The origins of the parish date from 1804 and the present church was opened in 1833. As Liverpool grew in size and experienced large scale Irish immigration, St Anthony’s emerged as the principal Irish church in Liverpool.
St Anthony’s owed much to the efforts of a French priest,. The Reverend Jean Baptiste Antoinet Gerardot, was an emigré from the French Revolution of 1789.
Fr. Gerardot was a determined and resourceful refugee priest wanted to build a chapel where he could live amongst the poor and serve them.
The chapel took its name from its founder and was dedicated to St Anthony of Egypt – although Gerardot’s building was far better known as the “French Chapel”.
In 1806, the French Chapel was built on the corner of Dryden Street and Scotland Road. James Picton described it as ‘a little quaint-looking brick building, surmounted by a cross, with a modest residence by its side.’
Later, of course, courtesy of further immigration, the parish would take in a great many other influences – not least those brought by Irish, Italian and Lithuanian families.
Gerardot died in 1826, but his ministry was so successful that, by the late 1820s, a larger church was needed.
The famous Liverpool church of St Anthony’s, Scotland Road, was built in 1833 and designed by John Broadbent.
He was a pupil of Thomas Rickman (as for a time was Arthur Hill Holme) who also designed the tower of St Mary’s Walton and the Classical church of St Augustine’s on Shaw Street.
At St Anthony’s, Broadbent built a simple if not severe church with Early English buttresses and lancet windows and a surprisingly large interior.
The church has a commanding presence on Scotland Road, and even the dour James Picton acknowledged that ‘the building is imposing from its size and proportions’.
The above description comes from two sources…
- ‘The Churches of Liverpool’ by David Lewis – Published by The Bluecoat Press – © 2001 David Lewis
and the book…
- “A History of St Anthony’s Parish, Scotland Road, Liverpool”, published by Gracewing. The book was written by Michael O’Neill covering the years from the foundation of the parish in 1804 to 2004.
Our thanks for the use of both photographs and quotations.