Building » Bootle – St Robert Bellarmine

Bootle – St Robert Bellarmine

Orrell Road, Bootle, Liverpool 20

Brick interwar church of neo-Romanesque design by L.A.G. Prichard. The tower is something of a local landmark. Some furnishings of note have survived the 1992 reordering.

The church was built to the designs of L. A. G. Prichard in 1932, partly funded by the will of Nicholas William Jackson (died 1922; plaque at back of church). It was built to serve an interwar housing development on the north side of Bootle.

The church is orientated north-south, but this description follows conventional liturgical orientation.

The church is a substantial neo-Romanesque design in plum coloured bricks laid in English garden wall bond with stone dressings and Westmorland slate roofs. There is a substantial west tower with diminishing brick arches enclosing a west door and choir/organ gallery window above. Above this is a cross recessed in the brickwork on the west face and a tapering upper stage with stone banding, triple arched belfry openings and a raised parapet with a very shallow pediment on each face. The flank walls of the church are simply treated and consist of eight bays, with a high pair of arched windows to each bay.

 The interior consists of a single main congregational space with bare brick walls, under  a canted timber roof.  The sanctuary and  side chapels  at  the east  end  are separated from this space by three arches, the greater in the middle, and these spaces are in turn interconnected by lower arches running from east to west. A further large archway  demarcates  the  area  of  the  former  high  altar,  which  has  smaller  round arched windows in the canted side walls. At the west end there are three large equal arches in which are set galleries and organ (above) and vestibules and the former baptistery (now a chapel) below.

The marble lining of the sanctuary walls, side altars and framed central portrait of St Robert Bellarmine over the site of the original high altar date from the late 1950s. A grand baldacchino was also installed at this time, but this along with the high altar was removed in a 1992 reordering, when the dais was extended forward and a freestanding marble altar introduced (possibly incorporating material from the previous high altar). The present character of the sanctuary is rather bare.   An octagonal marble font with round arched recesses in front of the side chapel in the southeast corner is presumably original, relocated from the original baptistry at the time of the 1992 reordering.

 The nave seating consists of plain benches. There is an attractive set of Stations of the Cross, presumably dating from the early 1930s, with low-relief carving and mosaic backgrounds. Curious low-relief carving is to be found in the holy water stoups at the west end.

Heritage Details

Architect: L. A. G. Prichard

Original Date: 1932

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Not Listed