St Philip Neri, Catherine Street

St Francis Xavier, Salisbury Street

St Patrick, Park Place

Three more fine churches, starting with the relatively unknown St Philip Neri, on Catherine Street. Designed by PS Gilby and built between 1914-21, it has a striking Byzantine interior. The church is perhaps better known for its Spanish garden, which was built in the 1950s by the incumbent Dr John Garvey.
St Francis Xavier was originally part of an extensive group of religious buildings which included the former SFX School (now part of Liverpool Hope University). Built to the designs of John Scholes in 1848, it is built in stone in an Early English style of Gothic. The Lady Chapel adjoining the church was added in 1888.
St Patrick’s (1821-27) in contrast, is a strict Neoclassical church. Designed by John Slater, its exterior is lightened by a statue of St Patrick, which came from the St Patrick Insurance Company in Dublin. The huge altar painting is by Nicaise de Keyser of Antwerp (c1834).
Three very fine churches which have survived shrinking congregations and all the other issues facing inner city churches. Two of the biggest problems – vandalism and theft – unfortunately mean that these gems are rarely open to the public, which is a sad loss for a city trying to build up its image as a cultural destination. Open Heritage weeks are fine in a very limited way – but we really should be looking at a more comprehensive policy of opening up such important buildings on a regular basis.

Liverpool’s best churches (2)

3 Responses to “Liverpool’s best churches (2)”