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All Souls Church, Including Church Hall, Boundary Wall and Gates, Liverpool

Description: All Souls Church, Including Church Hall, Boundary Wall and Gates

Grade: II
Date Listed: 1 October 2012
Building ID: 1405547

OS Grid Reference: SJ4085985668
OS Grid Coordinates: 340868, 385664
Latitude/Longitude: 53.3645, -2.8901

Locality: Liverpool
County: Liverpool
Postcode: L19 4TP

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Listing Text


Anglican church, 1925-7, by DA Campbell and EH Honeybourne of Liverpool. Pale buff brick with some sandstone dressings, pantile roof. Italianate Byzantine Revival style incorporating a tall campanile over 100ft high. Boundary wall and gates, and detached church hall of 1931 also by the same architects

Reason for Listing

All Souls Church, including the church hall, boundary wall and gates, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural interest: the impressive distillation of Romanesque, Byzantine, Italianate and modern stylistic influences is enhanced by the use of pale-buff brickwork, which changes colour with the sunlight and provides sophisticated texture and detail;
* Composition: the church's massive scale and basilica-style plan has resulted in an imposing building with a dominant campanile that acts as a key local landmark and visual anchor within the Springwood estate;
* Interior quality: an elegant interior derived from skilful use of brick and stone and a dramatic sense of space and height achieved by the sheer scale of the interior and the use of soaring Romanesque arches;
* Artistic interest and craftsmanship: the church interior incorporates a richly detailed font and pulpit produced by the nationally renowned sculptor, Herbert Tyson Smith, and quality architect-designed furnishings including carved walnut choir stalls, lectern and altar rails with dark, patterned inlay;
* Intactness: despite some minor alteration to both the church and church hall, their original historic character and the majority of original features survive, particularly within the church;
* Completeness of the complex: the church, church hall, boundary wall and gates form an important group that share a strong visual, stylistic, historical and contextual relationship with one another.


The original All Souls Church, Liverpool was located in Vauxhall, but became redundant and was subsequently demolished in the early 1920s. A new parish under the same name was then created in Allerton in 1923. Open-air services were carried out until the parish acquired a wooden canteen building that was converted into a church and church hall, and remained in use until the completion of the church that stands today.

A legacy of £10,000 in the will of Sir Alfred Jones (1845-1909), a Liverpool shipowner, had originally been intended to provide for the building of a church in the Mossley Hill area of the city. However, the construction of a Liverpool Corporation housing estate at Springwood (Allerton) in the 1920s meant that there was greater need for a church in this area. The trustees of Sir Alfred Jones' estate subsequently agreed, at the suggestion of Bishop Chavasse, to transfer the project to Springwood.

All Souls Church, Springwood was constructed in 1925-7 to the designs of DA Campbell and EH Honeybourne of Liverpool. The total building costs were £25,000, which did not include interior decoration or furnishings, and although the cost exceeded the original legacy, the trustees agreed to fund the full amount. The £1,500 required for the furnishing of the church was raised by the congregation over a period of several years. The foundation stone was laid on 4 July 1925 by Mrs O Harrison Williams, a relative of Sir Alfred Jones, and the church was consecrated by the Bishop of Liverpool, in attendance with the Lord Mayor and members of the City Council, on 21 May 1927. The consecration ceremony was modelled on the Liverpool Cathedral consecration service devised by Canon Dwelly, and was attended by approximately 1000 people.

Not long after the church's construction the ground floor windows were blocked-up due to security issues. The roof's original pantile coverings were replaced approximately 15-20 years ago, along with the weather vane surmounting the campanile, both in the same style as the originals.

Sir Alfred Jones' bequest did not provide for a church hall so funds were raised by the congregation with the aid of a grant from the Diocese. The detached church hall was constructed in 1931 to the designs of Campbell and Honeybourne, and was built by J Rawlinson and Sons at a cost of £3,897. The foundation stone was laid on 31 January 1931 by the Vicar's Warden and the hall was dedicated on 11 July 1931 by the Bishop of Liverpool. In the early C21 the church hall underwent some alteration, including the replacement of the windows and the conversion of the stage into an office.


PLAN: the church occupies a triangular plot at the junction of Springwood Avenue and Mather Avenue and is aligned north-west-south-east (ritual west-east). It has a basilica-style plan with transepts, campanile and an apsidal baptistery and chancel; the latter flanked by vestry and organ chamber projections. The following geographical references in the description of the church will be referred to in their ritual sense.

