A tale of two cathedrals

Liverpool is home to two of the most magnificent cathedrals in the United Kingdom: the Liverpool Cathedral and the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral. These architectural marvels, though distinct in style and history, stand as symbols of faith, resilience, and the artistic spirit of the city. Whilst us local’s are used to our Liverpool cathedrals we never tire of the look on our guest’s faces when they witness Paddy’s wigwam for the first time.
Here’s our take on the awe-inspiring stories and features of these iconic landmarks.

Liverpool Cathedral: A Testament to Gothic Revival

Liverpool Cathedral, also known as the Anglican Cathedral, is an imposing structure that dominates the city’s skyline. The journey to its completion was a long and arduous one, beginning in 1904 when the foundation stone was laid.
The vision of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, a 22-year-old architect who won the design competition, was realized over several decades. I don’t know what you were doing when you were 22 but I wasn’t designing cathedrals, that’s for sure.
Despite numerous interruptions caused by two World Wars, the cathedral was finally consecrated in 1924, though construction continued until 1978.

Architectural Grandeur
Standing at an impressive height of 331 feet, Liverpool Cathedral is the largest cathedral in the UK and the fifth largest in the world. Its Gothic Revival architecture is characterized by soaring arches, intricate stone carvings, and an extensive use of stained glass. The cathedral’s tower offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city and beyond, accessible via a lift and a climb of 108 steps.

One of the cathedral’s most remarkable features is the Great West Window, a stunning example of stained glass artistry. Additionally, the cathedral houses the largest organ in the UK, with 10,268 pipes, and a peal of bells that includes the world’s heaviest and highest ringing peal.

Another point of interest in the building is the placement of a traditional red phone box, the type no longer seen ono our streets. The reason for this is that our 22 year old architect friend Giles Gilbert Scott also designed this iconic work.

Cultural and Spiritual Hub
Beyond its architectural splendor, Liverpool Cathedral serves as a vibrant cultural and spiritual center. It hosts a variety of events, from classical concerts and art exhibitions to community gatherings and religious services. The cathedral’s dedication to inclusivity and community outreach reflects Liverpool’s diverse and welcoming spirit.

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral:

In stark contrast to the Gothic Revival of Liverpool Cathedral stands the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, often referred to as the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King. This Roman Catholic cathedral is a striking example of modernist architecture. Its story began in 1933, but the initial ambitious plans were halted by World War II and financial constraints. The current design, conceived by Sir Frederick Gibberd, was completed in 1967.

Architectural Innovation
Nicknamed “Paddy’s Wigwam” by locals, the Metropolitan Cathedral is renowned for its unconventional, circular design and tent-like appearance. The unique structure symbolizes a gathering space, emphasizing the unity and inclusivity of the Catholic faith. The cathedral’s circular layout allows for a central altar, fostering a sense of community and participation among the congregation.

The vast interior is bathed in natural light filtered through an impressive array of stained glass windows, creating a mesmerizing kaleidoscope of colors. The crowning glory is the lantern tower, adorned with vibrant stained glass panels that form a continuous band of light.

Community and Culture
The Metropolitan Cathedral is not only a place of worship but also a hub for cultural and social activities. It hosts concerts, lectures, and exhibitions, contributing to Liverpool’s dynamic cultural scene. The cathedral’s Crypt, part of the earlier Lutyens design, serves as a venue for various events and houses the annual Liverpool Beer Festival.

A Tale of Two Cathedrals
Liverpool’s two cathedrals, though distinct in style and denomination, share a common thread of resilience, innovation, and community spirit. They are architectural masterpieces that tell the story of Liverpool’s past, present, and future. Visiting these cathedrals offers a profound experience, whether you are an admirer of architecture, a history enthusiast, or a seeker of spiritual solace.

How to explore Liverpool

You can find out more about Liverpool on our unique food tours of the city. Running Wednesday to Saturday we visit 5 independently run, local food businesses as we traverse the streets of Liverpool. Stories of music, art, history, hauntings, football and more are regaled to our guests from one of our friendly local guides. Reserve your spots now https://liverpoolbites.com/our-tours/docks-to-dining-the-liverpool-food-tour/

Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral