by a large flat-topped opening, originally containing a folding screen. Over this is a wooden carving inscribed St James, with Eucharistic symbols, similar to that at Framingham (qv), and no doubt also by Ian Etheridge of Ipswich. The side lights of the sanctuary contain two good stained glass windows of 1994, that to the north signed Susanna Budd, that to the south signed Jill Lees. The sanctuary furnishings are timber and modern, apart from an older and rather elaborate presidential chair. The nave benches date from the 1980s, replacing the original chairs.   

Heritage Details

Architect: Eric Sandon

Original Date: 1951

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed