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Thread: St. Peter's Church, Church Street

  1. #31
    Newbie Brian Donaghy's Avatar
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    Default The Brass Maltese Cross, Church Street, Liverpool

    The brass cross that was embedded in a granite block as part of the kerb stone in Church St, has always been part of my family history.

    If Dear Reader, you will recall, that during the 50's and 60's an oldish man stood with a religious banner right on that very spot.

    On Saturday 25th October 2008, I visited Liverpool City centre and checked out the cross. In fact, the cross is a Maltese cross and not a conventional cross.

    I discovevered that the cross in now located almost in the entrance of the new shopping arcade. I was able to take some photos with my daughters, a third generation from the craftsman who made the cross, my grandfather.

    His name was Samuel Pilkington, and was a 'White Smith' working for the Liverpool Corporation based in Breckside Park just off Lower Breck Road, Anfield.

    Sam worked for the 'Corpy' all his life, alongside fellow corporation Pavers, who were 'Taylor's' from my mother's side of the family. The original location of the cross was on the Kerb edge of Church St oppoosite the Tatler Cinema. It remained there from when Church St was first designed in the 1920's through until the area was pedestrianised.

    Then the cross was moved further towards the shop fronts, and then it disappeared under builders hoardings until its new location.

    The Maltese cross was made from brass that had been part of the alter rail from St Peter's Church, the Pro-Cathedral.

    It's probable that the paver who carved the recess in the granite block for the cross, was also a relative of mine. I wonder how many people will notice a small brass cross embedded into the new pavement? 'Far too busy dashing backwards and forwards'. I recall there was a plaque on the wall of Woolworths Store in the 1950's - is there any reference to the cross now?

    My grandfather (Pop) still has a son who may know more, if so, i'll come back to you on that. I've not lived on Merseyside for some years, as now living in Cumbria, but whenever I do return, I always look for the cross.


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  2. #32
    Location Kensington drone_pilot's Avatar
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    WOW excellent info there Brian, Looking forward to more.

    PS for those who dont know.

    His name was Samuel Pilkington, and was a 'White Smith'
    A whitesmith is a person who works with "white" or light-colored metals such as tin and pewter. While blacksmiths work mostly with hot metal, whitesmiths do the majority of their work on cold metal (although they might use a forge to shape their raw materials).
    The term is also applied to metalworkers who do only finishing work - such as filing or polishing - on iron and other "black" metals.


    From Wikipedia.
    Last edited by drone_pilot; 10-27-2008 at 12:15 AM.
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    Senior Member burkhilly's Avatar
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    Thanks for the post Brian. I love the cross and to hear the history about it is great. Because it had been hidden for so long, I myself checked it out just last week. Ever since I was a child walking down Church Street, I've always looked out for the cross because it really is part of our heritage.

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    Senior Member dazza's Avatar
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    Default St Peter's Church, Church Street, 1704

    Hi everyone,

    I remember reading somewhere that the design for St. Peter's Church, Church Street [consecrated 1704] was based on Wren's rebuilding of St. Andrew's Church, Holborn, London [1686]. I can't remember where I read this, but has intriged me ever since. I took some pictures of St Andrew's for comparison.

    Does anyone have any information, or sources to back this up?

    St Andrew's wasn't burn down during the great fire of London [1666] but was in such a state, that they decided to rebuild it anyway - only the original tower was kept, prior to the rebuild in 1686. The tower itself, was reclad in 1704, the same year that our own St. Peter's opened it's doors.
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  5. #35
    Partsky
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    Once again, superb stuff, Darren. Thank you so much for another wonderful post

  6. #36
    Senior Member underworld's Avatar
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    Where on Church Street was it? Was it opposite Marks and Spencer and in front of the Bluecoat?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Partsky View Post
    Once again, superb stuff, Darren. Thank you so much for another wonderful post
    Yep, I will go along with that too

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    Local Historian Cadfael's Avatar
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    Interestingly enough, if you were to stand outside St Helen at St Helen's while the bells rang, you would be transported back to the City Centre (not literally) as the bells from St Peter's Church were saved and put in this tower!

