SS Peter, Paul and Philomena

 

A major Wirral landmark, this church's majestic dome is visible from afar. Fr. Thomas Mullins, a determined priest, raised money to build this basilica-like church during the depression, for the fashionable New Brighton seaside resort with its growing Catholic population. The Sacred Heart Basilica in Lisbon inspired Fr. Mullins who engaged E. Bower Norris to design the church. Architecturally it owes much to Lutyens' famous, unexecuted de-sign for Liverpool Cathedral, evident in the use of brick with spare stone dressings and in the design of the domes. The church is built in a Roman baroque form, plain nave and high altar of beautiful Italian marbles, reflecting the 1930s fashion for subtle pale greens and creams colours. The Lady Altar has a strong blue lapis lazuli front and the Sacred Heart Altar is fronted with red stone. Fr Mullins brought a number of beautiful C17th Portuguese statues to the church, that of the Virgin being particularly fine. During the Second World War, sailors, returning from Atlantic convoys, knew the church as The Dome of Home, signifying safety from German U-boats. The church was closed in 2008 due to the cost of repairs, but following an enthusiastic local campaign it reopened in 2012 when the Bishop established it as a national Shrine Church, cared for by the Institute of Christ the King.

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