History of St Luke’s

Here at St. Luke’s, we’ve been serving the local community for more than 100 years.

The original Methodist building erected on the current site in Market Street was first used in April 1898 and the present church building was officially opened on 14 June 1906, preceded by the laying of bricks by 34 local people who paid 1 guinea each to help fund the construction.

Minutes from the Building Committee show the closest attention to all matters connected with the structure. The original design for the pews was rejected as having ‘too straight a back’, while plans for the tower were altered and its height increased by six feet (at an additional cost of £33 10s 0d).

The opening ceremony was performed by Mrs J Arthur Shone with a gold key presented to her by the architects and the builder, Messrs R Allen of Birkenhead, whose successful tender price for the construction of the church was £3,906. 

Lack of space was becoming increasingly apparent and in 1966, the Diamond Jubilee of the church saw the stonelaying of new rooms at the rear of the church, which were officially opened the following year. This saw the Small Hall and Crèche room added to facilitate the development of children and youth work.

In 2006, the existing church and the Sports Hall were bridged by the new Community Room, and the kitchen, toilets and vestry were relocated. The Community Room offers a modern and very welcoming environment and also provides easy access to the worship space, as well as other areas of the building. More recently, our worship space has been totally carpeted and comfortable chairs have taken the place of wooden pews.

Our Organ

In 2023 our Church Organ will be 110 years old! 

St Luke’s Methodist Church initially had a smaller organ in place. The organ that we currently know was originally bought and installed in London Road Wesleyan Methodist Church, Northwich, Cheshire in 1913. It was made for them by the renowned organ makers Wadsworth, a large firm of organ makers who were based in Manchester. 

It cost £640, a very large sum indeed in 1913. The maker maintained the organ for London Road Methodist Church until 1946. Some of the Wadsworth shop books have been put onto the internet and you can view the purchase details of our organ and its maintenance record there in copies of the original shop ledgers.

In 1970 London Road Methodist Church (as it was called by then) closed and the organ was renovated with new leathers etc but not altered by Rushworth and Dreaper Ltd., of Liverpool in their Liverpool works. Once renovated it was installed in its current place in St Luke’s Methodist Church, Hoylake. The dedication service was on Sunday 6th September 1970 and a special concert of organ music was held that month to commemorate the event. A Mr Harry Weatherall, the then organist of Liverpool Parish Church, St Nicholas, Pierhead, an organ celebrity in his time, performed an organ recital at St Luke’s on Monday 21st September 1970.

 Mr Syd Reeves, master craftsman and organ builder, formerly of Rushworth’s, currently maintains and tunes our organ. As a boy of 15 he was an apprentice at Rushworth’s when our organ was taken from Northwich and renovated. He remembers learning his craft of organ building and tuning on this very organ. He has continued to service and maintain the organ right up to the present day.

The organ works on the tubular pneumatic principle. There are two large electric air compressors at the back. When a key is pressed, compressed air from the smaller compressor rushes along narrow lead pipes to the right organ pipe and releases a valve which allows a gush of air from the large compressor to fill the pipe and sound the note.  The stops are mechanical, not electrified, and electricity is only used in the lights and the air compressors. This gives the organ good responsiveness to touch but also the wonderful sound of rushing air, like living breath, when it is in action.

We have two manuals, each with 61 keys and a pedal console with 30 notes, with between them 22 stops giving different sounds. Combining various different stops, manuals and pedals gives a wide range of different complex and rich sound combinations.

Our organ in its present, original form, well maintained and played, is a precious example of an organ of its type. These days there are fewer of these organs left at all, and even fewer in good condition. In the coming years I hope we will continue to cherish and maintain our organ and use it to inspire future generations of young musicians, both from within the church and from outside it, to explore the vast range of wonderful music, classical and ecclesiastical, that this mighty instrument can command.


Stained Glass Windows 

The stained glass window was erected to the memory of Mr and Mrs J.S. Baker by their children and dedicated on 26th September 1926. The subject chosen is based upon Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost and Regained’ and depicts four lights.

First Light representing Paradise Lost and Adam and Eve are shown leaving the Garden of Eden from which they have been expelled for disobedience to God. Adam can be seen turning around in fear and gazing on the manifestation of the Wrath of God represented as flaming fire. Right at the bottom of the picture are thistles and thorns “both thorns and thistles it will yield for you,” Genesis 3:18.

Second Light represents the prophesy of the redemption in Balaam’s words; “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob;” Numbers 24:17. In the background are the tents of Israel. Balak is at the side of Balaam and is angry as Balaam makes his prophesy because he wanted Balaam to curse the Israelite people thwarting further conquests. Instead, Balaam blesses the Hebrews. At the bottom of the picture are some of the Princes and Elders of Moab and Midian.

Third Light expresses the fulfillment of the prophecy with the appearance of a star. The star is followed by the Wise Men to Bethlehem, where they gaze upon and worship the baby Jesus; the Saviour born to redeem mankind. The Wise Men are richly clothed and attended by their servants.

Fourth Light brings us to Paradise Regained. There is a dark cloud hiding the majesty of God but rays radiate from the cloud representing the glory of God Almighty and down the centre of the window, winds the River of Life. On the banks are trees for the healing of the nations and on the Plains of Heaven some of the redeemed walk in harmony.

Above the four pictures in the centre of the window Christ is crowned and sitting on the Throne of Glory, holding a sceptre and orb in his hands; symbols of sovereignty and power. Christ is surrounded by cherubim.

The window was made in the studio of Messrs Camm and Co 184/6 High Street, Smethwick and under the direction of Mr JFP Camm and Mr H Camm.