Letter: New uses for the precincts of St Paul's Cathedral

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Sir: In his critical article on the future of Paternoster Square ('The second Blitz of St Paul's', 5 August), Jonathan Glancey describes St Paul's Cathedral as having 'been transformed from a house of God and civic temple into an international tourist 'experience' ', and goes on to describe it as 'a hub of new commercial activities'. By implication, he is suggesting that the Dean and Chapter have turned the place from a centre of Christian worship into a 'theme park'.

The reality is, of course, quite different. The worship and prayer life of the cathedral continues unchanged, with hundreds of visitors participating in, or listening to, evensong every day.

Nevertheless, approaching two million people visit the cathedral each year. It is their choice and we have absolutely no desire to discourage them. Their presence does, however, inevitably demand that we make positive and adequate provision for them, as best we can.

To do this we need an assured income, and we now charge for entry in order to secure this.

No one who comes to an act of worship or to pray in the chapel provided is charged.

To imply, then, that, by seeking to make provision for this vast flood of visitors, the Dean and Chapter are consciously 'on the make' is to distort the truth. Our goal is clear, and it is not one of turning the cathedral into Disney World.

Yours faithfully,

MICHAEL SAWARD

Canon Treasurer

St Paul's Cathedral

London, EC4

5 August

Comments