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    Quote Originally Posted by underworld View Post
    Where on Church Street was it? Was it opposite Marks and Spencer and in front of the Bluecoat?
    Diagonally opposite M&S
    See the map attached.
    .
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  10. #40
    Senior Member dazza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsaZappathing View Post
    Yep, I will go along with that too
    Partsky & ItsaZappathing - thanks guys, my pleasure, cheers

  11. #41
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    Gotcha

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    Quote Originally Posted by underworld View Post
    Where on Church Street was it? Was it opposite Marks and Spencer and in front of the Bluecoat?
    There's a stone, with a small brass cross,set in the pavement,denoting where the altar was!This is roughly near where H.M.V. was,and a "Jesus saves" guy used to stand near it up to the early 80's! I think Ged's got a pic' of him on his site.

  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by darrenwhite100 View Post
    Diagonally opposite M&S
    See the map attached.
    .
    There was a brass cross in the kerb stone where the church was. Not sure if the cross is still there. Altar? Mmm I doubt it.
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  14. #44
    Senior Member dazza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waterways View Post
    There was a brass cross in the kerb stone where the church was. Not sure if the cross is still there. Altar? Mmm I doubt it.
    Maltese Cross, in a granite set - it's back there.

  15. #45
    Senior Member dazza's Avatar
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    Default The Maltese Cross & St Peter's Church Altar

    The Maltese cross location, in relation to St Peter's church altar. Hopefully this will clear things up a little. Descriptions are given below each image.





    Image 1 ^ St. Peter's Church, Church Street.

    Again, I've scaled the 1848 OS map over the Google earth view.

    The green zone highlighted, is the boundary of the graveyard over today's pavement area. So, in fact, you've been walking over consecrated ground without even realising it? Although, it was probably deconsecrated before the demolition, and certainly before rebuilding.

    The blue zone, represents the 'sanctuary' [ie: raised floor area], at the top of the nave, which was accessed by a couple of steps. The altar is located towards the rear of this zone.





    Image 2 ^ St. Peter's Church, Church Street.

    An enlargement of the map above, showing the sanctuary & 'altar' [in blue] and location of the Maltese cross in Church Street, [before you ask - I didn't have a 'Maltese Cross' symbol on my pc?]. Also, part of Church Street and Church Lane's current pavement trespasses over the original graveyard, which I've highlighted in green.





    Image 3 ^ 1758 view of the Altar, St. Peter's. Unsourced image.





    Image 4 ^ St. Peter's Church, Church Street.

    Postcard view, early 1900's.





    Image 5 ^ St. Peter's Church, Church Street. Internal view - LRO image, no date.

    Image 6 shows the opposing external view of the window above the altar, from outside in Church Street.






    Image 6 ^ St. Peter's Church, Church Street - looking toward Lord Street





    Image 7 ^ St. Peter's Church, looking down Church Alley.

    The image was taken from in front of Bluecoat School gates. The Crompton Hotel [now M&S] can be seen in the background, with Basnett Street next to it, on the left.





    Image 8 ^ Maltese Cross representing St. Peter's Church, Church Street.

    The cross falls outside the plan of the church, but is within the original church yard.[/U]



    So where is the Altar now? The position of the actual 'Altar' is probably in one of the shops that now line the arcade through to School Lane. If I had the architect's drawings - I could locate it with some accuracy.


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    Senior Member Samp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cadfael View Post
    Interestingly enough, if you were to stand outside St Helen at St Helen's while the bells rang, you would be transported back to the City Centre (not literally) as the bells from St Peter's Church were saved and put in this tower!
    That?s interesting Cad, the wooden carvings from around the alter are also to be seen in the church in Churchtown near Southport.

