Building » Liverpool – Sacred Heart

Liverpool – Sacred Heart

Mount Vernon Street, Kensington, Liverpool 7

A polychrome red and yellow sandstone Decorated Gothic church on a prominent corner site. The best elevation is the west front, facing towards Mount Vernon Street (now a private street incorporated within the grounds of the Royal Liverpool Hospital). The richly-furnished interior is notable above all for its spectacular alabaster high altar ensemble by Pugin & Pugin.

The mission was founded in 1857 to cater for the increased population resulting from the development of the open space formerly known as Kensington Fields. At first the chapel of the Sisters of Mercy in Mount Vernon Street was used (the site now swallowed up by the Royal Liverpool University Hospital), but in December 1886 the present church and presbytery were completed, from designs by Goldie, Child & Goldie.

In 1891 a magnificent new altar and reredos were installed, executed by Messrs. Norbury, Paterson and Co. with statues by Boulton of Cheltenham, from designs by Pugin and Pugin. In 1894 a large red brick extension and parish hall was built adjoining the original presbytery, from designs by Sinnott, Powell & Sinnott. This was rebuilt in the 1950s following a fire. The Lady Altar was added in c1908, from designs by Edmund Kirby & Sons.

Outside the east end, facing Hall Lane is a stone Calvary war memorial.


See list entry, below. The rich interior also includes altar rails with white  and coloured marbles and pierced oculi; side chapels with marble altars and inset painted scenes (the Lady altar by Edmund Kirby & Sons, with opus sectile panels of the Annunciation); richly carved pulpit on octagonal base; paired Stations of the Cross with cusped ogee frames supported by angel corbels, elaborate timber prie dieu with Gothic canopy and painting of St Gerard Majella in the north aisle, pieta at west end of nave. There is a tiled floor to the nave and aisle alleys. The church interior was internally redecorated c1985 in a warm terracotta colour. At the east end of the nave is a forward timber altar with associated modern furnishings.

There is a Gothic washstand in the sacristy, where also hangs a large and grimy canvas painting of the Coronation of the Virgin and other assorted furnishings.

Adjoining the church at the liturgical east end is the presbytery, part of the original design and also faced with coursed rubble. Paired mullion and transom windows with flat trefoil heads; front projection with embattled parapet at junction with parish hall (a red brick building of 1894, not of special architectural or historic interest).

List description


Roman Catholic church. 1886; designed by the leading Roman Catholic church practice, Goldie, Child & Goldie. Coursed rubble; Welsh slate roof. Plan: nave (7 bays), chancel (2 bays), both with N and S aisles; W narthex and SW transept (probably the baptistery); polygonal apsidal E end (sanctuary). W end stands high above steps with retaining walls, the gatepiers gabled finials and traceried panels and iron railings (all included in this listing). W front: 7-light W window: polygonal turret (to SW) with open traceried belfry openings and spire: 4-bay narthex with 2 2-light windows flanked by side doors. 3 light W window to N aisle. The 2 bay W elevation of the SW transept forms an integral part of the W end composition with 2 plate-tracery windows with parapet. 3-light clerestory windows with alternating form of Decorated tracery pattern; 3-light windows to S aisle only (the N side originally stood adjacent to now demolished buildings and has no windows. 2-light windows to sanctuary, set high over plain walling with tall gabled buttresses at the angles.

Interior: nave and chancel arcades with octagonal piers and deeply moulded arches of equilateral section. Roof principals supported on tall wall shaft and stone corbels. Sanctuary furnishings; an important group designed by Pugin & Pugin (1891): marble (or polished alabaster) panelled reredos of 2 tiers, blank traceried square-headed bays below, those above with Biblical scenes, the principal divisions with niches containing statues by Boulton of Cheltenham (with elaborate canopies and plinths of clustered shafts); richly carved pinnacles and brattishing. Contemporary altar with carved fronted panels and gabled rere-altar with attendant angels. Full set of glass. Painted boarded ceiling.

Listing NGR: SJ3614890831

Heritage Details

Architect: Goldie, Child & Goldie

Original Date: 1886

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Grade II