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Gibberd’s Realisation

The Fourth Attempt
Even more drastic measures, thought Dr Heenan, were necessary if the Catholics of Liverpool were to achieve the realisation of Archbishop Downey’s dream slogan A Cathedral in our time. The problem was to be thrown open to competition.

Architects throughout the world were invited in 1960 to design a Cathedral for Liverpool which would relate to the existing Crypt, be capable of construction within five years, cost at the current prices no more than £1,000,000 for its shell, and most important of all, express the new spirit of the liturgy then being radically reformulated by the Second Vatican Council. Of 300 entries from all over the world, Sir Frederick Gibberd’s (1908-1984) design was chosen, and building began in October 1962. A Pathé newsreel showed stages of the building process. Less than five years later, on the Feast of Pentecost, 14 May 1967, the completed Cathedral was consecrated. The Papal Legate at the consecration service, most appropriately, was His Eminence John Carmel Cardinal Heenan, Archbishop of Westminster, who had been succeeded as Archbishop of Liverpool three years earlier by George Andrew Beck. The long waiting was suddenly over.