Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s Liverpool Cathedral:
Yesterday I had the privilege of visiting Liverpool Cathedral for the second time. Previously I had only viewed it from the outside, where its immense size was impressive, standing like a sandstone fortress on the top of a hill, built to last a thousand years – truly awesome.
On my second visit, I was permitted to enter inside to view the interior. Even more powerful when viewed from within. Designed by my father’s cousin, Giles Gilbert Scott, it is said to be the last of the Gothic cathedrals, the perfection of the genre – not ornate in its decoration, but simple, clean lines with impeccable stone masonry, a masterpiece, the entire ceiling also built of stone, immensely high and long – the longest church in the world, and the fifth largest. Built between 1904 and 1978. Giles won the competition to design it at the age of 22, breath-taking genius.
Because of Covid, the cathedral is closed to visitors, but opens for four hours a day currently for private prayer. I was the only one, apart from a few staff at the back. The place was completely deserted, not a chair or piece of furniture in sight, no wall-hangings or paintings or sculpture, no people. I had the whole incredible space entirely to myself, without clutter or distraction, in its elemental simplicity and purity of line. A unique experience.
The Lost Mines of Moria from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, illustration by Alan Lee
Liverpool Cathedral by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott