The Oratory

L1 7AZ
United Kingdom
Telephone: 01695584480

The Oratory is the former chapel of St James’s Cemetery, a now disused burial ground which occupies the rocky hollow on the east side of Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral. This hollow was originally a quarry and provided the stone from which the Town Hall and other 18th century public buildings in the city were constructed.

By the 1820s, however, it was exhausted and a proposal was made to adapt it as a cemetery, Liverpool’s only public cemetery at that date being the non-denominational Necropolis at Low Hill, opened in 1825.

The purpose of the Oratory was to accommodate funeral services before burials took place in the cemetery, but it was also used as a kind of cenotaph for housing monuments to the deceased, including several works by major 19th century sculptors.

Following the closure of the cemetery in 1936 the Oratory fell into disuse. It was transferred to the Liverpool Cathedral Building Committee, and in 1980 Merseyside County Council assumed responsibility for its care and carried out major repairs. In 1986 it became part of the newly formed National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside.

Further important funeral monuments from elsewhere have now been added to the original collection, including some from demolished churches on Merseyside, making the Oratory into a distinguished gallery of 19th century sculpture which complements the Walker Art Gallery’s rich holdings.



Access at The Oratory

The Oratory will be wheelchair accessible.

Find out what's coming up next
Sign up to be the first to know about our events and new opportunities.
Send me news