Narrowboat Tacet

Silent Movement - Our gap year travelling the inland waterways

Sunday 29 September 2013

Cathedral City


The two cathedrals of Liverpool stand out among the other city buildings. They are striking and contrasting in style, yet both create a feeling of awe and wonder when you get to visit.


We first of all went to the Anglican Cathedral built up on St James’ Mount. As cathedrals go it is a modern building, designed by Giles Gilbert Scott and was finished in 1978, after some 60 years work. It is renowned for its size and dimensions: the fifth largest Anglican Cathedral in the world,  highest and widest gothic arches; heaviest and highest peal of bells, largest organ amongst others.

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To be truthful, I find it all a bit too big and intimidating to feel comfortable there.  It would be good to hear choirs singing though and what that sounds like here.  An organist was playing quietly, which was nice.

I do think it lacks scripture verses and biblical references, a bit disappointing for that.



We walked along Hope Street which links the two cathedrals to the Catholic one, known affectionately here as Paddy’s Wigwam after the large number of Irish immigrants who settled here.

The Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King (its more proper name) sits on Brownlow Hill, the site of a former workhouse. This very modern style building was designed by Frederick Gibberd and  completed in 1967, in just 5 years, making it older than the Anglican Cathedral.


Once inside, it again fills you with awe: it is light and set out in a circular pattern with the altar in the middle, and coloured glass from the lantern tower illuminating the glittering ‘crown of thorns’ sculpture underneath.

There are chapels around the outside of the main area, quiet areas focussing on Remembrance, Unity, Reconciliation, Amnesty, a Children’s chapel and the ‘Way of the Cross’ is marked on the walls with sculptures too.

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There wall hangings and carvings and sculptures depicting various Bible stories and themes.  I like the one of Abraham with the ram caught in the thicket, a substitute for sacrifice, in the place of Abraham’s son Isaac.

The organist was playing here too, and I enjoyed listening to the music as we wandered round. I think I prefer this church really, they are both inspiring, but this one less intimidating, more intimate.

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