Since 1889 Mackintosh had been working for architects Honeyman and Keppie and in 1901 he became a partner in the firm. A year later, Honeyman, Keppie and Mackintosh entered the national architectural competition to design Liverpool Cathedral. It was a very important opportunity and the firm sent in complete sets of drawings for two different options. Mackintosh produced both of these in the Gothic style known to be favoured by the committee. The Gothic Style dates from the 12th century and is most linked to the building of medieval cathedrals, with large inside spaces and pointed arches. In nineteenth-century Britain the Gothic Style had been revived and became popular once more.
This is 'Design no 2', in which Mackintosh develops an imaginative, personal version of the Gothic style. The plan in the shape of a cross is familiar from English medieval cathedrals and it is applied here on a vast scale. Mackintosh showed how this plan could seat 1200 people within 80 feet of the pulpit.
All the designs, including the drawings you are looking at, were shown to the press and public here at the Walker Art Gallery in July 1902, but when the short list was announced it did not include Mackintosh's name. He was devastated, despite the many other projects he had on the go at the time. Instead, George Gilbert Scott, aged 22 designed the Anglican cathedral you can see today on St James's Mount.