Building » Fairfield – St Sebastian

Fairfield – St Sebastian

Lockerby Road, Fairfield, Liverpool 7

Built to serve what was an affluent community at the time of construction, the basilican design is simple, though not without some architectural interest in the wide west window and the sculptural detail. Inside is a rich sanctuary lined with marble and with an elaborate painted reredos.

In the nineteenth century Fairfield was a new and fashionable suburb. A mission was founded here in 1904, and Mass first said in a room in the convent in Edge Lane. The foundation stone of the present building was laid by Bishop Whiteside in 1913, and the church opened in 1914. The architect was Alfred Gilbertson of Liverpool, the builders Messrs Lawrence, Marr & Son; the cost was about £3,500 (The Tablet, 24 January 1914). In 1940 the church was hit by a flying bomb, causing damage in the sanctuary entrance area but avoiding damage to the reredos on the east wall.


The plan comprises a wide aisleless nave, with a small sanctuary and with confessionals and sacristies at the liturgical southeast corner. The exterior is of hard red brick with roof coverings of Welsh slate. The principal west front facing the street is banded with stone and has a projecting centre with a broad four-light window over two pairs of small round-headed windows treated as part of an arcade. Above the main window is a sunken panel with a stone carving of the Crucifixion and over all a wide flat gable with a brick corbel table. The main entrances are in the re-entrant angles. The outer bays of this front have shell-headed niches above single round-arched windows. The side walls of the nave are also stone banded and are divided into six bays by pilaster strips, with semicircular windows at the head of the five eastern bays, under a corbel table. The small square sanctuary has three round-headed windows a side and a pyramidal roof.

The interior of the nave is a broad single volume. The walls have a dado of unpainted brick and are divided into bays by brick pilaster strips. Above the dado the walls are plastered and the whole has a wide curved plaster ceiling spanned by cross-ribs from the pilasters. The windows are mostly clear glazed, though the west window has tinted glass. Across the full width of the western end is a timber gallery with the organ. At the eastern end a broad central brick arch on Corinthian pilasters opens into the sanctuary and is flanked by lower arches leading to the side chapels. The sanctuary walls are lined with marble to half height and plain plastered above. The curved ceiling has elaborate painted decoration and the east wall is filled with a timber reredos with a marble tabernacle and inset paintings of the Last Supper, flanked by figures of Our Lord and St Sebastian.

The fittings include a square stone font, marble altar rails and timber benches, all original (made good following wartime bomb damage). A modern forward altar has been placed inside the altar rails.

Entry amended by AHP 8.1.2021

Heritage Details

Architect: A. Gilbertson

Original Date: 1914

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed