Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, Mount Pleasant, Liverpool, Združeno kraljestvo

Website of the Sanctuary

011 + 44 0151 709 9222

Every day: 7.30am – 6.00pm

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King is a dramatic icon of faith, architecture, and human endeavour. An awe-inspiring landmark on the Liverpool skyline that you will not want to miss.

The Cathedral is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Liverpool and the seat of the Archbishop of Liverpool, the spiritual leader of the whole Northern Province of the Catholic Church in England. If you are in Liverpool also check The Parish Church of St Vincent de Paul.

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Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral

A Brief History of the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral

The spirit of the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral is deeply embedded in its fascinating history – a tale of determination, tenacity and conviction that, despite the odds, saw architects, builders, craftsmen, residents and church elders work together to fulfill their holy ambition. To create a place of special, deeply spiritual resonance for all who use it.

The striking design of the present Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral is actually the fourth attempt by the Catholic Church in the North West of England to build a mother church for the Liverpool diocese – and the culmination of a story that stretches back over a century.

The intriguing tale of each attempt can be explored below, including a section about the former workhouse, the largest in Europe, on whose site the cathedral now rises.

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Lutyens Crypt & Treasury

The Crypt is reached by a glazed link, found to the right of the Blessed Sacrament chapel, which leads to a glass rotunda housing a spiral staircase and lift. The Crypt is the only part to be built of the uncompleted Cathedral designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1930.

The first mass was celebrated in the unfinished Crypt in 1937 and a Pathé News clip records this event. With its high barrel and vaulted ceilings and dark brick work and contrasting grey granite, it gives some feel of the grandeur of the magnificent cathedral planned to stand above it.

There is a charge of £3 per person to visit the Crypt of the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral and its Treasury. A family ticket is £8.00 for two adults and two children. School parties are charged £2 per person. Tickets for admission can be obtained from the Golden Book Office, situated within the Cathedral, or from the Gift Shop which is located at the foot of the main approach steps.

Designed with a symmetry that was typical of Lutyens, there are two halls (the Pontifical Hall and the Crypt Hall) and two chapels (the East Chapel of St Nicholas and the West Chapel, now the Concert Room) that mirror each other almost exactly.

The Lutyens Crypt and the Treasury are open between 10.00am and 4.00pm, Monday to Saturday (last visit at 3.30pm).

The Chapel of St Nicholas 

This Chapel is where the people of the Cathedral’s parish worship. Facing East, it is adorned with carved wooden Stations of the Cross and in the left aisle there is a bronze statue of the Madonna and Child by David John.

There are also a number of wall hangings including one of St Nicholas, patron of Saila and of the City of Liverpool, to whom this chapel is dedicated. Over the small altar to the left is David John’s beautiful bronze statue of Our Lady of Liverpool.

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Lutyens Crypt & Treasury

The Crypt is reached by a glazed link, found to the right of the Blessed Sacrament chapel, which leads to a glass rotunda housing a spiral staircase and lift. The Crypt is the only part to be built of the uncompleted Cathedral designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1930. The first mass was celebrated in the unfinished Crypt in 1937 and a Pathé News clip records this event. With its high barrel and vaulted ceilings and dark brick work and contrasting grey granite, it gives some feel of the grandeur of the magnificent cathedral planned to stand above it. There is a charge of £3 per person to visit the Crypt and its Treasury. A family ticket is £8.00 for two adults and two children. School parties are charged £2 per person. Tickets for admission can be obtained from the Golden Book Office, situated within the Cathedral, or from the Gift Shop which is located at the foot of the main approach steps.

Designed with a symmetry that was typical of Lutyens, there are two halls (the Pontifical Hall and the Crypt Hall) and two chapels (the East Chapel of St Nicholas and the West Chapel, now the Concert Room) that mirror each other almost exactly.

The Lutyens Crypt and the Treasury are open between 10.00am and 4.00pm, Monday to Saturday (last visit at 3.30pm).

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THE CHAPEL OF ST NICHOLAS
This Chapel is where the people of the Cathedral’s parish worship. Facing East, it is adorned with carved wooden Stations of the Cross and in the left aisle there is a bronze statue of the Madonna and Child by David John. There are also a number of wall hangings including one of St Nicholas, patron of Saila and of the City of Liverpool, to whom this chapel is dedicated. Over the small altar to the left is David John’s beautiful bronze statue of Our Lady of Liverpool.

THE PONTIFICAL HALL
When the Crypt was first opened, the Pontifical Hall served as the Cathedral whilst the varying stages of building work continued above. A sanctuary and high altar was created between the granite columns at the West end where the Treasury is now housed. There are a number of displays illustrating the rich and varied history of the Metropolitan Cathedral. An audio-visiual presentation tells the history of the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral. The Pontifical Hall can also serve as a space for social engagements.

