Sunday, January 10, 2010
Richard Downey (1881-1953
He served as Archbishop of Liverpool from 1928 until his death.
It was under his reign that construction of the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King began. The original design by Sir Edwin Lutyens envisioned a huge cathedral that would have become the second-largest church in the world and the world's largest dome, with a diameter of 168 feet (51 m) compared to the 137.7 feet (42.0 m) on St. Peter's in Rome. Building work based on Lutyens' design began in 1933. In 1941 the restrictions of World War II and a rising cost from £3 million to £27 million 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 expensive and so was abandoned with only the crypt complete. Here you see what could have been:
After the ambitious design by Lutyens fell through, Adrian Gilbert Scott was commissioned in 1953 to work on a smaller cathedral design. He proposed a scaled-down version of Lutyens' building, retaining the massive dome. Scott's plans were criticised and the building did not go ahead. Today's cathedral was designed by Sir Frederick Gibberd. Construction began in October 1962 and less than five years later, on the Feast of Pentecost 14 May 1967, the completed cathedral was consecrated. This is what we have today: