The Watercolours of Ada Currey

To celebrate the 175th anniversary of Saint James' Church, we've been taking a look at some of the creators behind its distinctive features.

Postcard of Interior of St James' Church, WeybridgeInterior of St James' Church, Weybridge

The Window of St James' Church

St James’ Church has been a key landmark of Weybridge for 175 years. It was built in 1848 and was the work of architect John Loughborough Pearson who went onto design Truro Cathedral.

There are many architectural features to admire in this historic building, but have you ever noticed the beautiful design of the East window? This was the work of Charles Hardgrave and Ada Currey, as part of the enlarging of the chancel in 1889.

Visit the The Parish Church of St James Weybridge to discover more about the history of this local landmark and even book a guided tour!

Image of Old Cottages, Thames StreetImage of Old Cottages, Thames Street

Who was Ada Currey?

Ada Currey was well known as a local Sunday school teacher but she was also a talented watercolourist and member of the British Society of Artists. Elmbridge Museum is lucky to hold several of her paintings within its collection.

Nature and religion were key to Ada Currey’s work and many of the pieces in the museum are beautiful studies of buildings, exploring the relationship between nature and stonework.

There isn’t much recorded of Ada Currey’s life.  We know that she designed glass and mosaics as an employee of Messrs J Powell of Whitefriars, a company renowned for their work with stained glass and churches.  Currey worked on projects as far as Ireland, France and Scotland, during a period of high demand for stained glass.

Her watercolours offer a personal insight into her passion for nature and the local area of Weybridge, as well as the importance of St James’ Church in her life.

Ever-changing Weybridge

Weybridge has transformed in the years since Ada Currey first depicted its fields and streets. Her paintings provide a tantalising glimpse into what the town used to look like. A few the locations in Currey's watercolours can still be recognised around Weybridge. Here is a watercolour of Portmore gates, as painted in 1910. These can be compared to the gates after their restoration in 1997.

Watercolour of Portmore Park Gates, 1910

Photograph of Portmore Park Gates, 1997

Baker Street, WeybridgeBaker Street, Weybridge

Baker Street

Other paintings are less recognisable and the following watercolours of Baker Street exist as a delicate time capsule for the period in which they were painted. Late 19th century Baker Street looks very different to what we know today.

Baker Street and Theatre

Old Cottage in Baker Street


Church Watercolours

Several watercolours depict Weybridge from a distance, including the following pieces. These show atmospheric landscapes with far off views of churches. The following paintings refer to both the ‘Weybridge Church’ and the ‘Parish Church’, it is likely they feature St James’.

Currey manages to make these painting timeless and it’s easy to place yourself within the scene.  The poplar tree at the forefront providing a scale reference of the artists’ distance to the church.

Poplar Trees near the Parish Church, 1900

Weybridge Church from Portmore Park, 1882

You can see more of Ada Currey's paintings in the Elmbridge Museum collections.

Portmore Farm, 1911 This painting is of Portmore Farm on Oakdale Road. It depicts two girls and a man on the pavement. The Post Office now occupies the site.

The Black Cottages, 19th May 1882 This is a painting of the Black Cottages at the entrance to the Quadrant from Heath Road.

Weybridge Church, 1882 A view of Weybridge Church from Portmore Park.

Chestnut Tree near The Ship Inn, 11th April 1882 This painting shows the The Ship Inn, as viewed from Monument Green.

Baker Street and Theatre, 1882 An enchanting view down Baker Street as it was in the late Victorian period.

Old Cottages, Thames Street, 1881 The cottages stood next to, and on the south side of, the Portmore Pillars, before they were moved.

Poplar Trees near the Parish Church, 1900 These trees were cut down in 1900 due to being unsafe.

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