Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Church Matters

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Church Matters

Article excerpt

Byline: By Francis Wood

St James The Great

so it's St James' Day on Tuesday, July 25. No doubt Newcastle football fans will pack local churches to invoke the prayers of their patron as the new season approaches. But why was St James chosen for the dedication of the famous Park? I visited the reference department of the Central Library to find out.

"I'm trying to find out how St James' Park got its name." I asked the assistant. "Ah yes," she said, "St James' Park. Just one moment." She disappeared into a room behind and returned with three large tomes. "You'll find something in here," she said: "St James' Park is next to Buckingham Palace. "No it isn't," I said, "It's in Gallowgate, across the road from Rosie's Bar." She then directed me to the local history department and now I have the answer.

There was a time when the whole of that part of Newcastle was known as St James. This would explain why the Metro station is called St James and not St James' Park. There used to be a St James Infirmary there and within its walls was St James' Chapel. The name of St James was a popular choice for many hospitals in early days. There's one in Leeds, another in Halifax and New Orleans jazz fans will remember St James Infirmary Blues made popular by Cab Calloway in the 1930's.

In 1877 they pulled down the infirmary and a few years later the two football teams of Newcastle East End and West End joined together to form United. In 1892 they built their new stadium where the old hospital used to be.

St James was a special saint among the apostles. You might think of him as one of the Lord's inner cabinet. Jesus invited him to pray with him in the Garden of Gethsemane and James was the first of the apostles to die for his faith. His was a life of service and as such he was a splendid role model for all who work in a hospital. As for football, St James is buried at Santiago di Compostella and they certainly play football in Spain. …

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