A brief History
St James has been a prominent part of the townscape of St Peter Port for over 200 years and provides a dignified focal point for the Grange.
At a public meeting on 30 October 1815 Admiral Sir James Saumarez, later Lord de Saumarez, first promoted the idea of building St James. The church was to provide a place of worship for the British Garrison in Guernsey, where services could be held in English. At that time, services at the Town Church were held in French.
The building was designed by John Wilson, who was also the architect of Elizabeth College. It was completed in 1818 as the church of St James the Less.
After a full life, which included its use as the Elizabeth College chapel for many years, the building became redundant in 1970 and fell into partial decay.
The Friends of St James Association was formed in 1981 to secure the restoration of St James and then to administer the building as a concert and assembly hall. Thanks to the energetic support of a small number of States Members, the States of Guernsey agreed, in 1983, to pay for its restoration and the building was officially re-opened on 5 July 1985 by HRH the Duke of Kent.
The Friends of St James then embarked on a period of intense fundraising to replace the simple tin-roofed annex built during the 1930s with the Dorey Centre, which now includes meeting rooms and additional event spaces, as well as administration offices.
Since celebrating its bi-centenary in 2018, St James has completed an extensive programme of further renovations, installing a new efficient heating system and state of the art lighting and audio systems.
St James is now run as a Guernsey registered charity and a company limited by guarantee by a Board and an advisory Council. It provides Guernsey with a unique and versatile venue for concerts and events covering a broad range of interests for both residents and visitors, as well as a function centre for the business community.