Great George’s Road, Waterloo, Liverpool 22
Stone-built church in fourteenth century Gothic style, one of a number built in the Archdiocese from designs by Edmund Kirby. Although the external design and internal planning are conventional for their time, the church contains a number of fine internal furnishings, notably the high altar and side altars, made by Boulton of Cheltenham from designs by Kirby.
Waterloo grew from the mid-nineteenth century as a seaside suburb of Liverpool. A mission was established in 1868 by Fr Albert Bennett and the foundation stone for the present church laid by Cardinal Manning on 24 August 1875. Manning returned to open the completed church on 19 August 1877. At the west end of the church there is a monument to Richard Honan (died 1973) ‘a munificent donor towards the building of this church’.
The architect was Edmund Kirby, responsible also for the design of churches at Hindsford, Parbold, Chorley, Aintree and elsewhere. The church was richly fitted out over time. The high altar and reredos were added in 1879 (consecrated by Bishop O’Reilly on 1 December that year), from Kirby’s designs and made by Boulton of Cheltenham, at a cost of £1,150. Bishop O’Reilly consecrated the church (and the Sacred Heart altar) on 14 September 1892. Mosaic panels were added to the reredos in about 1920 in memory of Fr Edmund Walsh. The Lady Altar (again by Boulton from Kirby’s design) was installed in 1893 or 1894. The Stations of the Cross (which have been attributed to N.H. Westlake) were installed in 1881, as was the organ; by Isaac Abbot of Leeds (cost £800). White marble communion rails were added in the early 1880s and a large Portland stone pulpit in 1947. These last two were removed at the time of the 1982 reordering by Richard O’Mahony, although the communion rails were retained at the front and sides of the side chapels. In 2005 a new glazed confessional was built in the south transept.
The church is orientated north-south, but this description follows conventional liturgical terminology.
The church is built of course buff sandstone with pink sandstone dressings, under a slate roof. It is built in fourteenth century Gothic style and consists of nave, north and south aisles, canted chancel with flanking chapels, short transepts and a western porch/narthex. There is no tower. The west front faces the street and has a gabled porch projecting from a low lean-to roof, with paired doorways and a quatrefoil oculus. Above this, two tall windows with Geometrical bar tracery flanking a central canopied niche containing a polychrome statue of St Thomas. In the gable, a circular window with Geometrical plate tracery. The flanking elevations are more simply treated, with few and small lancet openings to the aisles, and two plain lancets to each bay at clerestory level. Projecting gabled transepts with Geometrical tracery beyond. Canted east end with three groups of paired trefoil lancets surmounted by sexfoils.
The entrance porch leads into a lobby, with doors right and left into the church. The nave arcade is of five bays, with circular piers of polished granite and naturalistic carved foliate stone capitals (now painted cream). Above this, two clerestory lights per bay, with plain glass. Waggon roof, with the bays marked by ribs carried down on wall posts to stone corbels projecting from a moulded course above the arcades. Projecting timber gallery at the west end, supporting the organ of 1881. Short transepts project from the western bay on either side of the nave. Moulded chancel arch with sanctuary beyond, flanked by Sacred Heart and Lady Chapels.
The church is notable for the quality and quantity of its late nineteenth and early twentieth century furnishings. These include:
*The church closed for parish worship in 2020. The building will become the local centre for the Emmaus Project*
Entry amended by AHP 18.12.2020
Architect: Edmund Kirby
Original Date: 1875
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed