The Parish Churches of St. Mary and St. James, West Derby
History of St Mary's
The church was designed by Gilbert Scott, and opened in 1856. It is a 2* listed building built of red sandstone with Yorkshire stone pillars and is situated in the heart of West Derby Village at the entrance to Croxteth Park.It is regarded as a fine example of Scott’s work and has windows by Clayton and Bell together with some fine wood-work in the Chancel and Sanctuary. The style is 14th century Gothic, but because of the great expense of providing secure foundations for the tower, the original more elaborate design had to be significantly modified. The whole cost was raised by voluntary subscriptions! The building cost £8,000. The tower, marked by three turrets of matching size and a larger one which includes the staircase cost another £4,000 and was built at the expense of Mr Pemberton Heywood. It is 30 feet square and over 160 feet high. The nave is 72 feet by 50 feet and the chancel 41 feet by 25 feet.
Painting of West Derby Village 1884 courtesy of the West Derby Society and can be seen at the Lowlands Community Centre,
13 Haymans Green, West Derby.
This view was painted in 1884 by Hugh Magenis, an Ulster-born artist who settled in Liverpool. Magenis, who lived in Queens Road, Everton, may have done this oil painting for a relative who lived in West Derby. The painting is also interesting because it shows the Village as it was after Lord Sefton redesigned it in the 1850s. The clocks were put up at St Mary’s about five years after the picture was done and the drinking fountain in the 1890s. The door on the right is thought to have led to a public lavatory, later removed when the war memorial was built after the Great War. The door was moved around the corner where it can still be seen.