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ST LUKE'S CHURCH - LIVERPOOL

(The Bombed Out Church)

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".....STAINED GLASS WINDOWS....."

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.

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6TH MAY 1941 - 03.36AM

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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.

william dobson

METAL BELL FRAME

This picture shows the aftermath of the fire at St Luke's. The roof having fallen in, all wooden panelling and pews have been burnt and the wooden gallery at the back has gone. The pillars had no support after this and they too were taken out while the clean up continued after the war. There are numerous burnt pieces of wood still on the walls in the church today but very little else.

St Luke's held a clock built by Roskell's of Derby. Roskell's of Derby only produced 3 movements. While the clock and all workings crashed to the floor of the tower in the fire, it was very surprising to stumble upon another Roskell's of Derby clock in a building in South Liverpool. This is the picture from the south Liverpool building but it would be exactly as if one was looking at the clock in St Luke's.  The picture is of an 1858 clock movement.

 

The picture to the left shows the interior of St Nicholas Pier Head after it too was hit in the war. The interior items survived, such as the pulpit and the pews. When you look at the damage caused to St Luke's, it is a wonder that the whole building did not collapse.

As with many other buildings in Liverpool that were bombed, our city picked itself up and rebuilt its wonderful buildings for us to enjoy now.