Building » Litherland – St Elizabeth of Hungary

Litherland – St Elizabeth of Hungary

Webster Street, Litherland, Liverpool 21

A fairly modest Gothic design by a well-known firm of architects. The interior has been considerably altered.

Litherland was developed as a northern continuation of Bootle in the nineteenth century. Most of it is twentieth century in date. A mission was established in 1905, and Pugin & Pugin’s church of St Elizabeth was built in 1911.


The church is built of red brick with lighter red brick banding and roof coverings of Welsh slate. The building consists of nave and sanctuary under one long roof, with no tower, porch or other projections. The tall west gable is made to stand proud of the main roof by small hips to the lower roof slopes. The gable exhibits a complicated and essentially decorative arrangement of buttresses and stepped single lancet windows. The side walls are divided into 7½ bays by flat buttresses; the western bay on the liturgical north side has a round-headed entrance doorway, with the arch dying into the broad western buttress, and a single lancet; then follow six bays all with triple lancets, then a half bay. Eastwards, the narrower sanctuary projects for a further two bays with single lancet windows high in the wall. The eastern gable wall is blind.

The interior is a wide undivided space with an openwork timber west gallery with the organ, timber dado, plain plastered walls with clear glazed windows and a canted timber ceiling, now painted. Early photographs show that the ceiling was originally designed with conspicuous timber braces to the principal trusses carried down onto timber wall posts. The trusses have now been underbuilt with heavy steel reinforcement and the braces and wall posts cased in a conspicuous and ugly manner. At the east end a tall moulded pointed arch opens into the sanctuary with its elaborate triple-canopied reredos; on the wall above are painted angel figures, the remains of a more elaborate scheme. Again, early photographs show that originally the entire east wall was covered with painted decoration, the high altar reredos was taller and there were two elaborate reredoses to the two side altars. Apparently the side altars were removed, the main reredos removed and the mural decoration painted out in the late 1960s as part of a major programme of alterations and repairs, which also included the remedial works to the roof trusses.

Heritage Details

Architect: Pugin & Pugin

Original Date: 1911

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Not Listed