The St James tavern was a pub at 187 St Sepulchre’s Gate as early as 1860. The first owners whose names we know didn’t last long. John Ward owned it in 1885, followed by William Stanley who took over late in 1886 for about a year. It’s not clear if they ran it as a pub, or just lived their.
In 1887 Joseph George came to own the pub. He was the pub’s most successful owner and had a budding pub franchise. He lived at and ran the Green Tree Inn, which still operates in Hatfield Woodhouse. His wife was also listed as a landlady, followed by a pub name that is impossible to make out, so it’s possible they owned and ran a third pub. Joseph George ran the St James Tavern for more than 10 years.
A series of less successful owners followed. James Clift owned the pub from 1899 to 1900, the Frederick Goodyear took over until 1901. John Thomas Ellis did a little better, running the place from 1902 to 1904. A few years later, in 1907, Jonathan Coates took over for a full four years. On the electoral rolls he used the slightly pompous title Licensed Victualer, which just means someone licensed to sell alcohol. After Coates it was back to short term owners. William Ogley owned it from 1912 to 1913, James Edward Bedford from 1914 to 1915.
The last known owner of the St James Tavern was Harry Oliver in 1916. He also worked as a master plasterer for the building contractors in Thomson & Dixon, his boss there submitted an exemption form to keep him out of the war. It seems like his workmates were regulars because on the forms submitted for him they accidentally put the name of the pub instead of the street name.
After Harry Oliver the pub was converted, so in 1936 it was owned by a company called West End Fish Co. Between 1945 and 1951 it was owned by an Ivy Clayton who ran a cafe there. Then from 1954 to 1956 it was the St James Restaurant, owned by a G C Linacre. It was a restaurant for a while longer, but in 1856 it was also the St James Junior and Infants School. At this time it was owned by an E James.
After that it does not appear in any of the records, and what is now West St Sepulchre’s Gate doesn’t go as far down as 187. It probably stood somewhere between the St James Church and St James bridge, perhaps across from the St James car park. It may have been demolished so the A630 could be built.