Most cities have a cathedral, you can expect it to be biggish, ancient and full of dead worthies and their memorials. But Liverpool was a small town until the 18th century when it became a major port, and since then there have been a lot of Irish immigrants, so they have a catholic cathedral, so when in Liverpool you have to remember to specify which one you are talking about or asking directions to. It is the biggest in England.
You can see it from Toxteth:
It teeters on the edge of a large quarry which I guess is the source of the stone it was built from, so the quarry was used as a graveyard complete with catacombs, but they have mostly been cleared.
This is a memorial to the ‘indefatigable’ Catherine Wilkinson who pioneered the building of bath houses for the poor, a very worthy Victorian cause.
These memorials have been arranged like a chess set.
This huge memorial is to William Huskisson, MP for Liverpool who died on 15 Sep 1830 by stepping into the path of a railway carriage. It was the inaugural trip of the new fangled system, and what should have been a celebration turned into the opposite.
At the entrance to the cathedral is the funeral chapel, a fine one it is too.
Inside is another fine memorial, to merchant Wiliam Ewart, ‘a virtuous and amiable man’.
Inside it is impressively large and spacious
It even has a bridge for tourists
Some stained glass windows. A good mix of colour and light
The huge high altar
The lady chapel – bigger and more ornate than most parish churches
The baptismal font. Big, isn’t it? It is in the transept so I couldn’t get it all in one shot.
This is where I realised it was all a bit too much. Baptism is when a child or baby is welcomed into the community. It is a gathering of friends and family. This font is not welcoming. It is too tall, too harsh, too architectural, not enough humanity. Too masculine perhaps? This is not speaking of a gentle god, one who forgives, and protects his followers, but one who is marking territory.
Maybe it’s me, but I love a good memorial on the wall. I like to see the names of family members, maybe smile at some archaic name or terminology, a sense of longevity, a feeling that people have worshipped here for longer than I can comprehend. This cathedral is impressive, no doubt about that. But it didn’t make me want to linger or return.