Liverpool Cathedral, entrance detail

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There are two quite famous churches in Liverpool linked by Hope Street. One of them is Liverpool Cathedral, which official name is the Cathedral Church of Christ in Liverpool. It is the church of the Church of England and also the seat of Anglican Bishop of Liverpool. It was the third Anglican cathedral built in England. It stands on the James’ Mount and is visible from miles around. It is the largest cathedral in Great Britain.

The history of the cathedral started in 1902 when the competition to select a design was held. It was won by Giles Gilbert Scott’s gothic design, although the author was Roman Catholic and not Anglican. Because he was just 22 years old that time, the cathedral committee appointed G. F. Bodley to oversee the design and building work. King Edward VII laid the foundation stone in 1904 and the first part – Lady Chapel was opened in 1910 (mixture of original Scott’s and Bodley’s designs can be seen here). After Bodley’s death in 1907, Scott changed the original two-tower design into one-tower and added some features of modern and monumental style to the gothic design. The main altar was finished in 1924 and then the church was consecrated. However, it has been used for services just since 1940. The tower was completed in 1942 but due to the Second World War works slowed down and the whole cathedral was finished just in 1978, 18 years after Scott’s death. On 25th October 1978 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was present at a great service of thanksgiving that marked the completion of the Cathedral.

The area that is occupied by the cathedral is 9,687 square metres, its length is 188.67 metres. Width is different on different places – nave between centres of pillars is 16 metres, across transepts 60.3 metres and finally width of north façade is 59.7 metres The height of the tower is 100.8 metres what makes it one of the tallest church towers in the world. It also houses the highest (66 metres) and heaviest (31 tonnes) ringing peal of bells in the world. Besides all these, gothic arches in the cathedral belong to the widest and largest in the world as well. Material used for the construction of the cathedral was mainly sandstone.

Admission to the cathedral is free (suggested donation is £3). It is open daily all year-round from 8 am to 6 pm, and regular services are held every Sunday. Besides that, every summer, Liverpool Cathedral plays host to The Liverpool Shakespeare Festival presented by Lodestar Theatre Company.
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