Metropolitan Cathedral Of Christ The King
Mount Pleasant, Liverpool

Picture Donated by Jonathan P. Neill
 
Designer: Frederick Gibberd
Sculptor: William Mitchell (frontis decoration and main doors)
 
  There is no traditional tower in which to place bells in this cathedral's circular form. The frontis, the upright wedge above the main entrance, is the belfry. The frontis is pierced by four apertures, each containing a bell representing one of the four gospels. Below them, on the vertical surface facing Hope Street, there is a design of three crosses by William Mitchell. The right-hand cross describes the repentant thief and the crown is the thorned crown of Christ the King. Mitchell also designed the main doors which are bronze-effect but made of fibre glass. According to Pevsner, these contain the symbols of the evangelists. These are normally John as an eagle, Luke as an ox, Mark as a lion and Matthew as an angel. Mitchell himself attributes the door carvings to Old Testament scriptures from The Book of Ezekiel and from Revelations, "and the first beast was like a lion and the second beast like a calf; and the third beast had a face as a man and the fourth beast was as a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him and they were full of eyes within." The architectural brief of Cardinal Heenan required the design of the cathedral to incorporate the earlier Lutyens designed crypt. Gibberd did this by roofing the crypt with a large public piazza terminated by two small pyramids. The piazza is a space for an open air congregation and the northern face of the cathedral has an external altar for this purpose. Mitchell is arguably an underrated abstract sculptor whose major works include the Egyptian staircase in Harrods and sculpture for Harlow New Town.

Sources: Pevsner Architectural Guides: Liverpool by Joseph Sharples & http://www.william-mitchell.com/liverpool.htm

Alan Maycock 2007

 

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