Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Liverpool Cathedral is the Anglican cathedral of Liverpool, England; it is built on St James Mount, in the centre of the city. It is the largest Anglican cathedral in the world, and the seat of the Bishop of Liverpool. Its official name is the Cathedral Church of Christ in Liverpool; it is not to be confused with the Roman Catholic Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.
John Charles Ryle was installed as the first Bishop of Liverpool in 1880, but the diocese had no cathedral, merely a "pro-cathedral" in the rather ordinary parish church of Saint Peter's, Liverpool. Following much debate, church and civic leaders agreed a new cathedral should be built and in 1902 held an open competition to select a design. For architects, this was a very significant event; not only was it to be one of the largest building projects of the 20th century, but this was only the second opportunity to build a cathedral in England following the Reformation of the 16th century.
The competition attracted over 100 entries including designs from noted architects such as Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Charles Reilly . In 1903 the assessors, Norman Shaw and George Bodley, selected a proposal submitted by the 22-year-old student Giles Gilbert Scott despite the fact that he had no previous buildings to his credit. The choice of winner was even more contentious with the cathedral committee when it was discovered that Scott was in fact a Roman Catholic, but since faith wasn't a requirement of the original competition, the decision stood.
Although young, Scott was steeped in ecclesiastical design and well versed in the Gothic revival style with his grandfather George Gilbert Scott and father both designing numerous churches. Due to Scott's inexperience, the cathedral committee appointed Bodley to oversee the detailed architectural design and building work. Bodley and Scott's collaboration was a stormy one, with Scott verging on resigning before Bodley's death in 1907.
The foundation stone was laid by King Edward VII in 1904, with the first element, the Lady Chapel, opening in 1910. It was at this time that Scott, free of Bodley and growing in confidence, submitted an entirely new design for the remaining (main) part of the structure. Scott's original design was based on Durham Cathedral and had two towers at the west end, the revised plan called for a single central, exceptionally tall tower topped with a lantern. At the same time Scott change the style somewhat, losing much of the gothic detailing and introducing a significantly more modern, monumental style, even incorporating elements from Rennie Mackintosh's competition entry. The cathedral committee approved the new plans, which also made the cathedral's interior much more spacious. With the altar completed, the church was consecrated in 1924, but regular services were not held until 1940. Construction of the tower was finished in 1942, but the Second World War and inflation slowed work and the completion of the building only came in 1978; too late for Scott, who had died in 1960.
Liverpool Cathedral occupies a total area of 9,600 square meters and was built mainly of sandstone quarried from the Liverpool suburb of Woolton. The cathedral's belltower is one of the tallest in the world (see List of tallest churches), rising to a height of 100 metres. It houses the highest (66 metres) and heaviest (31 tonnes) ringing peal of bells in the world. The choir contains the largest pipe organ in the UK with two five manual consoles, 9765 pipes and a trompette militaire . One of the cathedral's stained glass windows shows the artisans who designed and built it – Bodley and Scott are both shown, sitting together.
Admission to the cathedral is free but with a suggested donation of £3. It is open daily year-round from 8 am to 6 pm, and regular services are held every Sunday.
Liverpool not only has the Anglican cathedral, but also a Catholic cathedral — the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, also built in the 20th century, to an even more modern design.
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