In 2015 we celebrated the 125th anniversary of the present church building being present on its current site. However, the parish of West End was originally formed in 1834 out of the much older Parish of South Stoneham.
West End was so called either because it was the west end of the tithing of Shamblehurst or because it was the end of the waste, or common, of Netley.
The Church here began as a Chapelry to South Stoneham and the first incumbent (1843-76) was Revd Dr Hatherell, after whom the Close that adjoins the church and hall buildings is named.
The first church building was very plain and soon became too small for the growing parish. In addition it was struck by lightning in 1875 making it necessary to pull down most of the spire.
A resolution that a new church was required for the Parish was passed at a meeting in March 1889. Plans were drawn up for a new church, to be built on the site of the existing one, and these were accepted in May 1889.
The new church was designed by Sir Arthur Blomfield, ARA an English architect who earlier, in 1882, designed the Royal College of Music in London. In 1887 he became architect to the Bank of England and, in association with A. E. Street, designed the Law Courts Branch in Fleet Street. His design for St James’ was to use a decorated and perpendicular style, with plain Nave arches.
In total the cost of building the church was just under £7,000, and on 22nd October 1890, Mrs Harriet Haselfoot laid the Foundation stone, having given generously towards the costs.
The Church was further enriched by other generous gifts. The font is a memorial to Dr Hatherell, the organ to Mrs Haselfoot, the Pulpit and East Window to Mr Edwin Jones (of the former department store in Southampton).
There are other Memorial Windows dedicated to local dignitaries, including one to Bishop Harold Brown and one to those who fell in the First World War. Most of the windows were made by Heaton, Butler and Baines.
Plenty of history to celebrate and we hope that the church will continue to serve the community of West End for many more years to come.