Welcome again to Then and Now, where each week we compare images of Merseyside streets, landmarks and buildings from bygone days with how they look today.

Our seasonal main image this week shows choirboys and members of the Cross Guild of Liverpool Cathedral rehearsing for the Christmas services of December 1958.

In particular, they are practising for the bearing of the holly bough which they will carry in procession during the main carol service.

The holly bough is one of the symbols of St John the Baptist, who heralded the coming of Jesus – hence its importance at Christmas. It is often paired with evergreen ivy, which stands for fidelity and immortality.

The Cathedral Choir itself was founded in 1880 when the Parish Church of St Peter became the first cathedral of the Diocese of Liverpool.

Liverpool Cathedral, 1958
Carol Concert in Liverpool Cathedral
Choral services have been held in the Lady Chapel since it was first constructed in 1910 and then in the first bay of the main cathedral in 1924. They continued on a daily basis until the Second World War when the frequency was reduced.

The girls’ choir was founded in September 2003. Choral services are now conducted six days a week apart from Wednesdays.

Our modern image, from December 2016, shows the joyous occasion of the 23rd Liverpool Echo annual carol concert in aid of the Alder Hey Children’s Charity.

The programme featured the Cathedral Youth Choir, the Belvedere Academy and the choir of Holy Trinity Church, Southport. Also taking part were Southport’s Young Singer of the Year Rachel Burnett and former Brookside star Dean Sullivan.

*Hundreds of pictures from an unforgettable decade are packed into Clive Hardy’s fascinating book Around Merseyside in the 1960s. It’s available at £9.99 plus postage and packaging.

Just go to inostalgia.co.uk to place your order or ring the hotline on 01928 503777.