High Park Street, Toxteth, Liverpool 8
A dignified and well-proportioned church with high quality altar fittings and notable Stations of the Cross. With the slightly later presbytery it forms a significant group of historic buildings at the heart of the Dingle.
A school-chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel was built in Chipping Street, Toxteth in 1865 to relieve pressure on St Patrick’s. The congregation transferred to High Park Street after the new church was opened by Bishop O’Reilly on 21 July 1878. It is by the Liverpool architect James O’Byrne, who also prepared the designs for the presbytery, built slightly later in 1880-1.
The church dates from 1876-8. It is built of bright red brick and red sandstone, and consists of a tall nave with side aisles and clerestory. On the street frontage is a lean-to narthex with three doorways, the central one having two separate doors. To the right is the baptistery. The windows have geometric tracery and the doorways, in Pevsner’s words, have ‘quadrant jambs and arches dying into them, a motif typical of the most progressive work during the last quarter of the nineteenth century’.
The interior, like the exterior is simple but well-proportioned, a five-bay nave with aisles, clerestory with paired lancets, a shallow sanctuary and flanking chapels. A series of confessionals run along the south aisle. The roof timbers are exposed below a plain plastered ceiling, which runs through without interruption into the sanctuary. The arcades have cylindrical polished granite columns and foliage stone capitals carved by Hanley of Chester. Between the springing of the arcades are small figures of angels with trumpets, set on plaster corbels. The sanctuary and chapels all have elaborate late nineteenth century alabaster and marble reredoses, altars and altar rails, and the high altar reredos has painted scenes of angels. May Greville Cooksey painted the Stations of the Cross in 1928. At the north east is an organ loft with timber gallery front, and below is a plaster statue of St Bernard. The baptistery is no longer in use, and the marble font has been moved to the left of the sanctuary. The pews are modern.
Architect: J. O’Byrne
Original Date: 1876
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed