Liverpool of the Future 1934 article depicting the original design for the Roman Catholic Cathedral
Liverpool map in the 13th October 1934 edition of Illustrated London News.
Following the purchase of the 9-acre (36,000 m2) former Brownlow Hill, Liverpool workhouse site in 1930, Sir Edwin Lutyens (1869–1944) 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 (£1.21 billion in 2015), 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.