The Bombdie AKA St Lukes Church stands at the top of Bold Street.
I first set foot inside in January 2008. It was just after Chinese New Year and I wandered in with my camera to have a look around. The sun was out and red paper lanterns hung in the glassless stone window frames.
The following year the Fab Collective hung their first public exhibition around the walls of the church. We were welcomed into the space by Liz and Ambrose who love and look after St Lukes. We shot portraits of visitors to the exhibition and came to know some of the street drinkers who hang around the building.
Toward the end on 2009 Liz and Ambrose invited us to take part in a photography project centered around members of Liverpool’s homeless community. We worked for two months with participants shooting out in the streets. They edited their own images for exhibition in the windows of Lewis’s Department Store as part of the council’s Shops Up Front scheme.
In 2010 we were back in St Lukes with our second Fab exhibition Having a Do.
Then in 2011 disaster struck for USL. They lost their Arts Council funding putting their future as custodians of St Lukes in jeopardy. Liz and Ambrose gently hold St Lukes in their hearts, bringing it to life with community cinema, music and performances. They make it vital and alive. We didn’t immediately know how to help but decided not to exhibit, rather to concentrate our energies to raise some funds.
Whilst we were planning what to do we had the opportunity to experience St Lukes anew. Fabber Dave Brownlee and his partner Gill had fallen in love with the space and decide they wanted to get married in the church. So on 18th June 2011 we all put on our glad rags to attended a Fab wedding. It was a beautiful day and St Lukes couldn’t have looked more lovely.
In September Partridge Bray Auctioneers held a public auction of our photographs For One Night Only which raised £1300. A drop in the ocean compared ot the £35,000 in lost funding, but every little helps.
So what of St Lukes today? Well its still open and still providing a little oasis in the middle of our busy city. I’ve recently heard that Liverpool City Council have stepped in to help keep St Lukes open and in the caring hands of Liz and Ambrose. Not sure what the long term strategy is? But if you’re passing, pop in for a visit and make a small donation to keep St Luke’s open.