  17. #47
    Local Historian Cadfael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Samp View Post
    That?s interesting Cad, the wooden carvings from around the alter are also to be seen in the church in Churchtown near Southport.
    It's all a bit strange when it comes to the demolition of churches. I know for a fact that the bells from this church went to St Helen's because church bell's always can be found going in to a new home but you wonder what happens to the rest of the stuff once a church is demolished.

    As with St Luke's, there were actually a few bells saved from the tower after the fire and the Corporation decided to have them sold for scrap in the 60's!

  18. #48
    Senior Member underworld's Avatar
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    When was it demolished? Funny how cemetaries were/are in the centre of towns. The Church in the centre of St Helens shopping area has a cemetary and regulary remains are unearthed by workmen. Also, Palmyra square/park in the centre of Warrington is actually a cemetary with many still buried there.

  19. #49
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    Brilliant pics and info dazza. I wonder why the church was slightly offset like that, I wonder if Church st originally followed that line but then the church wall is set along the lines of the street as it is now isn't it.
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    Local Historian Cadfael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by underworld View Post
    When was it demolished? Funny how cemetaries were/are in the centre of towns. The Church in the centre of St Helens shopping area has a cemetary and regulary remains are unearthed by workmen. Also, Palmyra square/park in the centre of Warrington is actually a cemetary with many still buried there.
    1919 from my source though some say up till 1923. Another sad loss of a church even though it was the 'Pro Cathedral'.

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    Another ebay...St. Peter's 1916 water colour


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    Quote Originally Posted by Ged View Post
    Brilliant pics and info dazza. I wonder why the church was slightly offset like that, I wonder if Church st originally followed that line but then the church wall is set along the lines of the street as it is now isn't it.
    Fantastic pic's and detail Dazza,but I'm pretty sure that I read Church st. was, widened,after the church's demolition,and possibly,this would affect the position of the "altar" cross?

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    Senior Member dazza's Avatar
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    Default Finally An Answer - St. Peter's Altar/ Maltese Cross

    Quote Originally Posted by wsteve55 View Post
    Fantastic pic's and detail Dazza,but I'm pretty sure that I read Church st. was, widened,after the church's demolition,and possibly,this would affect the position of the "altar" cross?
    Thanks everyone for your posts, and thanks Ged and wsteve for your questions. Hopefully I'll be able to answer you both below.

    Questions raised:

    1. Where was the original building line of Church Street, as the street today is much wider?
    2. St. Peter's church is set at a different angle to the street. Did the early buildings following this line, or the street line?
    3. Where is current position of St Peter's Altar today, and does the Maltese cross sit directly over it, [city myth]?

    OK, I think I've managed to answer all of them below. Image descriptions are given below each image.



    Image 1 - 4 Maps of Church Street ^ 1725, 1765, 1769 & 1848 from LRO map collections.

    John Chadwick's 1725 map - shows the Church Street, 21 years after the completion of St Peter's in 1704. Initially, a plot of land was selected on ground high enough to avoid the tidel extremes of the pool, which flowed across the junction of Lord Street, at that time. The south side of street was developed first, and with the introduction of Church Lane and Church Alley broke the street line into three faceted parts. The buildings of 1725, line through to meet the church's perimeter boundary wall, [ie: graveyard boundary wall with railings, Church St. side].

    John Eyes' 1765 map - shows that the pavement kerb edge, not the buildings, lining through with the church's boundary, which is a little confusing because only 4 years later [1769], George Perry surveys the area again, in much greater detail, and showing all the individual buildings - again the buildings now line through with the church's perimeter boundary wall.

    The OS 1848 map - shows the building line close to the church boundary, but has started to recede back slightly, making the street marginally wider.

    The original street line: The one constant here, is the church precinct [the church + churchyard, or temenos], which is consecrated ground, and is arguably beyond the commercial pressures of shopkeepers and residents that surround it. In general, the north side of churchyards are rarely used - no one wants to be burried where the sun never shines! Sometimes plots on this side were traditionally reserved for criminals, prostitutes, or unworthies. I mention this because church's tended to be positioned on site, to maximize as much of the south-facing aspect as possible, which was the case with St. Peter's. Therefore to move the boundary wall inward [after it's initial placing] would make little sense, similarly moving it outward, would make little sense also, as you would need to re-consecrate the land purchased, and besides that, no one would reserve a plot on the north side of a cemetery anyway, and would be a wasted exercise.

