Building » Clubmoor – St Matthew

Clubmoor – St Matthew

Queen’s Drive, Clubmoor, Liverpool 13

St Matthew’s was F. X. Velarde’s first church, designed when he was still in the office of Weightman & Bullen. The building was illustrated in Budden’s Book of the Liverpool School of Architecture. The tall tower has considerable landmark value and the unaltered interior with its Art Deco fittings is notable.

The Clubmoor district is almost entirely an inter-war creation of the City Council’s Housing and Architect’s Departments. The parish was established in 1922, and the first services held in the loft of a cow byre at a local farm. In 1923 the first church was opened (later a parish hall). The foundation stone of the present church was laid by Bishop  Dobson on 19 August  1928,  and  the building  was  opened  by Archbishop Downey  on  16  March  1930.  The  church  was  built  partly  as  a  memorial  to  the Liverpool architect Mathew Honan who was killed in 1916, and who left over £14,000 towards the building of a church.

Roman Catholic church, completed 16th March 1930, designed by F X Velarde, a Lancashire/Liverpool architect of note, built for Matthew Honan FRIBA, killed in action in 1916. Built of red brick with red pantile roof. Plan form: nave and aisles, sanctuary with apsidal end, separate side chapel with connection to presbytery, tall campanile on (ritual) north side with green roof. Church aligned north- west to south-east. 

EXTERIOR: Nave of six bays with paired round-arched windows with metal frames in each bay, divided by shallow moulded brick pilasters. Double string course at height of door top, brick patterning of arches at eaves and round- head arched windows with metal frames throughout. Smaller windows have curved pattern in metal frames. Shallow apse with blind windows at east end not extending to full height of gable end, and sanctuary of one bay. North aisle has continuous parapet and windows in groups of three, and a door at the west end. West end has central doorway with round-arched top, small paired flanking windows and group of three windows above. Campanile attached to the east end of north side, with door to east, paired window to north, the top, in white marble, having a column at each corner with three round-arched openings to each side and a curved mansard roof. On south side, side chapel at east end with canted bay east end and blind window. Single storey corridor to east leading to presbytery. Presbytery beyond (south of) its front door is altered andnot of special interest.

INTERIOR: Arched baldacchino structure around altar, tabernacle and reredos in apse, all designed by Velarde. Mosaic tiling on walls of apse and sanctuary as far as chancel arch with abstract and figurative designs, added later. Broad nave with barrel vaulted roof. Nave arcade of exposed brick with wide arches to narrow aisles and brick pilasters supporting arched roof trusses. Original bench pews with fluted-arched ends, rear rows rearranged around carpeted social space. Relief sculptures of the stations of the cross on nave arcade walls, altar front, and crucifix by H Tyson Smith. Organ loft and gallery at rear of nave above central narthex/refreshment area. Marble font without its cover, at the front of the church. Arcade to side chapel blocked apart from entrance door from south aisle. Side chapel has marble altar and painted reredos in apsidal end. Door leading through to presbytery with original windows and doors as far as front door of presbytery, altered beyond.

This Roman Catholic church, designed by the noted architect F X Velarde in 1930, is a fine example of his work, surviving almost unaltered from its original form and displaying a rich and coherent interior.

Last updated: 08.01.2018.

Heritage Details

Architect: F. X. Velarde

Original Date: 1930

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: II