In which we go looking for Abercromby Square.
Having checked into my hotel and showered I still had some time to kill as the sun was still high and bedtime was nowhere close. Marked on my navigation was “Abercromby Square” which sounds kind of obscure but there was a reason for my interest.
Liverpool was home to members of the Chavasse family, the most famous of whom was Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse. VC*, MC. while his father was the second Bishop of Liverpool. I was keen to find the place because there was a statue of him in the square. It was more like a pilgrimage though, and one of the many reasons I was visiting this city originally. Unfortunately my street map did not show the square, but I knew it was close to the Catholic Cathedral so technically should not be too difficult to find as long as I went up the right street in the first place. Unfortunately I did not and while I could see the cathedral I could not work out where the park was on the ground in relation to it.
My mapping app did not work either because it would never refresh and if you tried to refresh it manually all you would end up was a “mapping app has stopped functioning” error. Bah humbug! I decided that my best course was to try the roads at the front of the cathedral (this is the back) and see what happens. Fortunately a kind hearted soul took pity on me and pointed down the road to a green area 3 blocks away. Huzzah! the destination was in sight.
The statue was not in the square but on the pavement next to it, and it was such a moment to see that statue.
The statue was engraved:
This scuplture commemorates the life and death of captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse
VC and Bar, MC, RAMC. Medical officer to the 10th battalion (Liverpool Scottish)
King’s Liverpool Regiment, and fifteen other recipients of the Victoria Cross who were
born in Liverpool and whose names appear around the base
Captain Chavasse, son of the second Bishop of Liverpool, was the only man to be
awarded two Victoria Crosses during World War I, and died on 4th August 1917 of
wounds received in Flanders
Several of the other’s also made the supreme sacrifice. May this memorial remind
us all of the debt we owe to such men.
“Greater love hath no man than this
that a man lay down his life for his friends”
The names around the base are:
The sculptor is Tom Murphy of Liverpool.
It was time to move on. The Catholic Cathedral was closed so I started to head towards the direction of town. Unfortunately for me, the Anglican Cathedral loomed close by at the end of a street. It just seemed so close.
The sun was still shining and I had some time to kill so I thought I would head down in that direction and have a quick recce before returning the next day. There were really two spaces I wanted to visit at what is known as “St James Mount”:- the first was the actual cathedral, and the second was a cemetery known as St James Garden (aka St James Cemetery). Situated behind the cathedral it was created below ground level in a former quarry that was in use till 1825, and until 1936 was used as the Liverpool city cemetery and contrary to what you would think, the cemetery is not associated with the cathedral. It is a very beautiful place and I was very glad that I saw it in the evening light.
I went in through the gate by the Oratory, which is the former mortuary chapel of the cemetery. It was designed in 1829 in classic Greek architecture by John Foster Jnr, as a re-creation of a Greek temple.
It was all downhill from here…
Once flat ground was reached I was in a quiet park, dotted with headstones, flowers, pathways, mausoleums and trees. People were sitting around and enjoying the coolness of the air, others were walking their dogs or just strolling. It was hard to believe that you were actually in a cemetery that held close to 60 000 people.
The domed cupola in the last image is the Huskisson Monument, it was designed to house the statue of William Huskisson who holds the distinction of being the world’s first reported railway passenger casualty; when he was run over and fatally injured by George Stephenson’s pioneering locomotive engine Rocket. The statue is no longer there, but the monument is. A mineral spring also flows through this area (the Chalybeate) although I did not see it at the time. From the flatness of the bottom of the quarry it was time to ascend. I was starting to tire and needed to make my way home so I followed the path upwards to the gate and to ground level.
This was the back of the cathedral and even here people were enjoying the warm evening air. I really felt like staking a spot for myself but I still had a long walk ahead of me so resting was not an option at this point.
I walked past the huge building and it is a mighty, lofty, looming building. It is reportedly the largest Anglican Cathedral ever built. I came to the spot where I had entered the area and saw that the Cathedral was open so decided to pop in and have a quick look….
When I saw what was inside it my plans for heading back to the hotel went for a wobbly because there was an event going on in it called:
The Museum of the Moon.
Museum of the Moon is a new touring artwork by UK artist Luke Jerram. Measuring seven metres in diameter, and internally lit, the moon features 120dpi detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface. At an approximate scale of 1:500,000, each centimetre of the spherical sculpture represents 5km of the moon’s surface*. (https://my-moon.org/about/)
I kid you not, the moon was shining in the cathedral, and it was magnificent. Photographs do not do the work justice.
It was one of those things that children would love and adults would be amazed by. Everywhere people were taking photographs and just staring. The huge cavernous interior of the cathedral just made it so much more impressive. It was like something out of the original “Despicable Me” movie. The coloured lights on the walls of the image above is caused by the sun shining through the stained glass windows of the cathedral. I am not covering the cathedral in this blogpost but will cover it on it’s own page, these images are all about the moon….
And having stood in awe at the moon and the cathedral I shall now turn the page and cover the cathedral on the next page.
I headed off home after a quick walk around and spent a restless night trying to get to sleep. I was bushed, but the reality is that I had accomplished all that I wanted to see and do in half a day. The only thing left was the ferry trip across to Birkenhead and of course the cathedral.
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