    So, we can have confidence, that the church's north perimeter boundary wall, is the one reference which has not been altered through the years.


    Answer to Q.1: Church Street's original building line, from 1704, is plotted on Images 2 & 3 below. The street widening and recession away from this line can be seen clearly on Image 3, particularly in the case of the old Post Office. Also see Image 4B, for the PO view.


    Answer to Q.2: The buildings follow the street line, not the church's line. When the church-plot was purchased, builders on neighbouring plots would not have wasted any time setting up their designs and commenced building [represented by the thick black dashed line on image 2 & 3]. In setting out St Peter's, the architect, had decided to orientate the building about it's west/ east axis, as was the custom with most unrestricted sites.






    Image 2 - Map overlay, Church Street ^ maps from 1848 & Today.

    The 1848 map [shown in 'red'] is laid over a current map [shown in 'black'] and the original Church Street building line [1704] is shown in thick dashed line, and the church boundary, is shown in a smaller dashed line.

    Image 3 is an enlargement of above.






    Image 3 - Enlargement of image 2 above, Church Street ^ maps from 1848 & Today.


    Answer to Q.3: Notice the current arcade [from Church St. through to School Lane & Liverpool One] is shown on the map. I've plotted the actual location of St Peter's altar - which falls within the first unit, on the LH side of the arcade, and also - the Maltese cross is situated on the pavement just outside the arcade's entrance.

    Also, notice the 'green' zone on the map which represents the extent of today's pavement over the original graveyard.

    I hope this is finally case-closed for the Maltese cross over the altar myth?






    Image 4 - 4 Herdman Views Around Church Street ^ from the LRO Herdman Collection.

    Image 4B shows the widening of Church Street, with the demolition of the Old Post Office at the junction of Church St./ Church Alley.


    If you've made it this far, thanks very much for reading.

  24. #54
    Mark JMLE's Avatar
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    I don't know if that's a corner of St. Peter's peeking through in the gap in the buildings on the left but you can certainly see just how far back off the present street line the altar would be.

    1910

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    Quote Originally Posted by JMLE View Post
    I don't know if that's a corner of St. Peter's peeking through in the gap in the buildings on the left but you can certainly see just how far back off the present street line the altar would be.

    1910
    Hi JMLE, I think you're right, just in view. Nice image btw.


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    Bloody hell! Dazza, you?ve done it now.

    If Tom Slemen finds out about the location of the arcade in relation to the old churchyard and cemetery, we are going to have ghosts and time warps every other week!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Samp View Post
    Bloody hell! Dazza, you?ve done it now.

    If Tom Slemen finds out about the location of the arcade in relation to the old churchyard and cemetery, we are going to have ghosts and time warps every other week!
    No worries Samp, all the remains were all removed in 1868, and re-interred in Anfield cemetery.

    Ahhh....but, all the ghosts and spirits remain WOOoooo!!!.

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    Thanks for the info'Dazza,but as for the altar,I only repeated the "Myth", as quoted in one of the various Liverpool history books! I can't remember which one,but it looks like they(?) got it wrong! Maybe you should do one?

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    Senior Member dazza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wsteve55 View Post
    Thanks for the info'Dazza,but as for the altar,I only repeated the "Myth", as quoted in one of the various Liverpool history books! I can't remember which one,but it looks like they(?) got it wrong! Maybe you should do one?
    Thanks wsteve55, the cross over altar is a city myth that's been around for as long as it's been set in the pavement. I just thought I'd cross this one off my list.

    A book - well, I never say never? Thanks for the thought...

    Daz

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    Default St Peter's - 1919 & Recent

    I thought I'd add a comparison before and after photo of the church.


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