Building » Toxteth – Our Lady of Lourdes and St Bernard

Toxteth – Our Lady of Lourdes and St Bernard

Kingsley Road, Liverpool 8

A church of significant interest, both for its accomplished external design, and for the quality of its interior and furnishings. While it has suffered from an unsympathetic reordering scheme, this has not caused irreversible change, and the opportunity exists to restore its former character. 

Built in 1901, Our Lady of Lourdes and St Bernard is one of several large churches erected around the turn of the century in the inner-city suburbs.


The church is one of several in Liverpool designed by Pugin & Pugin; it opened in 1901, and is built of brick with sandstone dressings. The plan comprises a nave of four bays with side aisles and a west organ gallery. The sanctuary is flanked by chapels, and there is a sacristy beyond the southeast corner. As with St Hugh of Lincoln in Earle Road, another of Peter Paul Pugin’s designs, it presents a complex and effective west front to the road. The nave is expressed by a tall central element with twin Perpendicular windows separated by a niched statue, and a rose window in the gable above. To each side are porches which greatly extend the roadside elevation.

An unsympathetic reordering carried out in the early 1980s has resulted in suspended ceilings cutting across the arcades and windows, with the sanctuary and chapels concealed behind a curtain. Partitions formed from  fragments of pews contain a worship area which is set diagonally across the centre of the nave. The western end of the nave and the area below the gallery is used as a hall.

Behind the curtain, the sanctuary and chapels are largely unaltered. The elaborate high altar is raised up eleven steps from the level of the nave and decorated in polychromy. The Lady Chapel has a marble altar and a painted statue of Our Lady of Lourdes. In the Sacred Heart chapel there is a marble statue and reredos, and a stained glass memorial window of 1894 depicting the Sacred Heart. From the sanctuary, the roof can be seen extending unbroken above the suspended ceilings, for ugly as it is, the reordering could easily be reversed.

Heritage Details

Architect: Pugin & Pugin

Original Date: 1901

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed