Thursday, 29 October 2009

St James Church-Liverpool’s Heritage at Risk No 4

This Church on the corner of Upper/Lower Parliament St and Park Lane may be the earliest remaining cast iron structure in Britain. Garade II*
This is the Church that had a giant neon Rabitt bolted to it without planning permission despite being in peril.
It is not a beautiful or monumental structure described by Picton as 'a plain brick building'. But this is none the less an historical architectural and engineering monument, of the greatest importance.

It is now owned by the Churches Conservation trust who, along with English Heretics  and the local Church elders are making, fools of themselves with plans to dig up 7000 bodies and build a block of flats on the graveyard……Poltergeist.
It is Norman in character with its small semicircular headed windows. Its architect was Cuthbert Brisbane who was working on land presented by Lord Sefton for a sum of £3000 raised by 27 shareholders prior to its construction. It was built in 1774-5.
Wrought iron and cast iron were to revolutionise church design and architecture in general in the 19th century. Here we see the precursor to the Albert Dock with its vaulted and iron columned spans and it also led to the more ordinary. Such as, Coleman’s Fireproof Repository, just up Park Lane. Cast Iron columns, the type we see in this Church are quatrefoil clustered, would make it able to build vast open spaces at minimum cost. Making it a valuable style of construction for Ecclesiastical designs.

There was an earlier church with pre-cast columns the Church of St Anne, in St Anne’s Street which was built in 1772. This has now been demolished.
This is on English Heretics National at Risk register and has been for a long time.

Bishop James Jones who supports the current scheme to smack a load of piles through the skulls and bones of the dead bodies in the graveyard, unmarked, as all the head stones have been removed should be ashamed of himself. This Church is more at risk from the people who should be looking after it than the elements. How sad. But how terrible would it be if it was vandalised or set on fire the same as was done St Andrews Church on Rodney Street.

£950,000,000 of European Objective One Money Liverpool has lapped up, by the fat cats, and you cant look after our heritage. Mr Bradley Fireman and Council leader, whose watch could make a visit with his appliance any day to put out a fire should take an interest. In Toxteth where his watch is, so much wasted opportunity still beckons decades after the Toxteth riots.

This once again is in the constituency of her shyness the “Dame of Dereliction” Louise Ellman, who is oblivious to neglect it seems to me.
Quentin Hughes was a Chairman of the then, now largely redundant Merseyside Civic Society and was instrumental in having the Churches Conservation Trust take it on.
Quentin in his book LIVERPOOL City of Architecture states “The Church was declared redundant and was supposed to be cared for against the ravages of vandals by The Churches Conservation Trust. How wonderful it would be if it could be converted into a museum of iron architecture in whose development Liverpool has played such a significant part. However it now looks as though the trust is abrogating its responsibility, disliking, the task of caring for city centre Churches". That was almost a decade ago.
Just who can you trust?

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