Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Glasgow's School of the Prophets: Trinity College

In 1929 the majority of the United Free Church of Scotland united with the Church of Scotland (thus forming the present Church of Scotland body). Although James Denney had argued in the 1910s that the United Free Church Colleges should not be united with the university Divinity faculties the architects of the union of 1929 thought otherwise. Thus all three colleges were united to the universities in the cities in which they were located.
At Edinburgh the Divinity faculty found itself in possession of a splendid building and eventually relocated there, lock, stock and barrel. Not so at Glasgow.
The Glasgow College was renamed Trinity College and thus began the most far-reaching changes in the history of the College. It was finally decided to combine the College and University faculties by taking most of the College chairs into the university. The first change was seen in 1934, when the Chair of Natural Science endowed for Henry Drummond was suppressed - the University, after all, had a perfectly good science faculty. But things did not stop there. The following year the Chair of Church History, first occupied by James Gibson and most illustriously occupied by Thomas M. Lindsay was suppressed. Then, in 1946 the Chair of New Testament Language and Literature, occupied by Patrick Fairbairn, A.B. Bruce and James Denney in the past, was suppressed and replaced by a lectureship. The following year a lectureship in Church History was also instituted in Trinity College. Trinity College was a shadow of its former self.
But worse was to come. As numbers of students dropped in the 1960s and ‘70s it was felt increasingly difficult to justify the division of the Divinity faculty between two sites. It was decided to sell the Trinity College buildings, and they were finally vacated in 1976. Since then Trinity College has been a building without walls. It remains the part of the University of Glasgow responsible for the training of candidates for the ministry.
Note on sources:
The website of Trinity College (in case the link doesn't work)

The official centenary history of Trinity College: Stuart Mechie, Trinity College, Glasgow (Glasgow, Trinity College, 1956) Hardcover. This is a very helpful outline history.



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