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Westminster St James

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Title: Westminster St James  
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Subject: St Martin in the Fields (parish), 1854 Broad Street cholera outbreak, City and Liberty of Westminster, St Anne Within the Liberty of Westminster, Soho
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Westminster St James

Westminster St James

 - 1881 815 acres (3.30 km2)
 - 1901 766 acres (3.10 km2)
 - 1921 767 acres (3.10 km2)
 - 1881 29,941
 - 1901 21,588
 - 1921 13,644
 - Origin Bailiwick of St James
 - Created 1685
 - Abolished 1900 (vestry)
1922 (civil parish)
 - Succeeded by Metropolitan Borough of Westminster
Status Civil parish
Government St James Vestry (1685–1900)
 - HQ Vestry Hall, Piccadilly

Westminster St James (or St James Picadilly) was a civil parish in the metropolitan area of London, England. The creation of the parish followed the building of the Church of St James, Piccadilly in 1684. After several failed attempts, the parish was formed in 1685 from part of the ancient parish of St Martin in the Fields in the Liberty of Westminster and county of Middlesex. It included part of the West End of London, taking in sections of Soho, Mayfair and St James's. Civil parish administration was in the hands of a select vestry until the parish adopted the Vestries Act 1831. The vestry was reformed again in 1855 by the Metropolis Management Act. In 1889 the parish became part of the County of London and the vestry was abolished in 1900, replaced by Westminster City Council. The parish continued to have nominal existence until 1922.


There were attempts in 1664, 1668 and 1670 to create a new parish, with its own church, from the area of the bailiwick of St James within the ancient parish of St Martin in the Fields. The creation of the new parish was resisted by the vestry of St Martin in the Fields. In 1684 the Church of St James, Piccadilly was constructed which improved the case for providing a new parish.[1]

It was created in 1685 from part of the ancient parish of St Martin in the Fields, and was within the Liberty of Westminster.[2] The parish was included in the returns of the Bills of mortality.[3]

The legislation creating the parish in 1685 provided for a select vestry of 34 vestrymen.


It corresponded to the western portion of the contemporary district of Regent Street in the early 19th century made the division of the parish between the Mayfair and Soho areas more defined.


The parish adopted the Vestries Act 1831 and from 1832 there was an election of vestrymen by all ratepayers. In 1855 the parish vestry became a local authority within the area of responsibility of the Metropolitan Board of Works and the number of elected vestrymen increased by 12.

Poor law

The parish was independent for the administration of the New Poor Law, until it joined the Westminster Union 1868.


In 1889 the parish became part of the County of London and in 1900 it became part of the Metropolitan Borough of Westminster, with the parish vestry replaced by Westminster City Council. It was abolished as a civil parish in 1922.


The population of the parish as recorded in the decennial census was:[4]
Year 1801 1811 1821 1831 1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911 1921
Population 34,462 34,093 33,819 37,053 37,398 36,406 ? 33,619 29,941 24,995 21,588 16,159 13,644


  1. ^
  2. ^ Youngs, Frederic (1979). Guide to the Local Administrative Units of England. I: Southern England. London:  
  3. ^ Reginald H. Adams (1971). The Parish Clerks of London. Phillimore. 
  4. ^

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