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Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ The King, Liverpool, UK in Infrared

Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ The King, Liverpool, UK in Infrared
For quite a few years I worked in Liverpool and got a great liking for the place. It often gets a bad press, but its changing attitudes since the 'City of Culture' celebrations a few years back.

The catholic cathedral, which stands at one end of Hope St, is older than the gothic revival anglican cathedral at the other end. Its a proper testiment to the 1960's, when concrete was king.

The cathedral's architect was Englishman Frederick Gibberd, the winner of a worldwide design competition. Construction began in 1962, and took five years. Earlier designs for a Catholic cathedral in Liverpool had been proposed in 1853, 1933, and 1953, but none was completed.

Sir Edwin Lutyens (1869–1944) was originally commissioned to provide a design which would be an appropriate response to the Giles Gilbert Scott-designed Neo-gothic Anglican cathedral then being built further along Hope Street. 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.

The present cathedral was designed by Sir Frederick Gibberd (1908–84). Construction began in October 1962 and less than five years later, on the Feast of Pentecost 14 May 1967, the completed cathedral was consecrated. Soon after its opening, it began to exhibit architectural flaws. This led to the cathedral authorities suing Frederick Gibberd for £1.3 million on five counts, the two most serious being leaks in the aluminium roof and defects in the mosaic tiles, which had begun to come away from the concrete ribs.

The focus of the interior is the altar which faces the main entrance. It is made of white marble from Skopje, Macedonia, and is 10 feet (3 m) long. The floor is also of marble in grey and white designed by David Atkins. The benches, concentric with the interior, were designed by Frank Knight. Above is the tower with large areas of stained glass designed by John Piper and Patrick Reyntiens in three colours, yellow, blue and red, representing the Trinity. The glass is 1 inch (3 cm) thick, the pieces of glass being bonded with epoxy resin, in concrete frames.

It is certainly worth a visit. A contrast to the concrete of Coventry cathedral if you have ever been there.

IR image taken with an adapted 720nm sensor.

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(c) TonySmith Hotpix / HotpixUK

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