Almost as soon as Liverpool became the centre of a re-established Catholic diocese in 1850, the first bishop, Alexander Goss, commissioned Edward Welby Pugin to design a magnificent Gothic cathedral which was to stand on Everton Brow.
There is an image of E W Pugin’s perspective view of the planned St Edward’s Cathedral at https://www.liverpoolmetrocathedral.org.uk/the-first-cathedral. The complete building would have been a dignified cruciform structure with a tall tower and spire, providing a fine landmark overlooking the Mersey.
From the Wirral bank of the Mersey, or from a vessel in the river, you can pinpoint its location behind and slightly to the north of the existing St George’s Parish Church
Building began in 1853, and stopped again three years later because of the pressure to provide churches, schools and welfare for the huge population of Irish and other immigrants that flooded into mid-nineteenth century Liverpool. There simply wasn’t the money to spare for grand building projects.
All that was ever built of Pugin’s great cathedral was the Lady Chapel and its two side chapels, and these were converted into an odd-looking parish church, Our Lady Immaculate, which stood on St Domingo Road until it was demolished in the early 1990s.
It was said at that time to be unsafe, though I felt – and still feel – that it was a pity that this relic of the early Victorian growth of Catholic Liverpool wasn’t somehow preserved.
For details of Mike Higginbottom’s lectures on Liverpool architecture, please click here.
For details of Mike Higginbottom’s lecture Survivals & Revivals: past views of English architecture, please click here.
The 68-page, A4 handbook for the 2011 Liverpool’s Heritage tour, with text, photographs, maps, a chronology and a reading list, is available for purchase, price £15.00 including postage and packing. To view sample pages click here. Please send a cheque, payable to Mike Higginbottom, to 63 Vivian Road, Sheffield, S5 6WJ.