LiverpoolLiverpool Weekend

Liverpool Weekend (Day Two) – Liverpool Cathedral


I visited this Cathedral several years ago with my friend Lucy, when I remember going on the tower tour as I was feeling rather brave at the time. But, I was young and reckless then, I’m much more moderate today. The whole arrangement somewhat dominates the skyline and it’s a cavernous structure, being the largest cathedral and religious building in the country. Wikipedia also tells me that it’s the eighth largest religious building in the world in terms of the floor space and it can cater for a congregation of 3,500.


The opportunity to build a new cathedral was rare for architects, only St. Paul’s and Truro Cathedral had been built from new since the Reformation. The commission was given to Giles Gilbert Scott who was just 22 years old at the time and whose only previous design construction had been that of a pipe rack. It feels brave to say the least, but it’s good to have faith in the young and it certainly doesn’t appear to have been a reckless decision. The design that he submitted was later heavily amended, with the whole process being even more controversial when the committee who had given him the contract realised that he was a Roman Catholic. Scott died in 1960, having seen most of his building completed, with this memorial placed on the nave. He’s actually buried just outside the cathedral, as he didn’t want it becoming a mausoleum by cluttering it up with bodies.


The grand and impressive Lady Chapel, which was initially going to be called the Morning Chapel, which was the first part of the cathedral to be completed. There was some bomb damage to this chapel during the Second World War and it wasn’t fully repaired until 1955. It must have felt sub-optimal to have to fix the bit of the building that had been completed already, but I understand that they were just pleased to have sufficient funding to continue with the project.


The chancel and I think it’s quite interesting to see how the choir area of a church has moved about due to religious reasons. In the late nineteenth century it was commonplace for the choir area to be returned to the chancel, as it is here in Liverpool Cathedral.


Masons’ marks which are visible on stones throughout the cathedral.


And some of their stonemason tools.


The Chapter House, which was funded by the Province of West Lancashire.


The Memorial Chapel which commemorates the sacrifice of local people who have died as a result of war. It also is a place within the cathedral there the sacrifice of the civilian population can be remembered.


Bev was exhausted after her wandering around the building and she needed a post-lunch lunch, so we all agreed to visit the cathedral’s on-site cafe. There’s no admission charge to enter the cathedral, so in lieu of making of a donation we purchased food and drink which seemed a fair compromise to me. I was surprised and delighted with the moist and fluffy chocolate orange cake which complemented the Irn-Bru and crisps beautifully. I’m getting very good at these food and drink pairings.

I won’t linger on the history of the building as there’s plenty of detailed information elsewhere on-line about its heritage, but I was pleased to be able to go back. The sandstone, sourced from nearby Woolton, makes the building feel cool and the substantial size of the structure makes it feel peaceful and grand. It was a suitably respectful way to spend the early afternoon, justifying our decision to then pop to some more bars afterwards.