Letter: A cathedral for cash registers

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The Independent Online
Sir: May a member of last week's visiting choir be allowed to add a comment to the discussion of the management of St Paul's Cathedral? While I would like to believe Canon Michael Saward's protestations (letter, 7 August), my own experience of the cathedral while singing evensong every afternoon this past week was more in accord with the remarks in Jonathan Glancey's article (5 August).

That every visitor to this great cathedral must first pass through cash registers - manned, at times, by vergers in cassocks - only to be greeted immediately by a collection of souvenir stands, is distressing. But I was more sorely disappointed to find that this commercial activity continues throughout evensong itself; the concomitant hubbub from the west end destroys any reverential atmosphere and is unworthy of St Paul's.

I am not convinced that the admission charge is motivated solely by the necessity to 'make provision for the flood of visitors'. From the experience of this past week, it is obvious that the authorities are unwilling to take the steps necessary to keep the tourist traffic from intruding upon the very worship services for which, after all, the building was erected.

Yours faithfully,


Winston-Salem, North Carolina

10 August