The site of St Luke's was granted to the town by Lord Derby in 1791 it was a condition of his gift that the land should never be devoted to any other purpose than the site of a Church. The foundation stone was laid on the 9th of April 1811 by James Drinkwater Esq, the Chief Magistrate of Liverpool. The design of the church had been drawn up by John Foster Snr and the church was built by his son, John Foster Junior, the Corporation architect and surveyor. In addition to being a parish church, it was also intended to be used as a venue for ceremonial worship by the Corporation, and as a concert hall. St Luke's was badly damaged during the Liverpool Blitz in 1941, the church 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 after the fire 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.
The building was earmarked for demolition in the 1950s and 1960s, but came to be regarded as a war memorial to the civilian casualties from the Second World War in Liverpool and from 2007 till 2014, Urban Strawberry Lunch organised the day-to-day maintenance of St Lukes. A calendar of regular exhibitions and events took place inside the grounds. In addition to this, they arranged showings of films, and many dance, poetry, and drama performances.
Known locally as ‘The Bombed Out Church,’ the iconic structure is now undergoing building work to repair damaged stoneworks, to fix the tops of the exposed walls, and to remove vegetation from the brickwork. It is expected that the final phase of work could be completed in November 2016 and the church reopened to the public in December.
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