top of page
An old Liverpool Church - St Luke's, Bold Place - was completely gutted by fire. Only the burned-out shell remains. Very few of the historic properties could be saved, but among those which were brought out of the reach of the flames were the lectern, two memorial chairs, a memorial desk and most of the altar cloths.
The bells of St Luke's crashed to the ground soon after the fire obtained a fierce hold. Everyone of the stained glass windows, installed scores of years ago, was destroyed.
The Liverpool Blitz was the heavy and sustained bombing of the city of Liverpool and its surrounding area with Bootle and Wirral the most heavily bombed areas of the country outside of London, due to their importance in the British war effort. St Luke's was hit by an incendiary device just after midnight on Tuesday May 6th 1941 and the resulting fire was described by the Liverpool Echo as "magnificent". Photographs of the clock from the aftermath show the hands at 03.36 meaning that this would have been when the fire reached the upper stories of the tower. Although the bell frame remained intact, 3 of the bells were badly cracked and broken whilst the further 5 bells fell to the floor of the tower.
Since the church was hit and fire damaged and in the subsequent closure of the building, many ideas have been put forward for its use.
There have been suggestions to turn it back in to a Church, to have the whole building 'put back' with stained glass windows and a roof. However, it should continue to stand as a memorial to the fallen in the War. Apart from general repairs and keeping everything secure, it should be left as it is and no one should be able to change that. One of the ideas for the tower would be to have another ring of bells installed in to the tower and have this tower once again sounding out across the city leaving the church body as it is. This would certainly put the church and tower back on the map.
However, one item that is missing from the tower is a roof. Currently, still open to the weather is the first ever cast iron bell frame in the world sitting there without any protection. This is one item that remains in the tower and is historically important to keep before it is resigned to a scrap of rust. I believe that capping the tower would not make any external change to the look of the tower, yet would give the tower, bell frame and clock a water tight area so that our history can be preserved.
THE RESTORATION OF ST LUKE'S
St Luke's Church was bombed in 1941, and has remained roofless since. In 2015, plans were put in place to repair parts of the structure. Crumbling stonework, currently being held up by metal supports, would be repaired while a roof over the south tower vestry would be added.
The repair work took 2 years, and the church was finally opened again in 2017. Prior to this, the last official visit to the bell chamber for inspection was back in the 1990's. The following images have been supplied by Terry Toc Ocallaghan and show the restoration of the floors of the clock chamber, cleaning of the world's first metal bell frame, new access points within the tower, and a new roof for the tower. Whereas the bell frame of 1828 was open to the air from 1941, it has now been preserved for future generations! My thanks to Terry to allow me to display these pictures.
I was recently contacted by a student who is doing a 'reconstruction' project on St Luke's Church for University. David Oldham has brought the 1930's photographs taken by Jean Parry in to 'life' and now shows how the church would have looked upon completion.
This are the first true 3D designs of St Luke's Church from many angles and show how beautiful the building was before WW2. While I am on the fence to have the church restored and or to leave it like it is, I'd love to see it returned to its former glory after seeing these images! Top marks to David for his stunning work for all to see.
THE HISTORY OF ST LUKE'S BOMBED OUT CHURCH
bottom of page