A MUCH-LOVED Liverpool landmark is to benefit from a new 3-G, architectural lighting system. St Luke’s Church (affectionately known as The Bombed Out Church) can now be transformed by any colour in the spectrum from the touch of a button – anywhere in the world.
The dynamic, colour and visual effect changing installation – has been commissioned by Liverpool City Council to complete the £500,000 restoration of the 185-year-old, city centre church.
Designed and fitted by Liverpool lighting company, MJ Quinn, who used specialist electrical engineers and stone masons, the completion of the scheme also coincides with Historic England announcing today (Thursday, 26 October) that the Grade II* listed building has been removed from its Heritage at Risk register.
The early 19th century Gothic church, which sits within Liverpool’s World Heritage Site buffer zone, was burned out in the 1941 May Blitz in the Second World War and had been on the Register since its inception in 1999.
Its removal comes as a recent survey shows that almost £750m has been invested into historic assets within the city’s UNESCO approved site including the upgrade of 37 listed buildings since 2012, 18 with council financial assistance.
A special event to mark this achievement and the full re-opening of the church and gardens was held on Thursday with performances by Liverpool’s Pagoda Youth Orchestra Flower Drummers.
Earlier this year Liverpool City Council awarded a 30 year lease to “St Luke’s Bombed Out Church Ltd” to run the venue as a distinctive space for arts and events, that supports the vulnerable and provides opportunities for volunteering.
The appointment followed a public consultation on the future use of the city centre war memorial after the Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, made a commitment to secure its long term viability.
St Luke’s Bombed Out Church Ltd have set out a plan to invest in the venue which, subject to heritage funding, could include reinstating the balcony in the nave, mezzanine floors in the vestries and potentially a glazed canopy in the chancel with the nave remaining open to the elements.
Mayor Joe Anderson said: “It’s been a personal goal of mine that we restore St Luke’s to its rightful place as one of the city’s crown jewels and I’m delighted that as of today it is no longer on Historic England’s Heritage At Risk Register. This is a landmark moment that heralds an exciting new chapter in its illustrious history. This amazing new lighting scheme gives St Luke’s a whole new dimension to be part of city wide celebrations. It is also a signal of the quality we should come to expect as part of a wider strategy to attract, enchant and enthral a new generation of admirers.”
Charles Smith, Principal Adviser for Heritage at Risk at Historic England in the North West, added: “Having been burned out in Second World War, the Grade II* listed St Luke’s Church was one of the North West’s longest running Heritage at Risk cases. Historic England is delighted to have worked in partnership with Liverpool City Council to deliver the renewal of this great Liverpool landmark, allowing this much-loved building to be used and enjoyed in the future.”
Ambrose Reynolds, Director of Bombed Out Church Ltd, said: “I’ve dreamed of days like today. For me St Luke’s has always been a place of beauty and wonder but now with the support of Liverpool City Council and Historic England everyone else will get to see it with a fresh pair of eyes. This venue has so much potential and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to help shape its future.”
Karl Monaghan, Director at M J Quinn, said: “M J Quinn are delighted to have had the opportunity to support Liverpool City Council to transform and illuminate such a historic building as St Luke’s Church. As a local company we are proud to be identified with this project and to have been part of an enthusiastic team working together with council and the recently appointed venue operator.”
St. Lukes opened to the public at 11am on Thursday, 26 October.