EXTERIOR: All Souls Church is an extremely large church dominated externally by a tall campanile set to the south-east corner and surmounted by a cockerel weathervane. Stonework has been kept to a minimum on the exterior, with most of the church's dressings being of the same pale buff brick as the main body. All the elevations incorporate a brickwork band at 3/4 height formed of vertical headers. The church has a mixture of pitched, pantile roofs and flat roofs. All of the ground floor-level windows have been blocked-up due to vandalism.

The west end has a raised gable with decorative brickwork, including a Lombard frieze set beneath an eaves cornice and a partly-recessed brickwork band. The corners of the elevation project forward slightly as pilaster strips and are similarly detailed to the gable, which is also surmounted by a cross finial. Projecting from the centre of the west wall at ground floor level is a polygonal apsidal baptistery that rises up to half the height of the wall with a polygonal roof. The baptistery has a brick plinth incorporating an ashlar foundation stone that reads 'TO THE GLORY OF GOD/ THIS FOUNDATION STONE/ WAS LAID BY/ FLORENCE MARY WILLIAMS/ 4TH JULY 1925'. Above the foundation stone is a small, square stone carved with a consecration cross. The baptistery sides are lit by a series of small, recessed windows with plain glazing set high up the walls with herringbone-patterned, brickwork panels above, and a stringcourse set below the windows' angled sills. Flanking the baptistery are two blind windows in the same style as those to the baptistery with raised brick banding above, along with a single course of pantiles. Above the baptistery is a large circular window set within a stepped surround and enclosed by a circular hoodmould, and separated into three lights by two brick mullions.

The 3-bay nave is lit by tall, round-headed, stained-glass windows to each side, which have decorative brick-arched heads and are set within tall brickwork panels incorporating dentil-style detailing to the top. Attached to each north and south side of the nave are low, lean-to ambulatories, with blocked-up triple-light windows and porches at the western ends. The porch entrances both have panelled double doors set within ashlar surrounds with concave-shaped jambs and heads, and decorative keystones incorporating carved religious imagery.

The north and south transepts are identically styled with raised gables in a similar style as that to the west end with decorative brickwork and partly-recessed brickwork bands, but with the corner pilaster strips rising above the roofline in the form of square turrets with gableted, pantile roofs. Each transept also has a massive, 3-light, round-headed window incorporating a carved relief roundel to the tympanum; that to the north depicts hands holding an open book that reads 'THY WORD IS TRUTH' with a crown above, whilst that to the south depicts a ship, possibly referencing Sir Alfred Jones' occupation as a shipowner and his benevolence to the church.

The square campanile is set to the south-east corner of the church in the junction between the chancel and the south transept, and rises high above the rest of the church with a hipped roof. It has a round-headed doorway to the south side with panelled double doors set within a stepped, brick arch. Three recessed, vertical panels rise above the doorway right up to the belfry level, which is set just below the eaves. These panels are replicated to each side of the campanile, and at the top a centrally-placed, stepped corbel creates paired-arched heads. A series of recessed, round-headed windows also exist to each side of the campanile at each stage. The belfry has three, tall, round-headed openings to each side.

The chancel is lit by a tall, round-headed window to each side in the same style as those to the nave. The east wall has a raised gable with an eaves cornice and partly-recessed brick band. The gable is surmounted by a cross finial. Projecting from the centre of the chancel is a flat-roofed, semi-circular apse that rises to near full-height and also has an eaves cornice and banding detail like the gable above. The apse is lit by five tall, recessed, round-headed windows containing some stained glass and with a stringcourse set below their angled sills. Attached to each side of the chancel at a low level are flat-roofed vestries with blocked-up, square-headed windows to two sides. Both incorporate doorways to the north and south sides respectively. Filling the corner between the chancel and the north transept is a 2-storey, gabled organ chamber that is lower in height than the chancel and transept and is Iit by a large, 3-light, round-headed window to the first floor, with a 3-light, square-headed window to the ground floor below.

INTERIOR: the church interior is tall and spacious and is of mellow red brick, plaster and bare concrete (parts of the walls and ceiling were originally intended to be painted but funds did not allow) with grey and brown brick and stone dressings. These include continuous, narrow ashlar bands to the upper and lower parts of the walls and quoined window surrounds of grey brick. Parquet floors exist to all areas, except the chancel, which has a black and white, chequerboard marble floor. A plain, reinforced concrete, barrel-vaulted roof covers the nave, transepts and chancel, with a groined vault to the crossing, and the main wall piers are carried up as brick arches that divide the separate areas of the church and the roof. All the furnishings were designed by the architects and the woodwork was carried out by a Mr Burden of Liverpool. The original pendant lights have been retained.

