When I planned the short weekend-get-away with my dad to Liverpool, UK, I didn’t really plan much. Yes, we wanted to have a real English breakfast and we wanted to walk around town. But that was basically all our plans. I knew about the Cathedral of Liverpool so we might go check it out.
As it turned out, there was more than one. We discovered the story behind the cathedrals of Liverpool and I’d like to share it with you.
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Cathedral of Liverpool
We had our breakfast on the first day and noticed a sign directing to the Cathedral of Liverpool. We decided to follow it and soon found ourselves climbing the small hill of St. James Mount. It was rather busy with people heading in the same direction and organ music was spilling from behind the church doors. The howling wind forced us quickly inside, leaving us with no impression of the exterior of the cathedral of Liverpool. Sorry!
Inside we were greeted by an organ concert and great open space. A lot of space. Designed to be one of the largest cathedrals of Britain, this church is of gigantic proportions. We walked around and the music drew me in. The pipes were bellowing their sounds and the acoustic of this church amplified the rich tones.
I was pleasantly surprised to find a nice little chapel, the Lady Chapel which had much more of an old feel to the space than the gigantic more modern church. From the balcony, we had a lovely view down on the chapel.
After this, we headed to the gift shop where we first encountered the lambanana and read about the history of this designer’s creature. During the rest of the weekend, we’d spot a lot more of them on the streets of Liverpool.
The Superlambanana is a bright yellow sculpture designed by Japanese Artist Taro Chiezo. Weighing almost 8 tons and standing at 17 feet tall, it is a cross between a banana and a lamb and refers to the history of Liverpool where historically, both sheep and bananas were common cargos in the city’s docks.
Quote from gift shop of Liverpool Cathedral
Climb the tower of the Cathedral of Liverpool
I made an inquiry to the costs and details to climb the tower of the cathedral of Liverpool. I’m not very fit and struggle with my health at the moment, so taking the lift and only climb 108 steps sounded doable to me. I had a good laugh with my dad, who actually got a discount for being considered a “senior citizen”. In the Netherlands, he isn’t considered a senior for another 5 years so this was a bit of an insult to him. But we joked about it and he gladly accepted the 1 £ discount. I paid 5,50£ and 4,50£ for him.
360 degrees views over Liverpool
We took the elevator to the highest part of the tower and from there started to climb the 108 steps upwards. We landed at the interior ring of the tower of the Cathedral of Liverpool. What a view! 360 degrees of nearly uninterrupted views across the whole city of Liverpool, the river Mersey and the docks. I say nearly uninterrupted because you had to peak through the ‘windows’ of the walls.
— Probearoundthe Globe (@ProbearoundGlob) 13 augustus 2016
From here, we could see the other cathedral of Liverpool and seeing it was so close, we decided to go check it out. We followed the signs and were soon walking in Hope Street. In the middle of the street, we found some nice suitcases stacked on display and took some pictures. We encountered more colourful lambananas and continued to the half-way point of Hope Street.
Meet in the middle
We saw 2 pieces of art and checked them out. It wasn’t until we were already walking away from them, when we noticed the inner sides had faces and were half statues. After reading what the sign said, we discovered these were the bishops of both the cathedrals of Liverpool. They were placed here, in the middle of Hope Street, to symbolize the effort and hope of the 2 different Cathedrals of Liverpool to meet each other half way and live side by side. I thought this was such a nice gesture.
Although I initially thought, Hope Street was named after having Hope and Faith, linking the two Cathedrals of Liverpool together, it is not. The street was named after a gentleman called William Hope, who was a merchant and lived in the street long before both cathedrals of Liverpool were built.
Metropolitan Cathedral of Liverpool
We continued on towards the Metropolitan Cathedral of Liverpool, even more curious. Saying it is different is the understatement of the century. This building is odd from every angle. I find it ugly but that is just my personal opinion and preference for ‘old school’ gothic cathedrals. Again, my dad forced me to go check it with him. He also convinced me to visit the Museum of Liverpool and that turned out great, read my 5 very persuasive reasons to visit Museum of Liverpool.
Cubistic shapes and colourful glass
And I must say, this modern cathedral of Liverpool does have its charm. It lies in its unconventional shape and size. As another organ concert was taking place, we checked out the exhibition about the plans of the cathedral and the struggles to build the structure. Once we did go in, we were greeted by colourful lights, a gigantic chandelier and organ music. We took a seat as we were not allowed to walk around. The interior of the Metropolitan cathedral of Liverpool reminded me a bit of Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. A lot of cubic shapes and forms, many colourful lights and windows but only the reference to nature failed.
Facts about the Cathedrals of Liverpool
Some notes to compare the two cathedrals of Liverpool:
Cathedral of Liverpool
- Cathedral of the Church of England
- Longest Cathedral in the world (189 meters, 620ft.)
- 5th largest cathedral in the world measured by volume
- Completed in 1960
Metropolitan Cathedral of Liverpool
- Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Archbishop of Liverpool
- First plan for a Catholic Cathedral of Liverpool began in 1853
- Completed in 1967
After we saw both the cathedrals of Liverpool, we made up the balance. Of course, it was nice to see the largest cathedral of Liverpool and the 360 degrees views from the tower were stunning. Seeing the odd shaped Metropolitan Cathedral of Liverpool was interesting to confirm what my idea of beautiful in architecture is. But what sticks with me the most, is the story of the two bishops, meeting half way in a city divided by the 2 cathedrals of Liverpool. They found hope in the middle of the street.
Have you ever been to Liverpool? Which of these cathedrals of Liverpool is your favorite? Do you have a story of finding hope in an unusual place? Please share if you can, the comment section below is all yours!