In my post of February 9th., I listed some of the fine churches that had disappeared. Many were demolished for housing or other developments but quite a number succumbed to vandalism and fire. Whether the destruction of St Catherine’s Church in Abercromby Square was vandalism or redevelopment is a matter of opinion. The whole integrity of the square was quite incredibly broken up by no less a body than the University of Liverpool in their drive for expansion. Street after street of Georgian housing was removed to allow for their vision of a modern campus and John Foster’s classical church of 1829 unfortunately stood in the way. At least until 1966, when it was reduced to a pile of rubble.
The Church of St Chrysostom might strike a chord with those familiar with Liverpool churches. The church of St John the Divine in Fairfield (its prominent steeple is a landmark as you travel along Edge Lane) was by the same, somewhat eccentric architect, W. Raffles Brown. His rather peculiar take on Gothic was regarded as muddled and inaccurate by The Ecclesiologist but W Herdman, at least, was impressed enough to include it his magnificent volume Modern Liverpool, writing that, ‘when we look back forty or fifty years, and see the enormous cost of such abortions at St Mark’s, St Mary’s, Edge Hill, St Anne’s and others and compare the results with the neat elegance as the one before us at a cost very much less, it must be admitted that some advance has been made in the essentials of church architecture.’ A familiar story of changing tastes over a couple of generations. Built in 1853, St Chrysostom, which stood in Audley Street, Everton, was destroyed by fire in 1972.