St George, Liverpool - Church of England
Derby Square, Castle St,
BibliographyThere is an account of this church and St. John's by Mr. Henry Peet in Trans. Hist. Soc. (new series), xv, 2744.
The history of St. George's Church, begins in 1715, when an Act of Parliament was obtained in 1715, (1 Geo. I, cap. 21). Construction began in 1726 and this was on the site of the now dilapidated, Liverpool Castle, the church was completed and consecrated in 1734. The architect was Thomas Steers and in its initial state the 'Stranger in Liverpool' reports that 'it had originally an elegant terrace, supported by rustic arches, on one side; these arches the frequenters of Red Cross market used to occupy'. 'At one end of the 'terrace' '(records Rev. Thom) 'was the office of the clerk of the market; at the other that of the night watch. There was a vault beneath the church for interments. The interior fittings were good. The east window had a picture of the Crucifixion, inserted in 1832. There were originally two ministers, the chaplain and the lecturer, and the appointment was usually a stepping-stone to the rectory.' In its time it was regarded as 'one of the handsomest in the kingdom.' and it is conspicuous on many engravings from this time, both of the City and of the waterfront.
The entire church was rebuilt piecemeal between 1819 and 1825 when structural problems were gradually revealed and a new spire, reduced in height was finally added in 1833. The original having developed problems as early as 1760. The engraving here is shows the rebuilt church constructed after a design by John Foster. This reopened on Sunday September 11th 1825, it also probably shows the 'reduced' spire despite the date of the engraving. Demolition of the surrounding houses began in 1827 and within a few years St. George's Crescent, shown on later maps and also designed by Foster, was built around the church. This was demolished in 1941 following damage during the Liverpool Blitz.
The church was both owned and maintained by the City Council and it was the place of worship for the mayor, council and judiciary. In 1863 however Mr. Charles Mozley, who was Jewish, was elected mayor and at this, the incumbent preached a sermon denouncing the choice. From that time the mayor and corporation ceased to attend St. George's. Having long failed to attract a congregation the church was closed in 1897 and subsequently demolished. In 1902 the site was used for the construction of the Victoria Monument, which survives to this day.
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