St Columba's Cathedral

St. Columba's Cathedral, Oban
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

St. Columba's Cathedral, Oban

The sizeable edifice of St. Columba's Cathedral dominates the Corran Esplanade of Oban (Argyll and Bute), overlooking Kerrera and the Firth of Lorn. It serves as the Roman Catholic Cathedral for the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles, which includes the West Highlands, and the Inner and Outer Hebrides.

Designed by the noted architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott (1880 - 1960), the foundation stone of the Cathedral was laid in 1932, and building work was undertaken by local contractors. The work was funded by money raised by the Bishop of Argyll in the USA, Canada and Ireland. Constructed in pink Peterhead and blue Inverawe granite in the Neo-Gothic style, the simple interior of the cathedral contrasts with the bold exterior. Construction was interrupted by the Second World War and the cathedral was not completed until 1959, with the consecration of the bells.

St. Columba's Cathedral replaced a 'temporary' structure, which was built in 1886 and known as the Tin Cathedral because it was clad in corrugated iron. This earlier building had been lavishly furnished at the expense of John Crichton-Stuart, the 3rd Marquis of Bute (1847 - 1900).

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