Liverpool’s ‘Third Cathedral’ reopens after lockdown with new exhibit


Atmospheric Metropolitan Cathedral Crypt

Source: Archdiocese of Liverpool

After 18 months of closure, one of Liverpool’s hidden architectural gems has reopened. Lutyens Crypt is launching a brand new exhibit, co-curated by the local community and developed during containment.

The crypt, buried deep beneath the Metropolitan Cathedral, is all that remains of the towering plans for a cathedral for Liverpool, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1930. It was to become the largest cathedral in the world, but the project was later abandoned. The Second World War.

With four expansive neo-classical rooms with intricate brickwork, lead-light windows, and vaulted ceilings, the crypt is an unexpected and ambitious contrast to the striking Modernist cathedral that now sits above it. The dramatic space is often referred to as ‘Liverpool’s Third Cathedral’.

The public can once again visit the atmospheric Lutyens Crypt – which now includes a permanent exhibit exploring its fascinating history and the cathedral that never was. Co-hosted by members of the local community, Secrets of the Crypt takes visitors back through hundreds of years of history to discover the people and stories behind this amazing space, including:

• Apprentice Mason Arthur Brady, 19, who was the only man working in the crypt when his colleagues were called up to fight in World War II. Once called, construction stopped for 15 years.

• The crypt as a central point of celebration and sadness in the city. It became an air raid shelter for the local population during World War II; and later, over a million people turned out for the Pope’s visit in 1982 and an open-air mass for over 9,000 people on April 16, 1989, the day after the Hillsborough disaster.

The exhibit is part of the National Lottery Heritage Funded Metropolitan Perspectives project, which connects members of the local community with heritage and creative professionals to create a range of exciting new experiences for visitors within the listed cathedral. Grade II *.

Volunteer and local resident Debi Eastwood said, “I hadn’t visited the cathedral before starting this project, but loved learning more about its fascinating history. As part of the project, we attended workshops and training days and spent time in the cathedral archives. It’s amazing to think that the things we discovered were incorporated into the final exhibit. I made new friends and learned so much from this project.

The second phase of the project – a brand new immersive audio tour of the cathedral – will launch in mid-October.

Entrance to the crypt also includes access to the glittering crypt treasury, which contains an invaluable collection of church artifacts and sacred vessels – the largest of its kind in the northwest.

The Lutyens crypt is open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are priced at £ 5 and can be purchased at the Cathedral reception desk. For more information visit: or send an email to [email protected]

Key words: Liverpool, Metropolitan Cathedral, Sir Edwin Lutyens

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