Building » West Derby – St Paul

West Derby – St Paul

Town Row, West Derby, Liverpool 12

A good example of a modest parish church in the free Gothic style, designed by one of the leading Catholic architectural firms in the northwest in the early twentieth century. The ample original endowment by a local benefactor means that both the building and its fittings are more than usually elaborate.

In 1879 a site in Bonsall Road was purchased for a ‘school chapel’ to serve the needs of Irish immigrant agricultural labourers and servants in the newly-developed middle class houses of West Derby. A chapel was built in the following year, but was soon found to be too small.  The present site was donated in the 1870s but it was not until 1912, when a local resident named William Leeming bequeathed £6,000 for a new church building and £4,000 for fittings, that a replacement for the old chapel could be contemplated. The foundation stone of the new building was laid in January 1914 and the church was consecrated in June 1915.


See list description, below. The present church dates from 1914, not 1880, as stated. The  sanctuary was reordered 1973-5. The original marble reredos was reduced in height, the marble altar brought forward and the original marble pulpit cannibalised to make lecterns set behind the marble sanctuary rails which run the full width of the church. The sanctuary walls are lined with panelling with low-relief saints commissioned by Fr Van Wassenhove and installed between the wars. The aisle windows are clear-glazed, the three central sanctuary windows have original stained  glass. The octagonal stone and marble stone font has been moved from the baptistery to the place formerly occupied by the pulpit. The timber benches are presumably original. The organ in the west gallery was installed in 1982.

List description


Catholic Church, 1880. Pugin and Pugin. Red sandstone, rock-faced, with blue slate roof. 4-bay nave with aisles under cross-gables, north west octagonal baptistry and short south-west tower. 2-bay chancel and flanking shallow chapels. Free Perpendicular style. West front has 2 pointed entrances flanking buttress with statue in niche above. 2 lancets and higher 4-light window. Tower has irregularly placed stair windows, 3 narrow lights and two 4-light bell openings, cornice and short spire. Canted chancel has high 2-light geometrical windows, flanking chapels have 2-light
north and south window. Interior has round columns with 4 shafts and moulded capitals. Boarded timber rib vaults. West gallery with narthex below. Continuous altar rail to chancel and chapels. Alabaster altars and reredoses. Listing NGR: SJ4017692870

Heritage Details

Architect: Pugin & Pugin

Original Date: 1914

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Grade II