To stand at the top of the largest cathedral in the United Kingdom, you enter the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral in England. Find the red telephone booth inside and take the adjacent lift to the fourth floor. Get out, walk around the corner and up a flight of stairs between close-set brick walls. Take the next lift up to the 10th floor. That sound you’re hearing? It’s the wind at the top of the cathedral. Walk 108 steps up the bell tower to the top. Voila! Instant view of Liverpool!
You can listen to me say all that in a 30 sec. video I shot at the Top of the Liverpool Cathedral.
Why is there a phone booth inside the cathedral, you ask? Sir Giles Scott, a Roman Catholic, was 21 when his design was selected for the cathedral; later, he became famous for designing those famous red telephone booths!
For a little taste of the cathedral, watch:
The Liverpool Cathedral successfully mixed different forms of art without cluttering up the space with gaudiness. The pink neon verse below one stained glass window didn’t seem out-of-place at all, surprisingly.
Down the road from the Anglican Cathedral is the Metropolitan Cathedral, a modern building and the largest Roman Catholic cathedral in the United Kingdom. In the past, there was great tension between the Catholics and Protestants of Liverpool, thanks to the large Irish (Catholic) and Welsh (Protestant) immigrant population. The Metropolitan Cathedral, with its crown of thorns (known as “Paddy’s Wigwam”), was purposely built near the Anglican cathedral to bring the two communities together.
The Metropolitan Cathedral was really incredible, both for its rainbow of color and blending of art styles, and for its sheer uniqueness from any cathedral I’ve experienced. It’s a large circular shape, and while it looks like some spaceship out of an episode of Doctor Who from the outside, on the inside it is very much a sacred space.
At the top is a multi-colored, circular stained glass window; underneath is an immense crown of thorns above the altar.
On the outer edge of the main space are individual chapels, as you would expect to find in a cathedral. My favorite was the St. Joseph chapel: the walls were wooden and the gold leaf paintings beautiful on the sparse background, making the small area glow like honey.
Being in the Metropolitan Cathedral felt more like a church than most cathedrals, which can tend to feel more like art galleries or museums after a while. I’m not always one for modern art, but the Metropolitan Cathedral won me over completely.