The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity continued to attract detractors who despised the uninspiring design of the building. Richard Roberts, vicar of Milton Abbas in Dorset, who visited Gibraltar in 1859 described his displeasure at the sight of the ‘cathedral’ in no uncertain terms:
We sought in vain for a church open for afternoon service. We tried the Cathedral . . . What a THING to dignify with that august title, suggestive of so much grandeur, solemnity, and reverential awe! Surely there can hardly be in Bath, Brighton, or Cheltenham, no, nor yet in London itself, a proprietary chapel even, that would not blush to see the building, where the first English Bishop of Gibraltar is supposed to have set up his Episcopal throne!
No wonder the bishop does not live there! And as if it were not anomaly enough to designate such a tabernacle by the same name as the glorious fanes of Canterbury, and York, Salisbury, and Ely, the builder (architect I cannot call him), has crowned his work with an apex of absurdity, by selecting of all others the Moorish style - the style of the arch-enemies of the Cross - to be the exponent of his ideas on the subject of Christian worship, as if England could supply no examples of what a church ought to be!
After beholding such temples to the Most High, as the Cathedrals of Burgos, Toledo, and
Seville, it makes one, as an Englishman, absolutely ashamed to stand by the shabby, mean, dwarf-sized edifice, erected by our countrymen beneath the shadow of that rock, where millions have been spent ungrudgingly upon batteries and fortifications.
Although enjoying the privilege of a purer faith than any professed throughout the Peninsula, yet here in the eye of Spaniard, Moor, and Jew, we content ourselves with a building, which none of those religionists (did they possess our national wealth) would ever presume to dedicate to God, as the best he could offer, as we may well believe from what we actually know of their various places of worship!
In 1879, the Gibraltar Directory described the Cathedral in slightly more modest terms:
… a plain stone building, but commodious with pleasing Arabesque ornaments in the interior - the door and windows are of the Moorish horse-shoe shape.
Over time, the unique Moorish features of the Anglican Cathedral gradually gained acceptance within the local Anglican community, particularly after a complete re-rendering of the façade which made the exterior of the Church much more attractive than its original stoic design.
The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity was badly affected by the Bedenham explosion of 27th April 1951; the roof had been lifted and moved and all of its stained-glass windows were destroyed. Essential repairs to the roof were carried out successfully prior to the onset of the winter rains, together with other renovations and improvements, and by Christmas the Cathedral was once more open for divine worship.
In 1997, following a three-year fundraising campaign, the Cathedral went through another complete refurbishment programme.