Building of the Month November 2019: United Methodist Free Church, Wavertree, Liverpool

Photos: Eveleigh Photography

The United Methodist Free Church opened in 1903 to serve the Methodist community of the burgeoning streets of terraced housing being built in Wavertree at the turn of the 20th century. It was designed by the Liverpool architect Thomas H W Walker in an Edwardian Italianate Baroquestyle.

SAVE successfully applied to have the building spot-listed following an application for its demolition in 2016.

There is a pleasing asymmetry to the composition which is described as “well-detailed” in the listing entry. On one side stands a solid, three-stage tower housing the main entrance with a copper bell-shaped dome, and on the other a pedimented porch. In the central portion, a pediment rises above a round arched stained glass window. The church is built in brick with ashlar dressings. The interior is remarkably intact, retaining a typical Methodist open hall, well-lit by large windows with stained glass decoration. The pews, pulpit and panelled organ gallery also remain together with the organ.

The church stands on a road along which there is a string of unlisted, grade II and grade II* listed High Victorian and Edwardian churches. The church’s group value with these other church buildings is another principal reason for its listing.

The church closed in 2004 and has stood empty ever since. The church would be an ideal meeting place but could also perform other functions in this primarily residential area.