Martha Groves’ article “Holy Trinity — Shanghai’s Red Church nears end of major renovation,” published on Deseret News, covers the renovation of Holy Trinity Cathedral in Shanghai and its near reopening at the time.
British life in a faraway land
Groves’ article offers unique insight into the design of the building. Peter Hibbard, a British expat and president of the Royal Asiatic Society China in Shanghai, noted that “the cathedral was a central feature of British life in a faraway land,” and that couldn’t be truer.
Holy Trinity Cathedral was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott. Scott was commissioned to design “a model of modern ecclesiastical architecture” for 800 worshipers. The price for such a design? 60,000 taels. Scott designed the cathedral to budget, but due to construction budgetary constraints, Scott’s design for the cathedral had to be scaled back. The man given that task was William Kidner, one of Scott’s junior architects.
Nearing the end of major renovation
Regardless, the final design is incredible. Built in a Victorian Gothic style in the 1860s, it wouldn’t look out of place in London. Over the years it has served many purposes, but in 2006 it fell into disrepair and needed extensive renovation work.
The idea was to restore the cathedral back to its appearance in the 1930s, which was when service was at its peak. Architects in China were provided with a budget to get it back to its former glory as part of plans to restore Shanghai’s historic Western architecture.
To find out about how the architects got on with the renovation work, we invite you to read the original article on Deseret News.