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The ideal model of a parish minister

Andrew G Ralston reflects on the life of the Very Rev Dr Nevile Davidson and his transforming work at Glasgow Cathedral.

WELL into the twentieth century, the interior of Glasgow Cathedral retained an atmosphere of Victorian gloom. The painted Munich Glass windows in the quire were in poor condition and let in little light, the nave was unfurnished and the magnificent lower church unlit. One visitor complained that there was not even a sign to indicate the whereabouts of the tomb of St Mungo, Glasgow’s patron saint.

Things are very different today. Each year over 400,000 visitors from all over the world come to see the Cathedral, where they can be shown round by the volunteer guides or take an audio tour, and the building’s collection of modern stained glass is reputed to be the finest in Great Britain.

The transformation of Glasgow Cathedral was largely the achievement of one man, Dr Nevile Davidson, the minister between 1935 and 1967, who not only had a vision of how the building could be remodelled but provided the leadership necessary to carry it out over a 25-year period.

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IN THIS ISSUE SCOTLAND 2020 The changing face of Scotland since the millennium CHANGED BY AFRICA Social enterprise group trip to Zambia TAKING STEPS OF FAITH Interview with chief exectutive of National Weekend of Invitation and much more