SAVE wins heritage protection for threatened Liverpool Church

5 August 2016

SAVE wins heritage protection for threatened Liverpool Church

An historic church threatened with demolition has been listed at Grade II following an application by SAVE Britain’s Heritage.

The Wavertree church was built in 1902 to designs of Thomas H W Walker, to serve the area’s burgeoning Methodist community.  The Memorial Church of the Protestant Martyrs is a handsome building in the Italianate Baroque style, with good quality decorative details including leaded and Art Nouveau stained glass and carved stone tracery. 

The church closed in 2004 and last year a planning application was submitted to demolish the church for replacement with student accommodation.

SAVE, the Victorian Society, The Merseyside Civic Society and local residents all objected to the application, but it was nonetheless recommended for approval by Liverpool’s Head of Planning. 

Faced with the threat of demolition, SAVE commissioned Liverpool Heritage specialist Jonathan Brown to prepare a listing application, which focused on the architectural quality of the building and its group value as one of a sequence of four brick built churches along Earle Road and Lawrence Road.

Responding to Historic England’s decision, Mike Fox, Deputy Director of SAVE said: “We are delighted that the Memorial Church of the Protestant Martyrs has been recognised as having national value and given a Grade II listing. This fine church, by a Liverpool architect, could very easily have been demolished without any consideration being given to its architectural and historic value. Now listed, it is something to be celebrated.”

Jonathan Brown, Liverpool heritage specialist and Director of Share the City, said: “The listing of this superb little church is further recognition that Liverpool’s terraced neighbourhoods and their local landmarks like pubs, parks and churches are themselves national assets. Residents here, and architectural historians across the world, have known this for a long time. We need to ask why our own senior city officials have yet to catch up.”

In their designation report Historic England describe the church as, ‘handsomely composed,’ noting it is ‘well designed and maximizes its corner location,’ and as having a well preserved exterior and interior. The report continues:

The church has a strong street presence and it forms part of a significant group of High Victorian and Edwardian churches built along Lawrence Street, which includes the Grade II St Dunstan’s Church (1886, Aldridge and Deacon), the Roman Catholic Church of St Hugh of Lincoln (1904, Pugin and Pugin), and the Grade II* Church of St Bridget (1872, E A Hefer).

The full reasons for designation are as follows:

Architectural interest: the church has a well detailed Italian Baroque exterior with a 3-stage tower and dome, decorative Art Nouveau leaded and stained-glass, and carved stone tracery;

Interior survival : the church retains its original Methodist auditory plan with a range of good-quality fixtures and fittings including timber pews, pulpit, organ gallery and organ;

Group value: the church forms part of a strong group of unlisted, listed GII and GII* High Victorian and Edwardian churches built along a single thoroughfare


Note to editors:

1. For more information please contact Mike Fox, Deputy Director at SAVE on 0207 253 3500 or

2. SAVE's listing application text can be viewed here

3. Historic England’s designation report can be viewed in full here.

4. SAVE Britain’s Heritage has been campaigning for historic buildings since its formation in 1975 by a group of architectural historians, writers, journalists and planners. It is a strong, independent voice in conservation, free to respond rapidly to emergencies and to speak out loud for the historic built environment.

Press release issued by SAVE Britain’s Heritage

70 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ

Registered Charity 269129

Tel. 020 7253 3500  Email

Follow SAVE on Twitter: @SAVEBrit

Donate to SAVE via Justgiving

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