Thursday, November 11, 2010

Liverpool Anglican Cathedral

Liverpool Cathedral is the Church of England cathedral of the Anglican Diocese of Liverpool, built on St James' Mount in the city centre of Liverpool, England and is the seat of the Bishop of Liverpool. Its official name is the Cathedral Church of Christ in Liverpool but it is dedicated to Christ and the Blessed Virgin. It is the largest cathedral in Britain and the fifth largest in the world which ultimately makes it the largest Anglican cathedral in the world.
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. While 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 changed 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. The tower was named after the Vestey family who made the largest financial contribution to it and therefore it was completed and topped out decades before the western nave was completed.
On the completion of the altar, 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 hindered the work and the completion of the building only came in 1978: too late for Scott, who had died in 1960.
The organ, built by Henry Willis & Sons, is the largest pipe organ in the UK with two five-manual consoles, 10,268 pipes and a trompette militaire.

There is no real comparison in grandiosity between this structure and its modern counterpart, the Metropolitan Cathedral, down the street.  This is truly a superior and awesome structure of the highest magnitude.  Its sheer scale and mass is frightening and will strip any normal man of his pride.  When constructing a tribute to God of this sort, I surmise that it is better not to reinvent the wheel.  The fact that Scott based his design on Durham Cathedral is truly a reflection of the tribute that a sensible architect should offer to his learned predecessors. 
The brilliant part is that he was able to modify the Durham template into something that is a stylistic evolution of the cathedral paradigm.

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