Monday 23 Oct – Sunday 26 Nov, inside the church, open daily admission free
Pop-up exhibition in partnership with London Fire Brigade Museum and Square Mile Churches.
We are at 197 Piccadilly London W1J 9LL between Piccadilly and Jermyn Street, about 200 yards from Piccadilly Circus.
As part of the celebration of Sir Christopher Wren’s legacy, the London Fire Brigade Museum, in collaboration with the Square Mile Churches, tell a powerful story of resilience and regeneration through a pop-up exhibition of reproductions of paintings by firefighter artists.
At 7.54pm on 14 October 1940, St James’s Piccadilly was hit by high explosive and incendiary bombs in the first phase of the London Blitz. When the smoke cleared, the church was a burnt out ruin and it remained a roofless shell for nearly seven years.
Among the firefighters was a remarkable group of artists. Painters including W S Haines, Reginald Mills, Paul Dessau, Julia Lowenthal and Mary Pitcairn, recorded the experience of firefighters thrown into the horror of the Blitz, from dramatic paintings of incidents to more reflective scenes of firefighters at rest.
*Please note this exhibition is series of information panels and does not include the actual paintings. They are in storage as we work on plans for a new Museum for London Fire Brigade.
Fire in the city
Driving by Mary Pitcairn. This painting shows AFS Firewoman Gillian ‘Bobbie’ Tanner. The artist, fellow AFS firewoman, Mary Pitcairn was secretary of the Firemen Artists Organising Committee.
Fire in the City: Artists in the Blitz* can be seen in a cluster of churches to the west of St Pauls Cathedral, including St James’s over the coming weeks.
For more information and details of Fire in the City guided walks click here