Sectarianism and Evangelicalism in Birmingham and Liverpool, 1850–2010



This chapter focuses on the tensions between the Catholic and Protestant communities in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Birmingham and Liverpool. It complements Andrew Holmes’s chapter which questions the unique position of Ulster with regard to its perceived bi-polarized society and ubiquitous sectarianism. It considers similar manifestations in the context of English cities and attempts to establish the extent to which religion, specifically evangelicalism, was responsible for sectarian conflict. Central to the argument is the recognition that, in the past as in the present, evangelicalism reflected a range of religious and religio-political stances contained within an overarching worldview. On the one hand were more theologically liberal and politically Liberal outlooks. At the other end of the spectrum was covenantal evangelicalism which triggered reactions when Protestant national identity was perceived to be in danger, in response to the supposed level of threat from ultramontane Catholicism.1 It will also be argued that an increasingly confident Catholic Church, while attempting to minimize conflict, compounded the problem by encouraging inward- looking Irish communities that were not readily absorbed into English society.


National Identity Town Hall Protestant Action Home Rule Irish Community 
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© Philomena Sutherland 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Open UniversityUK

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