The building of St Mary's Church started in 1852 and it was opened in August 1853. The first baptism took place in July 1854 and the first marriage in September 1856. In the early registers the congregation was drawn mostly from the legal, medical & merchant classes. However as the century moved on the congregation became more representative of the population as a whole.
An article from the Liverpool Mercury of the 3rd September 1852 describes the commencement of construction: “Yesterday at noon the ceremony for laying the foundation stone of a new church in the hamlet of Grassendale, Aigburth, took place in the presence of a large number of spectators. The church is situate at the junction of the old Garston and Aigburth Roads. There is to be sitting accommodation for 700 worshippers all on the ground floor. The plan includes very large pews for kneeling, and of these 200 will be appropriated to the use of the poor. The ceremony of laying the stone was performed by the Rev. Rector Campbell. Several documents coins &c., enclosed in a bottle, were deposited in the stone, upon which was affixed a brass plate inscribed as follows, ‘The foundation stone of this church, dedicated to St Mary, was laid on the 2nd of September 1852, by the Rev. Augustus Campbell, M.A., rector of Liverpool and vicar of Childwall.’
The church is to be erected from funds raised by the committee and by voluntary subscription, to supply the wants of the district. The land for the church has been given by the Second Aigburth Land Company and by Messrs. Darby, of Coalbrookdale.
Committee: John Grant Morris, chairman; J.A.D. Watts, honorary secretary; Rev. A. Campbell, A.M., Rev. J. Gibson, A.M., Rev. H.T. Hecker, A.M., Henry Steel, George Woods, John Bevan, Alfred Castellain, John Swainson, Thomas Grundy, Ralph Leyland, H.G. Sutton, Fletcher Rogers. A.H. Holme, architect; George Holme, George Glaister and T. Walker, builders.”
A second article from the Liverpool Mercury of the 7th July 1854 describes the church’s consecration: “On Tuesday, the consecration of St Mary's Church, Grassendale was performed by the Lord Bishop of Chester, a number of local clergy were in attendance. After the ceremony his lordship delivered a sermon from the text, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matt. v, 16. After the sermon a collection was made which raised £100 15s. 6d.
The church is situated at the junction of Aigburth and Garston Roads. The building is cruciform on plan, having nave, trancepts and chancel. The tower is on the north side, with a corresponding porch on the south. The pews are large and spacious, ample room being given for kneeling; they are all stained and varnished. The nave and trancepts have an open arched roof of an elegant construction stained as light oak. The trancept windows are large and give a flood of light to all parts of the church, there are 3 stained windows by Messrs. Pilkington of St Helen's. The central window, presented by John Job Esq., contains a painting of the Ascension; the side windows, the gift of John Grant Thoms, Esq., contain subjects of New Testament history. The chancel is octagonal and is fitted with benches for the choir. The floor is laid with fine specimens of Minton's encaustic tiles, the roof is painted in ultramine with gold stars. There is a peel of six bells, subscribed by Mr Alderman Cooper and a service of communion plate presented to the church by Alfred Castellain, Esq.”
St Mary's Grassendale records held at Liverpool Record Office:-
Baptism registers, 1854 – 1951.
Marriage registers, 1856 – 1977.
Burial of Ashes register, 1969 – 1978.
Banns registers, 1971 – 1987.
Service registers, 1889 – 1985.