Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, officially known as the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, is the seat of the Archbishop of Liverpool and the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool in Liverpool, England. The Grade II* Metropolitan Cathedral is one of Liverpool’s many listed buildings. To distinguish it from the Anglican Liverpool Cathedral, locals call it the “Catholic Cathedral”. Nicknames for the building include “Paddy’s Wigwam”, “The Pope’s Launching Pad”, and “The Mersey Funnel”.
Following the purchase of the 9-acre former Brownlow Hill workhouse site in 1930, Sir Edwin Lutyens was commissioned to provide a design which would be an appropriate response to the Giles Gilbert Scott-designed Neo-gothic Anglican cathedral then being built further along Hope Street.
Lutyens’ design was intended to create a massive structure that would have become the second-largest church in the world. It would have had the world’s largest dome, with a diameter of 168 feet (51 m) compared to the 137.7 feet (42.0 m) diameter on St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. Building work based on Lutyens’ design began on Whit Monday, 5 June 1933, being paid for mostly by the contributions of working class Catholics of the burgeoning industrial port. In 1941, the restrictions of World War II wartime and a rising cost from £3 million to £27 million (£1.23 billion in 2016), forced construction to stop. In 1956, work recommenced on the crypt, which was finished in 1958. Thereafter, Lutyens’ design for the Cathedral was considered too costly and was abandoned with only the crypt complete. The restored architectural model of the Lutyens cathedral is on display at the Museum of Liverpool.
Each year the crypt plays host to the Liverpool Beer Festival which attracts visitors, not only from all over UK but also Europe and places such as the United States and Australia. The crypt also hosts examinations for students at the University of Liverpool during exam periods.
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