Cathedral Exploring in Liverpool

There’s an old Liverpool folk song which says, “If you want a Cathedral We’ve Got One To Spare,” and they certainly do – two cathedrals, one Anglican and the other Roman Catholic sitting either end of Hope Street. We had visited and explored the Anglican Cathedral earlier in the year but ran out of time to see the second one. A trip back to Liverpool was in order to put this right.

02.14.022 - Anglican Cathedral

We parked at the Anglican Cathedral and set off down Hope Street. On a street corner by Mount Street Son was most intrigued to spot what looked like a big pile of discarded luggage. These suitcases are actually made of concrete and called “A Case History.” One case has Paul McCartney’s name on there, other famous Liverpudlians with connections to the area are featured too.

04.25.001 - Hope Street

We couldn’t walk past the incredibly beautiful Philharmonic Pub – so gorgeous inside and out with tiled floors, an incredible ceiling and so many nooks and crannies. Son was fascinated by the two lounges inside called Brahms and Liszt – clever naming with the philharmonic connection and a bit of Cockney rhyming slang.

04.25.004 - Hope Street

Half a mile away from the Anglican Cathedral and we arrived at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King to give it the full and correct title. A unusual looking building to say the least, apparently locals have been known to call it the Mersey Funnel or Paddy’s Wigwam – not hard to see how they came up with these!

04.25.005 - Catholic Cathedral

The cathedral was built for the Irish immigrant community in particular. After the Potato Famine in the 1800’s in Ireland around 2 million immigrants came to Liverpool and by 1851 a quarter of the city’s population was of Irish descent. They brought their strong Catholic faith and plans were eventually drawn up to build a cathedral but it didn’t happen for a long time. The original design was meant to be similar to the Anglican Cathedral, however they only built the crypt in that way. World War II came along and that, together with rising costs meant the design was abandoned.

04.25.006 - Catholic Cathedral

At the end of WWII architects from all over the world were invited to compete and design a new cathedral which was to cost around £1 million and be complete in 5 years. The original was estimated to cost over £27 million. The competition was won by Sir Fredderick Gibberd, they started work in 1967 and completed this church which can seat more than 2,000 people. The building is circular and concrete, not sure if I love it but it certainly stands out and you wouldn’t forget it in a hurry. We stepped inside and found the modern theme continuing with lots of modern artwork and some glorious multi-coloured windows. It’s very light, bright and airy inside and apparently on a sunny day those stained glass windows are amazing. The sun did not bless us with its presence that day…

04.25.008 - Catholic Cathedral

04.25.009 - Catholic Cathedral

There is a glass lantern above the altar rising to a height of 290 feet – spectacular. The altar is made of Macedonian white marble, we noticed the unusual metal structure above it – apparently a special type of canopy that protects and highlights the altar.

04.25.012 - Catholic Cathedral

04.25.013 - Catholic Cathedral

04.25.016 - Catholic Cathedral

A leaflet from the entrance highlighted the main points of interest and different chapels. We wandered around the giant circular building and just soaked up the atmosphere.

04.25.019 - Catholic Cathedral

04.25.020 - Catholic Cathedral

41 thoughts on “Cathedral Exploring in Liverpool

  1. Really enjoyed reading this – I’ve visited several times as my dad works in Liverpool, always a nice day trip! The metropolitan cathedral has a strange appearance that’s for sure – though the stained glass inside is stunning!

  2. Have you been to the Museum of Liverpool Life at the pierhead? They have a large scale model of the original design for the Catholic Cathedral. It was going to be a massive building, as the size of the crypts suggest. They have a photo in the museum with the planned building photoshopped in and it would have been even bigger than the Anglican cathedral

    • We have seen that – it’s incredible what they originally planned to do. We never managed to see the crypt this time but that’s definitely in the plans for some future trip.

  3. I enjoyed reading this post. I haven’t been inside this cathedral so it’s very interesting to view your photos. I have to say that it looks 100 times better from the interior than from outside. I really will have to take a look sometime. I loved the pile of concrete suitcases, so nice!

    • The outside is unusual but I think that’s as positive as I can be!! Inside though it is very impressive and the stained glass windows are wonderful – definitely worth a look!

  4. We just did a day trip into Liverpool but didn’t have time to visit the cathedrals. Enjoyed reading the post to learn more about this particular one….a unique and unusual design. thanks for sharing!

    • There’s so much to see and do in Liverpool it’s hard to choose! We’ve been so many times but only made it to the cathedrals now. This one had always intrigued me – strange from the outside I’d always wanted to have a peek in!!

  5. Oh I love that suitcase layout, very cool. I’ve never thought of visiting Liverpool but looks good to me. Great to get to know these places through your eyes Joy!

  6. I actually rather like the exterior of the cathedral. It’s striking in being so different. The interior is magnificent, however. That stained glass is amazing. I would love to see it for myself some time.

    • It’s definitely different – I love the “Paddy’s Wigwam” affectionate nickname! I wasn’t sure what to expect inside but it wasn’t this – it is so impressive.

  7. Joy, thanks for the visit inside! We didn’t visit this cathedral last year when in Liverpool, just the Anglican! You may remember me saying how much we enjoyed Liverpool last year, it was a great city. We got photos next to the concrete cases!

    • We didn’t have time to see inside this one on our last visit Pam so made a special return trip!! There is so much in Liverpool to fit in, you just can’t do everything. Aren’t the cases great though – our son was very taken with them!!

    • You don’t need too long to have a look around, that said we didn’t manage to visit the crypt which is supposed to be very impressive. Another time…. The suitcases are great – we were very taken with them too.

  8. Interesting looking cathedral. It’s very beautiful in a more modern way. It isn’t what I expect when I think of cathedrals in Europe. And love the suitcases, by the way! It’s so fun what we find when we simply take a walk. 🙂

    • It’s not a bit like any cathedral I’ve ever seen before and I like quirky places that are a bit different!! The suitcases are great – we spent ages checking them out, loads of different labels and names on them which was fun.

    • I love the nickname – we chuckled more than a bit over that, it’s very apt!! The windows were incredible even on a dull, gloomy day – I would love to see the sun shining through them sometime!!

    • Full of personality George – it just oozes character. We don’t live too far away so manage to visit often and always find something different to see and do – the cathedrals are interesting but the waterfront is fun and then the music connection…

  9. Wow it’s certainly a striking building Joy! The stained glass must be amazing when the sun is shining – the inside definitely has more appeal than the outside I think but it certainly is a wonderful landmark. Love the concrete suitcases too and the Philharmonic Pub sounds well worth a visit! 🙂

  10. I think it must be at least 30 years since I was in Liverpool but I remember this clearly. One of the more successful 60s concrete buildings – not sure about the exterior, but the interior is stunning. Like the suitcases too.

    • The exterior is different for sure, I’m not in love with it but the inside, like you say is something else – we loved it. The suitcases were a bit hit, much time was spent there!!

  11. Great photos and love the suitcases! I know what you mean about the circular cathedral – though it’s certainly memorable and the inside looks quite impressive. I have never been to Liverpool hope to make it some day.

    • Liverpool is a great city – full of life and atmosphere, I think you’d love it!! It’s not so far from us so we tend to visit reasonably often and always find something new – like the suitcases!!

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