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Thread: Fairfield - St John the Divine Church

  1. #1
    Local Historian Cadfael's Avatar
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    Default Fairfield - St John the Divine Church

    As you may have seen from the local rag, there is plans of demolishing St John the Divine Church in Fairfield.

    I'm fed up with the City Council wasting money on things that do nothing for the city while ignoring our gems of the past.

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    A few of us local historians have got together and I'm now putting a website together to highlight this church as soon as possible before someone does come along with a bulldozer.

    It's the same excuse as ever - leave something till it falls down and then demolish - this nearly happened with St James West Derby until the solution was to take down the spire of the church and leave the rest of it!

    Anyway - rant over. My question is, does anyone have any information/old/new pictures of this church? I'm going to visit it this week but I want to see if you lot have any information to give so I can put it on the website. Fairfield doesn't get recognised for its history and I feel that the demolition of the church will just add to that.

  2. #2
    PhilipG
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    St John the Divine's Church, Holly Road, Fairfield.
    Consecrated 14 January 1853.
    Architect: W Raffles Brown.

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    The Scarlet Pimple anonymouse's Avatar
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    Default St John the Divine



    It's been on the cards for quite a while. Sad!
    Never put anyone on a pedestal... THEY'LL LOOK DOWN ON YOU!

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    Local Historian Cadfael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    It's been on the cards for quite a while. Sad!
    Not if we have anything to do with it....all is not lost just yet!

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    Senior Member lindylou's Avatar
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    It's a lovely church I didn't know it was under threat.

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    Local Historian Cadfael's Avatar
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    Just been to see it and taken about 100 pictures.

    I'm going to start on the website tonight - what a load of rubbish the Daily Post article was. After being in church towers and churches for 30 years, this one is as solid as Blackpool Tower!

    Bigger report later - family round!

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    Senior Member taffy's Avatar
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    Churches need congregations that can finance their upkeep. I don't know the circumstances of this particular church but I suspect it has a small congregation which cannot afford or raise the money to maintain its fabric. The Archdeacon of Liverpool had his own church in Bootle demolished for similar reasons.

    Liverpool City Council money is not used to maintain Church of England Churches.

    Perhaps the best example of a beautiful church in Liverpool that had about 500,000 of English Heritage money spent on it but which the community still does not really support by attending it, is St Margaret, Princes Rd, Toxteth.

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    Senior Member seasidenan's Avatar
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    How very sad. I don't know this church personally, although I may have done when I was a child. I left Liverpool when I was nearly 14 yrs old, and when I visit I'm amazed at all the changes that have taken place over the years. I used to go to St. Chrysostom's Church when I was a child, and I know that's been demolished, which I find very sad as well. I know also that Evered Avenue School, where I was a pupil for a while, has also been demolished, and probably many other old buildings.

    I hope you manage to save this church as it looks lovely and I look forward to seeing some of your photos on the forum.

    Lilian

  9. #9
    chippie
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    Cadfael, it is with great sadness that I read of the plan to pull down St John,s Fairfield. It was the last church in Liverpool that I was a member of back in the middle 90s. I used to write and print the church mag in the last year of my membership.

    At the time it did have a small membership but not smaller than my other church of Holy Trinity in Breck Road.

    My theory is that once the stalwarts who had been going for donkeys years had passed away then the church left with the newer members don,t really have the bite of the older members to take up the sword for a good cause. It,s sad but a real factor in other regions of building and social upbringing that the modern world is now experiencing.

    Good luck on your quest mate if I can dig out any information for you then I,ll send it on.

    The church I remember has had one makeover before when the bulk of the church was pulled down and what now stands was all that was left.

    To me it,s like a lone thread being pulled on a woollen jumper and leaving only the sleeve.

  10. #10
    chippie
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    I,ve found a pamphlet called "The Renovation Of St. John The Divine 1975-1980 but it is mostly writing. I will scan the few photos of the inside and put them on here in a mo.

  11. #11
    chippie
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    here they are now.
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  12. #12
    Re-member Ged's Avatar
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    Well done Chippie, i'm sure Bro Cad will be delighted with those.
    www.inacityliving.piczo.com/

    Updated weekly with old and new pics.

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    Local Historian Cadfael's Avatar
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    Chippie, thank you!! Amazing picture showing the original roof line of the Church. I noticed that this church was under a demolition order and contacted one of my Newsham Park contacts as he was listed in the article.

    It's very simple and sad. The church, re-opened in the 1980's with a new roof/internal structure is now empty and 'needs' to be pulled down due to the instability of the tower and spire. I had seen this spire from a distance (you can't miss it when you travel down Edge Lane) so I thought I would grab the camera and see for myself.

    What I found was a lovely looking church/tower and spire looking to be in a lovely condition. The area around the tower has been fenced off so I started to take pictures and video of the whole setup.

    It would seem that there is some weathering to the spire as parts of the facade of the brickwork is coming lose - far less than the 'huge chunks of stones coming down' that was listed. Indeed there is no sign of fallen masonry around the fenced off area either so my plan was to take detailed pictures of the whole of the tower/spire for a view on the PC.

    There are no cracks on the outer face of the tower itself - I've rung on church bells at some towers which are literally falling down, and unless there is vertical cracking on the inside of the tower (only one bell which was sold so no stress on the tower) then I'm at a loss as to the whole situation.

    It is said that the whole lot is cheaper to demolish than repair but I feel that we will lose one of the last remaining gems of Fairfield if that is done, and I have set up (well, in the process) of setting up a very quick website to highlight the possible solutions before they come along and flatten it and then decide later (as normal) that it was the wrong thing to do.

    Video clip from yesterday:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chsa1yn0aw8

    When the website is looking half decent, I'll post a link!

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    Senior Member fortinian's Avatar
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    It is a shame but we cannot risk getting sentimental about every old building. Sure, it is a nice church, a nice building but it is nothing special. It's a mid-victorian standard parish church of which there are hundreds in Merseyside alone.

    If it was architectualy significant or unique then I would have no problem campaining to save it, but it is not. It will be a shame to see it go but if it is currently disused then it will simply become a financial burden on the CoE, a crime and safety burden on the Police and Council and a neighbourhood eyesore.

    The intentions to save the church are admirable, but in reality, where will the money come from to support such a large building?

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    Local Historian Cadfael's Avatar
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    My view is that things are never black and white and my reasons for becoming involved in this project are for two reasons.

    First of all, I hate to see any Churches go in Liverpool. We saw the demolition of Emmanuell Everton church where there was nothing wrong with the church. The bells had to be removed and were installed in Christ Church Bootle.

    The reason for demolishing Emmanuell was to put the inner ring road through there - and to this day, the 'footprint' of the church is paving slabs!

    St John's is one of the last historical buildings that stands out for the village of Fairfield and would be a crime to pull it down for that reason only.

    However, I am mystified as to why the Daily Post's article have given this church as 'lots of masonry falling off and is a danger to the public'. My viewing of the external walls yesterday found little evidence of this and want to bring this to notice.

    Lastly, if the church is sitting there and costing nothing to anyone, I cannot see why, if it is in such a bad state, they have not brought in anyone to have a detailed architects view. It is my understanding from the outside of the tower that the problem lies with the spire and not the tower and that the removal of the spire alone would be far less costly than having to demolish the entire site.

    When I complete the website, I would love to see the local's reaction on this and have already spoken to the neighbours of the church who don't want to see it demolished, just so the grass can grow.

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