he Black & White Picture Place

Photographs of Liverpool

Liverpool Anglican Cathedral from Toxteth Dock in 1981 and, below, in April 2012.

dock 2012

Our next photograph shows the Cathedral from just a little further up the road 25 years later...

This gigantic building, the swan-song of Gothic architecture in Europe, and one of the greatest cathedrals in the world, was designed by the 23-year old Giles Gilbert Scott after winning a competition which attracted over 100 entries from such eminent architects as Professor Charles Reilley and that master of Art Deco, Charles Rennie Mackintosh- whose unplaced entry greatly influenced the young man's final design.

Actually, his original winning design, illustrated below, was very different from the building we know today, featuring twin towers at the crossing and a choir projecting above the main line of the roof lit by tall lancet windows. Over years, Scott amended and tightened the design and the Lady Chapel was the only part of his original scheme to be completed.

Despite appearances, Liverpool Cathedral is entirely a creation of the 20th century- work commencing in 1903 and finishing just a few years ago. The great tower rises to a height of 331 feet and may be seen from many miles around.

Scott, incidentally, was also responsible for the design of the classic red 'K2' telephone box (illustrated right: the proportions of the two are remarkably similar!) and Battersea Power Station.

A few hundred yards down the road is yet another cathedral, the Roman Catholic one, designed in a much more modern style- after the abandonment of an earlier scheme of which only the crypt was completed- by Frederic Gibberd in 1967, and (because of the large number of Irish craftsmen employed in its construction) often referred to locally as Paddy's Wigwam. A tour of both of these stunning buildings is highly recommended to all visitors to the city.

Much is made of the fact that the road that links the two cathedrals is called Hope Street, where you'll also find Liverpool Art College, the Philharmonic Hall, the Everyman Theatre and some excellent restaurants and pubs.

With the exception of one of Jesse Hartley's Hydraulic Towers on the left of the main picture, the buildings and dock basin in the foreground have disappeared under a car park since the photograph was taken and the entire area is currently subject to a number of competing redevelopment plans.

Compare the image with one made thirty years earlier by the great Liverpool photographer, Edward Chambré-Hardman here

"One of the neatest, best-built towns I have seen in England." John Wesley 1775

"The whole complexion nautical, and so infinitely below our expectations, that naught but the thought of the few hours we had to pass here made it tolerable." Judge Samuel Curwen 1780

"This town is full of Germans, Jews, Welsh, Irish and Dutch; it has its fine sides and the docks are wondrous." Augustus John 1900

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