Religious buildings

The industrial period was significant for both church building and church restoration, the latter particularly for the Church of England; most of the country’s leading gothic revival architects designed or restored churches in the region Lancaster’s Paley and Austin (including Edmund Sharpe) were a firm of national importance although their buildings are almost all in the North West (Pearce 2006; Brandwood 2012); Brandwood’s gazetteer of Paley and Austin buildings is arranged by date. The Buildings of England volumes provide summaries of all places of worship and churches, with generally brief information on dates, architects and fittings. Stained glass was created for Victorian and Edwardian churches by national and also regional studios, such as Shrigley & Hunt in Lancaster (Walters 2003).  For Cumbria churches, there is a useful gazetteer of stained glass, covering this period (Smith 1994). The growth in Nonconformist worship generated numerous new chapels in urban and rural settings (Stell 1994). Manchester has the largest Jewish community in Britain outside London; synagogues nationally, and in Manchester and Liverpool, have been researched by Kadish (Kadish 2003; 2006).

After Catholic Emancipation Act in 1839, many new Catholic churches, convents, seminaries and schools were built in the region; the North West had retained a core of Catholic gentry families, but significant new urban Catholic communities developed in the nineteenth century in towns and cities related to Irish immigration via Liverpool. Catholic churches in the North West were assessed for their architectural and historic significance over a period of ten years, by AHP, as part of the Historic England Taking Stock project to enhance understanding of places of worship, particularly before  closure (abridged versions of individual north-west Catholic church reports, in the dioceses of Lancaster, Liverpool, Nottingham, Salford and Shrewsbury, are available online at A national overview is provided by a recent Historic England book on Catholic churches (Martin and Ramsay 2008). Other Catholic buildings such as convents and seminaries are at risk and merit study within a national context. Architects particularly associated with Catholic patrons include JA Hansom (Walters 2003), Edmund Kirby, AWN Pugin and EW Pugin (Atterbury and Wainwright 1994).

Liverpool’s Roman Catholic Cathedral

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