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Artists try to save blitzed church

28 March 2014

By a staff reporter


Shell for art: Yoko Ono at St Luke's, Liverpool, during the Liverpool Biennial Art Festival in 2008

Shell for art: Yoko Ono at St Luke's, Liverpool, during the Liverpool Biennial Art Festival in 2008

A CAMPAIGN to save a ruined church in Liverpool - a roofless shell since it was bombed in the Second World War - has attracted thousands of supporters, including Yoko Ono, widow of John Lennon.

The Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, initially said that the city council, which owns the church, is considering selling it because it can no longer afford the maintenance costs. On his Twitter account later, however, he said that St Luke's was not for sale, but that the council needed to explore options for its future.

St Luke's was struck by a bomb during the Liverpool Blitz on 6 May 1941, causing a blaze that destroyed the interior and the roof. It has remained a shell ever since, and stands as a memorial to those who were lost in the war, as well as a venue for exhibitions and events.

St Luke's - which is now known to most in the city as the "bombed-out church" - is opened up each day for events by its artists-in-residence, Urban Strawberry Lunch, who are running a campaign to save the church from being sold.

A petition had attracted nearly 25,000 signatures by Wednesday morning.

Mr Anderson later released a statement clarifying the council's position. He wrote: "St Luke's Church is an iconic symbol to the City of Liverpool. . . I am in no way looking to jeopardise the legacy or status of the building and everything it represents. . . The fact of the matter is, the maintenance of the building and gardens generally costs the council a lot of money but if there was a proposal that protected the integrity and status of the building, it is right we should look at it."

Urban Strawberry Lunch also issued a statement, which said: "We have been assured by the mayor's office that we can have first option on the purchase of St Luke's so we can continue to open it to the public as a space of the people, by the people and for the people of Liverpool and its visitors."

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