CHAPEL OF RELICS
This smaller chapel is separated from the Pontifical Hall by the astonishing rolling stone gate. This six-ton marble disc is fretted in order to provide a glimpse into the chapel where there are the tombs of three former Archbishops of Liverpool – Thomas Whiteside (1894 – 1921), Richard Downey (1928 – 1953) and George Andrew Beck (1964 – 1976). Rolling open and closed it alludes to the stone which sealed the tomb of Christ.

Lined with Travertine marble, the chapel gives some inkling of the magnificence of what might have been had the Lutyens project been completed. However this chapel is itself incomplete as it should have been two more bays in depth.

THE TREASURY
Between the six granite columns at the West end of the Pontifical Hall is the Cathedral’s Treasury which was opened in 2009. Eighteen glazed cases contain some of the collection of artefacts which have been made for, given or entrusted to, or collected by the Cathedral as part of the Catholic heritage. It consists mainly of sacred vessels and vestments used in the liturgy (public worship) of the Western Church. Many represent the highest levels of design and craftsmanship from different periods and places, and others have historical interest. Some are still in current use whilst others represent past eras, including some items actually designed by Edwin Lutyens himself. The collection includes items formerly held at Upholland College, the diocesan seminary (now closed) as well as artefacts from churches of the diocese.

THE CRYPT HALL
Parallel to the Pontifical Hall, this great chamber stretches some forty metres in length. Its original purpose within Lutyens design was as a lower sacristy – a vestry where some 100 priests might be able to robe. Above would have stood the upper sacristy where many more priests could prepare for services and above that again, the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral Library. The Hall is now used for social functions such as dinners, conferences and exhibitions. Additionally, universities and other professional bodies use the space on occasions as an examination hall. Leading off from the Hall there is a state of the art kitchen enabling caterers to provide for large numbers of diners.

CONCERT ROOM
Just as the Crypt Hall mirrors the Pontifical Hall, so the Concert Room is a replica of the Chapel of St Nicholas, only facing West. Originally designed as another chapel, it now serves as the venue for chamber concerts arranged by the Cathedral Concerts Society and perfomed mainly by the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral Orchestra and Choirs. Equipped with a stage of flexible design and tiered seating for singers, the acoustic qualities of the room enhance the sound of instruments and voices. The Concert Room can also be used for dinners and social events.

Directions to the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral on foot, by bus, car or coach or by train.

Further useful information for visitors to the city can be found in the Getting Around Liverpool guide. The Merseytravel Journey Planner Apps can help you plan your journeys around the city.

ON FOOT

From the city centre the Cathedral is about a 10 minute walk. There are signs throughout the city centre directing visitors to the two cathedrals. Head for the Adelphi Hotel and then walk up Mount Pleasant which runs from the right of the hotel as you face it, and is the right hand of the fork, keeping to the right of the multi-storey car park.

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BY CAR

If using satnav, please input L3 5TQ , or Mount Pleasant. Alternatively follow the brown tourist signs for the Cathedrals or Liverpool University. There is a car park underneath the Cathedral which is normally available to visitors.

From the M62 follow brown tourist signs to Cathedrals. From the M53 take the Wallasey Tunnel, or from the Wirral take the Birkenhead Tunnel, and follow brown tourist signs to Cathedrals. There is a toll of £1.70 for cars using the tunnels.

BY BUS

The City Sightseeing Bus Tour or City Explorer Bus Tour visit and stop at the Metropolitan Cathedral, where visitors can hop-on and hop-off the tour and rejoin it later.

From City Centre Liverpool One bus station, take buses 14, 82E or 86C. From City centre Queen Square bus station, take buses 79 or 61.

For comprehensive travel information click here or call Traveline on 0870 608 2608.

BY COACH

If using satnav, type in L3 5TQ, or Mount Pleasant. Coaches can be parked short term at the cathedral. For longer stays please consult Coach Map (courtesy of Liverpool City Council).

BY TRAIN

Mainline trains terminate at Lime Street Station. The cathedral is about a 10 minute walk from the station. On leaving the station, turn left on to Lime Street and then left again up Skelhorne Street. This joins Copperas Hill. At the traffic lights turn right on to Russell Street. Turn left at the traffic lights on to Brownlow Hill. The Cathedral is clearly visible from there.

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Merseyrail information can be found at their website. Central Station is the nearest Merseyrail station to the cathedral. On exiting the station via the main entrance, turn right and walk up the hill. The Adelphi Hotel is obvious across the road. Take the right hand fork to the right of the hotel – Mount Pleasant – and walk up the hill to the cathedral which is on the left at the second set of traffic lights.

