For the next month, Liverpool is allowing the public free entry into Heritage Trust buildings across the city that are generally closed to the public, so I jumped at the chance of visiting St Luke’s, the old bombed out church. The Church of England church sits on a hill dominating the landscape, right next to Chinatown.
St Luke’s Church was designed by John Foster and was completed by his son in 1831, and for a century this fantastic example of Gothic architecture was the focus of community life for those who lived and worked in the area.
On the 5th May 1941, St Luke’s was hit by an incendiary bomb dropped by the Luftwaffe during the seven day long Liverpool blitz. It is thought the bomb was intended for a secret munitions factory close to the church.
The fire in the church raged for seven days and seven nights, eventually leaving nothing more than the shell that remains today.
The stained glass windows were completely destroyed, except for two guardian angels that still remained despite the heat of the flames, along with the tiniest Liver bird in Liverpool. The bomb landed underneath the only skull gargoyle on the entire church.
The tiny Liver bird is right at the top of this window.
Our tour guide was an incredibly charismatic guy. He belongs to a group called Urban strawberry Lunch, who are a bunch of musicians who make instruments out of re-cycled rubbish. He and his band of merry men single handedly look after the remains of this church voluntarily. Amongst other things they pull off the ivy, rig up tarp to keep the water out and invite the community in to play live music, get married practice martial arts and meditate.
Two elderly ladies come in each week and take care of a little garden that they created where the bomb was dropped.
Down to the crypt.
Apparently, on two occasions since the bombing, planning permission has been approved allowing roads to be built through the church, but on both occasions protesters, including our tour guide prevented that from happening.
Inside the crypt
Our guide and his group are now trying to raise money to restore parts of the church. It does have electricity still and borrows the internet from a derelict building across the road!!!
After the fire an A and O, representing Alpha and Omega, remained in two tiny fragments of stained glass window, the beginning and the end. Local kids threw a stone through Omega….so I suppose the church will now always have a beginning…..and never an end, despite all previous attempts to destroy it.
So, after such a wonderful tour we had to round the day off with an Italian meal before we headed home.
Later that evening hubs and I were walking the dogs when I suddenly noticed a wood pigeon flying low across the road and cringed as it flew head first into a speeding car. A huge cloud of feathers erupted and I hoped to God that the bird had been killed outright and I wouldn’t have to pick up a broken and mangled creature hanging onto life.
The bird emerged from the cloud of feathers and slowly fell to the ground where it flapped about feebly. I picked it up and quickly checked it. No blood was coming from it’s beak nor was any blood visible on it’s body and there didn’t seem to be any obvious breaks in the wing or leg bones. I tucked it under my jacket to keep it calm and quickly got it home. As I put it in a cat carrier on a warm towel I saw that it was gaping which is always a sign of imminent death. I covered it with a towel and let it be.
A few hours later I had a quick peek at it. Amazingly it was now standing so I gave it a stick to roost on. It immediately hopped on, much to my surprise.
The next morning I must say I was surprised to find it alive and perky, and it had also eaten, drunk and pooped… I simply can’t believe it survived the impact of a head on collision with a car doing 70 mph, but so far so good. I took it to the rescue yesterday and it seems to be injury free apart from losing a lot of feathers.
So….it will have a few days of tlc, and then if all goes well with a test flight I shall be collecting it for release in my garden.
My little miracle bird…..I have my fingers crossed that this will be a happy ever after story.