This week Heritage Open Days starts, an annual event. From July I start looking at their website to see what new places I can visit, especially as I follow them on Facebook and I see there many updates. The first thing I’ve visited this year was St Anthony’s Church in Liverpool. That’s the best part of these events, I get to see local places I wouldn’t have known about if it wasn’t for the Heritage Open Days.
St Anthony’s Church is a catholic church on Scotland Road, relatively close to the city centre. It has a very different architectural style and I found that fascinating. I’ve extracted a few interesting information from the church’s website.
Reverend Jean Baptiste Antoinet Gerardot, a French refugee priest, wanted to build a church in the area, and he managed to do that in 1806. He died in 1826, but, due to the amount of migrants arriving in the area, a new and bigger building was needed. It was built in 1833, following the designs of John Broadbent. Now it is a Grade II listed church. It is unusual because it has no pillars inside. In the 1830s it was the principal Irish church, with the Irish population growing in Liverpool.
The no-pillar architecture gives it a modern feel, but it is an 185 years old building.
The Peter Conacher pipe organ, dating back to 1861, is the oldest instrument by this firm still in existence.
I’m not sure if the crypt is open for the public through the year. Some slabs are a bit wobbly, as one can expect and the corridor is quite small.
The crypt contains 660 individual burial vaults and has the function to support the roof too. When I saw the crypt I immediately thought of Via Appia and the burial vaults from there. Not surprisingly, my husband said the same thing when I showed him the pictures.
I loved the crypt, it has a Victorian Gothic style I like.
St Anthony’s Church is on Scotland Road, Liverpool, Merseyside, L55BD. There are a few places for on-road parking nearby, and very good public transport links. The church takes about 30 minutes to see, crypt included, unless you are attending a tour. If you want to know more, there is a book about this church, written by the church Archivist, Michael O’Neill, entitled A History of St Anthony’s Parish, Scotland Road, Liverpool, published by Gracewing in 2010.