  • Weekdays: 8.00am; 12.15pm; 5.15pm
  • Saturday: 9.00am
  • Sunday:  8.30am 10.00am, 7.00pm

 

A Brief History of the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral

The spirit of the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral is deeply embedded in its fascinating history – a tale of determination, tenacity and conviction that, despite the odds, saw architects, builders, craftsmen, residents and church elders work together to fulfill their holy ambition. To create a place of special, deeply spiritual resonance for all who use it.

The striking design of the present Cathedral is actually the fourth attempt by the Catholic Church in the North West of England to build a mother church for the Liverpool diocese – and the culmination of a story that stretches back over a century.

The intriguing tale of each attempt can be explored below, including a section about the former workhouse, the largest in Europe, on whose site the cathedral now rises.

Come Holy Spirit - T-shirt. Wear positive and blessed words.

The First Attempt to Design a Cathedral for Liverpool

In pre-Reformation days Liverpool had no Cathedral. It belonged for several centuries to the Diocese of Lichfield, or Lichfield and Coventry, until, at the Reformation in the time of Henry VIII, it came under the newly constituted Diocese of Chester. After the Reformation the Roman Catholic religion was proscribed and could only be practised in secret. It was not until the restoration of the hierarchy in 1850 that the normal structure of dioceses was re-established for Catholics. The first Bishop of the new diocese of Liverpool was George Brown, until then Vicar Apostolic or administrator of the Lancashire District of the Catholic Church in England. His Co-adjutor or Assistant Bishop was Alexander Goss.

As a young priest Fr Goss had been a teacher and subsequently Vice-President at the junior seminary for the training of priests which had been set up in 1845 within the walls of one of Liverpool’s older mansions, San Domingo House in a road named after it, St Domingo Road. Built by a successful merchant, this stood on a ridge in Everton, commanding a view of the North docks, the River Mersey and the Wirral peninsula.

The Catholic population of Liverpool increased dramatically following the Irish potato famine in 1847, and the restoration of the hierarchy gave Catholics a new status and feeling of confidence. It was no surprise, then, that Co-adjutor Bishop Goss saw the need for a Cathedral. He also saw the ideal site in the grounds of the College at Everton.

The commission to design a Catholic Cathedral for Liverpool was entrusted in 1853 to Edward Welby Pugin (1833-1875), son of Augustus Welby Pugin, foremost architect of the Gothic Revival, who had died in the previous year. The design was a bold one dominated by a massive central steeple. Within three years a usable portion of the building was completed in the form of the Lady Chapel, with an entrance built into the surrounding wall of the College. There it stood for over a century, serving as the church of the local parish of Our Lady Immaculate until the 1980s, when, weather-beaten and structurally unsafe, it was demolished.

Meanwhile the attention of the diocese was concentrated on more pressing needs – parish churches, schools and orphanages – as the Catholic population increased apace and the completion of the cathedral was shelved.

The Fourth Attempt

Architects throughout the world were invited in 1960 to design a Cathedral for Liverpool which would relate to the existing Crypt, be capable of construction within five years, cost at the current prices no more than £1,000,000 for its shell, and most important of all, express the new spirit of the liturgy then being radically reformulated by the Second Vatican Council. Of 300 entries from all over the world, Sir Frederick Gibberd’s (1908-1984) design was chosen, and building began in October 1962.

A Pathé newsreel showed stages of the building process. Less than five years later, on the Feast of Pentecost, 14 May 1967, the completed Cathedral was consecrated. The Papal Legate at the consecration service, most appropriately, was His Eminence John Carmel Cardinal Heenan, Archbishop of Westminster, who had been succeeded as Archbishop of Liverpool three years earlier by George Andrew Beck. The long waiting was suddenly over.

Golden Book of Remembrance

Inscribed with over 500,000 cherished names, our Golden Book is a unique lasting tribute which effectively connects your loved ones to the continuing story of our Cathedral.

For the past fifty years donors have been asking for remembrance for themselves, members of their families and friends, and we’ve now amassed some 17 completed volumes of the Golden Book. Donors tell us this is a special, and significant way of remembering those dear to them, while also contributing to our Cathedral’s upkeep. Each donor receives a numbered certificate and those whose names are entered in the book are included in the intention of a mass offered in the Cathedral on the first Friday of every month at 5.15pm. For each entry an offering of £10.00 is requested.

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Donations are also welcome for the Lady Chapel, and St Joseph’s Chapel, and one name will be inscribed in the Book of Mary or the Book of St Joseph for each £5.00 received for these purposes. Masses are offered during the year specifically for these donors.

All benefactors are also remembered in a weekly Mass in the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral and we invite you to add your name or the names of those you love to our list of benefactors.

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