The baptistery is set upon a raised platform behind a tall brick arch with an ashlar keystone, and has panelled bench seating alongside the external walls. The part-gilded, stone font, which was presented to the church by the Sunday School children, 1924-6, and was carved by the renowned sculptor, Herbert Tyson Smith is set to the centre of the baptistery. It consists of a clustered shaft supporting a square platform with carved angels to each corner, which in turn support the font's large carved bowl; the lid is of bronze. Set to the centre of the rear wall is a large plaque with a gilded inscription recording the donation of Sir Alfred Jones and the consecration of the church in May 1927.

Each of the nave's three bays on both north and south sides contain 3-bay, brick arcades that provide access into the low ambulatories and two porches. The arcades are supported by stone piers with carved, Byzantine capitals and bases; the piers to the centre are octagonal, whilst those to the outside are square half-columns. Above the arcade spandrels are carved relief, terracotta roundels depicting crosses, with patterned brickwork in mellow red and brown brick above.

The north side chapel has a raised platform set to the north-east corner, upon which is a timber altar. The lower part of the east wall behind is curtained, and to the upper part is a narrow, round-headed organ gallery. A round-headed doorway to the right of the altar with a panelled door and an ornate bronze fanlight leads into the vestries. The south transept is plain with another small timber altar alongside the east wall and a doorway in the same style as that to the north transept, which leads into the south vestries and the campanile stair.

An ornate, part-gilded, carved stone pulpit sits in front of the chancel arch to the left and was also carved by Herbert Tyson Smith. To the front right of the chancel arch is a carved walnut lectern with dark, patterned inlay. Ramped sandstone walls flank the chancel entrance, which is accessed via a flight of stone steps that are now hidden from view by a modern, stepped stage. Carved walnut choir stalls with dark, patterned inlay exist to both sides of the chancel and set to the rear is the sanctuary, which is set behind walnut altar rails incorporating similarly styled inlay to the lecturn and choir stalls. A timber altar is set upon a raised platform, with the lower part of the apse wall behind covered by curtains. To the right of the altar is a richly carved, part-gilded, stone piscina with a shell-shaped hood. To the upper part of the chancel's north wall is a full-height, grey-brick, round-headed opening containing the main organ gallery, which has a panelled front. Doors off to each side of the chancel lead into the vestries; that to the north also provides access to the organ gallery, which is accessed via a ceiling hatch and ladder in one of the north vestry rooms. A cast-iron spiral stair in the south vestry area leads up to the first level of the campanile and is then replaced by a metal ladder that accesses the remaining four levels, including the belfry. The belfry contains a bell from the original Vauxhall church, which is not in working order.


Church hall: Exterior: set to the east of, and almost at a right angle, to the church is a detached, single-storey, T-shaped church hall of 1931 that was also designed by Campbell and Honeybourne. The church hall is also constructed of pale buff brick and has a pitched, pantile roof and replaced uPVC windows. The front (north-east) elevation faces on to Springwood Avenue and consists of a full-width, flat-roofed, entrance projection incorporating a central doorway with double doors set within an ashlar surround, flanked by two slender lights and an eaves cornice above. Rising above and behind the projection is a gable flanked by corner pilaster strips that rise above the roofline with gableted, pantile roofs. Set to the centre of the gable is a raised, horizontal, brick panel containing a window that is now boarded over externally and internally. The side elevations consist of 4-bays divided by brick piers, each containing a 3-light window composed of slender lights. Attached to the rear of the hall and projecting outwards to each side is an additional bay that forms the hall's T-shape. Doorways exist to both side elevations; that to the north-west side is now accessed by a modern ramp.

Interior: internally the church hall contains a large hall with a floorboard floor and a boarded roof with partly-exposed trusses. A stage at the south-west end has a painted panelled front and has a later, partly-glazed, partition wall inserted against the proscenium. Flanking the stage are two panelled doors in the same style as those to the church, but with two of the solid panels to each door having been replaced by glazed panels. The left door leads into service rooms, such as a toilet and kitchen with modern units, which have quarry tiled floors and retain their original panelled doors with overlights. To the centre rear of the building is a meeting room with another small room to the rear right corner. The stage retains its original floorboard floor and side door access, but has a replaced stair to the north-west side. It is now used as an office.

Boundary wall, gate piers and gates: the churchyard, including the church hall, is enclosed to the north-east, north-west and south-west sides by a low, buff-brick, boundary wall. The wall incorporates square gate piers with patterned brickwork and ashlar caps, and retains most of its original, geometric-patterned, cast-iron gates.

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.