Construction of Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral sometimes known locally as ‘Paddy’s Wigwam’ was begun when Kilkenny native Richard Downey was Archbishop of Liverpool. When Richard Downey was 13 years old he moved with his family in 1894 from Kilkenny to Liverpool. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1907 and was appointed Archbishop of Liverpool at the age of 47 in 1928.
During his time as Archbishop he set about integrating the predominantly Irish catholic population of Liverpool into the mainstream of English life. He withdrew support for a specifically catholic party and though St Patricks Day continued to be celebrated, St George’s Day was also celebrated.
The initial design for Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral was by Sir Edward Lutyens. However, only the crypt was completed at the outbreak of World War II. When work resumed after the war the original design was abandoned but the crypt which had been dedicated by Archbishop Downey was incorporated into the new design. Archbishop Downey died on June 17th 1953 having served the archdiocese of Liverpool for 25 years. The cathedral was redesigned in 1959 and construction of the unique building, which can accommodate a congregation of 2,000, was completed in May 1967.
Richard Downey who served as archbishop of Liverpool from 1928 to 1953 was born in Kilkenny in the year 1881 On This Day.
Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral