The oldest building in what is now Liverpool is the Ancient Chapel of Toxteth, a one room chapel that dates back to 1618. At that time it would have been inside the Royal Park of Toxteth which at that time would have stretched from what is now Parliament Street to Aigburth Vale.
At the time it was built the Puritan style as the anti-Catholic movement was becoming more prominent and the design of the building sees the move away from an altar, The sparse decoration was also a statement against the ornateness and image laden norm in Catholic churches. The preacher would have stood in a pulpit and the congregation sat on the three other sides – a more ‘inclusive’ approach that became familiar in Quaker Meeting Houses after the English Civil War of 1640-60.
Also quite distinctive in this church is the boxed stalls instead of pews. The stalls are on two levels, the top level probably being a development from 1775 when the building was renovated. Everything is painted black or dark brown – so not a place for fun.
The small cemetery at the back of the building contains a number of gravestones and monuments to a number of wealthy chapel goers.
To get to the Ancient Chapel of Toxteth take the 82 bus from the centre of town and get off at the bottom of Park Road.