Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Paddy’s Wigwam.

This is the name lovingly given by Liverpudlians to the Catholic Cathedral which is at the opposite end of Hope St where the Anglican Cathedral is built. The correct title is the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King at the suggestion of Pope Pius XI.

The foundation stone was laid in June 1933 in what is now known as the Lutyens Crypt after its original designer. The original design was very conventional as far as Cathedrals go but the outbreak of WWII bought a standstill to the construction and the Crypt wasn’t completed until 1958. Due to escalation in costs the whole Grandiose scheme had to be halted at the Crypt.

Liverpool 398 Metropolitan Cathedral, Liverpool.

It wasn’t until 1960 that a scheme to complete the cathedral was started with a design competition and the winning design was to be a circular affair with the altar in the centre. Due to cost of materials it was decided to build in more modern cheaper materials and the building was completed in 5 years (1965). It was built over the original Crypt which is now being incorporated by a new entranceway. This cathedral is only 86m high and the organ only contains 4565 pipes.

Liverpool 406 The central altar in a circular cathedral. The organ to the left.

Some twenty or so years later the cathedral was in a sad state suffering from metal corrosion and fatigue, water leaks and many other faults. The Archdiocese sued the architect and builders which was finally settled out of court but it still left them with the problem of repair or rebuild. In 1987 it was decide to repair the building and a fund raising appeal was started. After fitting water proof membranes and a stainless steel roof as well as replacing corroded steel work the £8m restoration was completed in 2003 but still leaving the diocese short of a little over £1m which they are still fund raising.

The most impressive part of this cathedral was the stain glass roof and wall panels and use of natural light but I am afraid that we are not advocates of modern architecture and I’m afraid we left feeling somewhat flat and unimpressed.

Liverpool 402 The spire of coloured glass.


Peter said...

It grows on you!

Derek and Dot said...

It certainly does, although very different I had trouble coming to terms that it was a place of worship.