Sunday, 26 June 2016

Symbolism around Gateacre in Liverpool

The beautiful nineteenth and early twentieth century architecture of Liverpool is enriched in symbolism, much of which refers to its maritime heritage, some, like the ornate symbolism presented on Martin's Bank reveal a mixture of the trade and banking that once dominated the economy of Liverpool. The elegance of the Royal Liver Building is also a fine architectural example of how the culture of Liverpool itself was blended with the economic might of its insurance industry to portray unique symbolism. On the outskirts of Liverpool this symbolism can also be seen, such as in the old village-like suburb of Gateacre situated in the south of the city. It was here in the later nineteenth century that Sir Andrew Barclay Walker, a Brewer and founder of the Walker Art Gallery, constructed Mock-Tudor houses, a pub and a village green, helping to create a vision of an English past that can still be found today. One particular hidden gem in Gateacre is the Unitarian Chapel, built in 1700, which had a number of important Unitarian families who worshipped there including the Gaskell and Tate families.

Gateacre is associated with this Mock-Tudor style of building, the style of which harkens back to the Victorian ideal of the old English village.

The hexagonal memorial, paid for by the people of Gateacre, is full of symbolism, decorated with sea creatures, serpents and a Liver Bird. Built in 1883, it once housed a drinking fountain.

According to the Gateacre History Society, this beautiful building was once a bank and was designed by Walter Aubrey Thomas who went on to design the Royal Liver Building. The panels seem to depict quaint classical scenes.

The Unitarian Chapel, built in 1700. Like most of the buildings in Gateacre, local sand stone was used, the same sand stone that was later used to build the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool.
The chapel has many significant burials, this is a tomb of the Gaskell family, a large and influential Unitarian family that can be found throughout the north-west of England during the nineteenth century. The novelist Elizabeth Gaskell was a member of this extended family.

The keystone in the arched entrance to the chapel, with the date stone revealing the year 1700 above.

Inside the chapel, showing the gallery and windows.

All photos taken with permission by Dr David Harrison

© Dr David Harrison 2016

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