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Our Heritage

In Liverpool, in 1816, a group of prominent businessmen, by no means all of them Catholics, concluded that there was an urgent need for a new Catholic church in the growing South End of the town; they believed that the existing three churches were insufficient to cater for the 30,000 Catholic inhabitants and that a new church near the expanding docks, ship repair yards and warehouses; and the associated sail making, iron, fishing and pottery industries would cater for a population which might otherwise become discontented. The result of their work was the construction of St. Patrick's Church 1821-1827.

Matthew Connor, a local trunk manufacturer, led the Society of St. Patrick which raised £ 14,000, purchased a plot of land  in Park Place from the Earl of Sefton, and commissioned John Slater to design a church capable of seating 1,800 people.


The site was difficult to work, having solid sandstone bedrock into which the foundations of the church crypt were cut; when the project was completed, Bishop Penswick celebrated the opening Mass on 22 August 1827, having agreed to the terms of the Society's lease of 5,000 years, guaranteeing that the ground floor would in perpetuity be freely accessible to the poor and that his successors would keep the building in good repair.


Fr. Francis Murphy (1827-1837 ) was the first rector and later became the first Bishop of Adelaide. Since then, St. Patrick's has had 18 further rectors and 74 curates, the longest-serving priest being Canon Edward Goethals (1863-1921 ). Externally, the church resembles a Nonconformist chapel with its two tiers of windows, pedimented gable and rows of Doric columns; the statue of St. Patrick was given in 1827 by James Brancker, a local sugar refiner.


Internally, the large gallery on three sides is overlooked by de Keyser's enormous painting of the Crucifixion ( 1834 ) at the front and J C Bishop's magnificent pipe organ ( 1830 ) at the back. Between 1827 and 1854 at least 15,000 people were buried in the crypt and the graveyard and the site is regarded as a sacred space, worthy of great reverence.


Large as St. Patrick's was, as the population of Liverpool continued to grow, it became obvious that an additional church was necessary to serve the needs of the local catholic community and its Parish Priest, Fr. Patrick Phelan (1860-1864) took steps to establish the new Mission of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in 1863. Its first Parish Priest was Fr. Michael Donnelly (1865-1881). At first, there was a chapel with a school room in Chipping Street, opened in October 1865; on 16 July 1876, Bishop O'Reilly laid the foundation stone of the new church in adjacent High Park Street. Designed by James O'Byrne, the church was opened on 21 July 1878  the attached presbytery was added in 1880-81. Bishop Halsall consecrated the church on 5 September 1951. Little altered, the well-proportioned interior of the church retains much of its original character and features with quality fittings including marble altars and reredoses, paintings of the Stations of the Cross by May Greville Cooksey and an important pipe organ by Alex Young and Sons of Manchester.

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