Liverpool Cathedral

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The Anglican cathedral in Liverpool stands at the opposite end of Hope Street from the Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral. The two buildings couldn’t be more different. The Catholic a Modern temple of glass and concrete while the Church of England created a massive Gothic edifice of red sandstone – the fifth-largest cathedral in the world. It was designed by Giles Gilbert Scott who was also responsible for Battersea Power Station and the traditional red telephone box.

It took almost a century to build. The foundation stone was laid in 1904 and it was finally consecrated in1978. But finishing touches must still have been made after this as an apprentice stonemason I knew after I’d started work around that time used to do some work on the building as part of his training. Although it was almost complete when I was at University in Liverpool, and was effectively in use, I only recall going inside once, when I was showing a Spanish student around Liverpool.

The outside is relatively austere for a Gothic cathedral. No flying buttresses or particularly distinctive features other than the massive central tower. Inside, however it’s everything I’d expect from a Gothic church – relatively slender pillars and pointed arches holding up a ribbed roof and lots of stained glass windows.

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Volunteers fro churches in the Liverpool diocese keep the interior stocked with arrangements of freshly cut flowers.

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The Lady Chapel was] the first part of the building to be completed, being consecrated in 1910. It’s lower down than the main part of the building and so to reach it visitors have to descend down a staircase. The chapel, which is bigger than many churches, is particularly ornate with some very attractive stained glass and very Anglo-Catholic in style.

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One aspect of the chapel, but only really noticeable when climbing the steps to get back up to the main part of the cathedral, are the stained glass windows that celebrate notable women. This is one of them.

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Quite unusual as, other than the Virgin Mary, Christian theology is dominated and the associated iconography, is dominated by men.

Some of the windows in the east end of the main church also celebrate ordinary working people, the sort of craftsmen who would have constructed the great medieval cathedrals

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As with the Catholic equivalent at the other end of Hope Street, there are works of art scattered around the building.

Outside, above the main entrance, is a statue by Elisabeth Frink

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Below the large stained glass window in the east wall is a work by Tracey Emin

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Here’s a closer view

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And closer still

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Most of the pictures didn’t hold much interest for me. However, I liked this simple, but very effective, memorial to the former Bishop of Liverpool, David Sheppard which is near to the entrance to the Lady Chapel at the north west corner of the building.

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It was created by Stephen Broadbent, a sculptor based in Chester who has created quite a number of public works displayed around the North West – including some other public works in Liverpool.

I also liked the sculptures on the font

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5 thoughts on “Liverpool Cathedral

  1. Thanks for this, Mick. I visited a couple of years ago with a friend and agree that the memorial to the former Bishop of Liverpool, David Sheppard, is my favourite bit. I liked the echo bit and Emin’s Bird on a Stick(??) outside. A lot of art in there!

    • I think the budgie on a stick is outside the Oratory. It got nicked a few years ago but I think they replaced it. I didn’t look out for it but I did take a photo of the Oratory and looking at that can certainly see the stick, but not sure about the budgie.

      Funny thing about the cathedral is that I’m pretty sure some of my ancestors lived in a slum at the west end of the site which was cleared before they started building. They certainly lived on the other side of Parliament Street for a while in a back to back courtyard near the Georgian church on the other side of the road from the cathedral.

      • You are quite right, of course. I just checked my Flickr pics. Called Roman Standard – or at least that is what I added to the title.

        Tracey Emin's Roman Standard

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