St Columba’s Catholic Cathedral, Oban, Scotland

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This is a first for me, a fairly modern church, well a Cathedral really, St Columba’s Catholic Cathedral, in Oban, on the West Coast of Scotland. I think I have posted a couple of Victorian Churches, but nothing this young, built in 1932 and 27 years later, finished in 1959, it replaced an earlier building,  But it made me smile, it is a big, beautiful modern building and I had an overwhelming feeling that it reminded me of somewhere……and it did, the architect chosen to design St Columba’s Cathedral, was Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. He designed the Anglican Cathedral at Liverpool and the famous red telephone box.  I had the same smile on my face when I visited Liverpool Cathedral….I should have known, so many times I have taken photos and looked at St Columba’s, it is like looking at Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral.


It is huge, not quite as huge as Liverpool’s, but it does have the same feeling and the light is amazing.  For quite a few years I had meant to make the effort to explore and in 2013, I did, we had a spare afternoon and were just enjoying the sunshine in Oban,  so it was a good opportunity for me to have a look, as long as the door was open, it was.


The Cathedral is in the neo-Gothic style and pink and blue granite are the materials, the large windows allow as much light as possible to stream into the building.


In 1878 the Scottish Hierarchy was restored. Bishop Angus MacDonald, the first Bishop of the Diocese, organised the building of the first Cathedral in Oban. Made out of corrugated iron, it was supposed to last for only a short while. In fact, it stood for over 50 years.  The following three photos are on show inside and the first is of the ‘The Tin Cathedral’ in 1900, with a view of the lavish interior.  I assume the last photo is part of church left standing, while the building of the new church being carried out behind the church tower, the new church tower was not built until the early 1950’s as WW2 intervened and put the building back quite a few years.




11 Replies to “St Columba’s Catholic Cathedral, Oban, Scotland”

  1. Huge is a good word! 🙂 They did a great job of bringing in light But I have never heard of a corrugated iron building before. I’ll have to see if I can find out more about that. Great pictures, Lynne. I like that you post so many, I get a much better sense of a place. 🙂

    1. I couldn’t find out much about the earlier building even in the present cathedral. They use to build corrugated buildings, just to use as short term, they built quite a few smaller churches, which are still around. But the modern building is pretty amazing 🙂 I just like taking lots of photos, then I can’t just post one or two, the whole lot has to go on 🙂

  2. Lynne, I never knew this about Oban Cathedral, and have seen it so many times! How very interesting. And I’ve never been inside – how spacious and light it is. Actually the only time I have been up close is when Leonie abseiled down the outside of the tower, for charity! 🙂 Superb photos, and I think I can see some bluebells on the hillside above, in one of your pics.

    1. Oh that would have made some good photos, but you must just pop in and have a look. I think you are right about the bluebells, looking forward to seeing them soon 🙂

  3. Wonderful photos and history Lynne 🙂 St Columba’s Cathedral also looks very similar to the cathedral at Guildford, possibly also another by the same architect. Certainly Guildford Cathedral is of a similar sort of age.

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