Glasgow & West Scotland

Glasgow fire: Building 'part of the fabric of the city'

Glasgow School of Art fire Image copyright Getty Images

Glaswegians are coming to terms with the fact that one of their most famous buildings has, once again, been ravaged by a fire.

Glasgow MP Alison Thewliss said she was "devastated" adding the Glasgow School of Art was "part of the fabric of the city".

University researcher Maria Papanatsiou, who lives round the corner from the building, spoke of her shock and sadness.

Maria has lived in the area since 2013. "I've watched as the restoration went up, and now it's come down," she says.

She was sitting in her living room when, through her window, she saw flames coming from the art school.

"I went down to the street and was there for at least two hours," she said.

Maria was not the only one - others had come to watch, including clubbers who had been evacuated from nearby buildings.

"Everyone was very sad," she says, "One guy was even crying."

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Media captionTako Taal: I've never seen a fire this large before

Artist Tako Taal was having a drink with friends in the school student union bar when the fire broke out.

"We saw people coming in and out saying there was a small fire," she said.

"You could smell smoke coming in. There were already two firemen on the scene and we were moved away really quickly.

"Everyone was confused and shocked. I've never seen a fire this large before."

"The firefighters were really great," she added.

Image caption Comedian Susan Calman described the scenes as "horrific"

In the wake of the fire, famous alumni and Glaswegians expressed their heartbreak at the fire and the damage to the Glasgow School of Art.

Comedian and Strictly Come Dancing contestant Susan Calman said: "Thinking of staff, students, alumni and the wonderful emergency services who, as always, fought to save such a treasure. Just awful."

Travis singer Fran Healy said he could not believe the building was on fire again.

And artist Alison Watt - herself an alumni of the school - said her heart was breaking.

Artist and TV presenter Lachlan Goudie said he was "horrified" by the ravaging of the building describing it as "a terrible bereavement".

"This building was part of Glasgow's soul, a visual expression of Scottish creativity at its peak," he said.

"To see it devastated once was horrendous, to see it assaulted by the flames a second time is gut wrenching."

Image caption TV presenter Lachlan Goudie said the building was 'part of Glasgow's soul'

Louise Rowley studied at the school and was travelling back to the city for the first time since graduating.

During her time there she worked as a tour guide for the building.

"The whole building is overwhelming," she says.

"The hen-run is a beautiful glass room at the back of the building, uniting the east and west wings, somewhere to get inspiration.

"It's so well thought-about and so inspirational."

Ms Thewliss said she was "absolutely devastated" by the news describing the building as "part of the fabric of the city."

"It is something we hold very dear," she added.

She said a lot of skill and talent had gone in to the restoration work. "It's a real blow to see the damage done last night," she said.

She also sent out a plea for any support that could be given.

Image copyright Reuters

Mr Mundell said the UK government was "committed to ensuring this iconic building will be restored if it can be".

He said the way Glaswegians felt about the Glasgow School of Art was equivalent to how Londoners felts about Big Ben.

"People feel an association with the building even if they have never crossed its threshold."

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