Talk: The Monk Sisters at St James the Less: Women and Architectural Patronage in Victorian Britain, by Alex Bremner


In this talk, Professor Alex Bremner will explore the role of Jane Emily and Penelope Anna Monk in the commissioning of St James the Less, Pimlico, and what, if any, impact their vision for the church had on G. E. Street’s design.

Extant sources will be examined for what they reveal about the day-to-day oversight of the project, the working relationship between architect and patron, and the keen interest shown in the church by Emily Jane Monk, especially. The role of the sisters will be considered in the context of the wider phenomenon of female architectural patronage during the period, along with the status and sexual identity of middle-class women, including the rise of feminist ideals because this will shed light on the life and activities of two truly extraordinary women of the age. We are left with the thought, could this remarkable building, and thus the career of Street himself, have been secured in the way they were without the Monk sisters intervention and determination?

Alex Bremner is Professor of Architectural History at the University of Edinburgh and the award-winning author of Imperial Gothic: Religious Architecture and High Anglican Culture in the British Empire, c.1840-17870.

Ticket Price: £10
Date: September 9th, 2024
Time: 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Venue: St James the Less Church, Pimlico - View on map