Sir Edwin Lutyens was Britain’s greatest architect during the early 20th century, and became famous for his country houses in the Arts and Craft style. Later he adopted classical symmetry for his buildings and produced civic pieces based on Italian design principles.
In 1929 the Arch Bishop of Liverpool, Richard Downey, declared that the city’s vast Catholic population needed a central place of worship. He asked Lutyens to come up with a plan and his answer was magnificent.
Liverpool was to be the cradle of his greatest work – a monument of such splendour that it would be known the world over. In hues of pink, red, brown and cream, this would be the place that god would be felt more than all others. It’s dome would be bigger than that of the Vatican. In total size it would be second largest of the face of the planet.
In 1933 the Pope blessed the final designs, and in June of that year the foundation stone was laid in front of thousands of onlookers. Work began on the Cathedral’s crypt, which would of course be the base on which the rest would stand. Filled with vaulted ceilings it would be faced with granite stone.
By 1941 World War II had stopped construction, with men going off to fight against the German terror in mainland Europe. When war came to an end however, building work continued. But in 1953 against the backdrop of rebuilding, a devastated city decried the project was too much in the face of brutal hardship and the design was abandoned.
You can see a scale model of the cathedral at the Museum of Liverpool at the Pier Head, which is on our waterfront by the Liver building.
14th September 2018 by