Affectionately known as ‘Paddy’s Wigwam’ in deference to Liverpool’s strong Irish connections. The Metropolitan Cathedral stands out on the Liverpool skyline with its lantern tower and remarkable circular design.
The Catholic population of Liverpool increased dramatically following the Irish potato famine in 1847, but the dream of having a Catholic Cathedral in the city took many years to be realised. Building of Sir Edwin Lutyen’s design was started in 1933, but only the crypt was completed due to the outbreak of World War II, leading to it being dubbed the ‘Greatest building Liverpool never had’ – a building which would have dwarfed St Peter’s in Rome at 520f (158.5m) in height. A model of this vision can be seen at the new Liverpool Museum.
Architects throughout the world were invited in 1960 to design a Cathedral for Liverpool which would incorporate the existing crypt, could be constructed within five years and cost, at the current prices, no more than £1,000,000 for its shell. Of 300 entries from all over the world, Sir Frederick Gibberd’s (1908-1984) design was chosen, and building began in October 1962. Less than five years later, on the Feast of Pentecost, 14 May 1967, the completed Cathedral was consecrated.
The Cathedral welcomes all to visit or attend its daily services and there is a wide program of choral and musical events which make use of the extraordinary acoustics.
The Cathedral is normally open from 7.30am to 6.00pm, but closes at 5.00pm on Sundays in winter. There is no charge for admission but a suggested donation of £2.50 for the upkeep of the building would be appreciated (£3 to visit the Crypt and Treasury or family ticket £8, 2 adults & 2 children).