Glasgow & West Scotland

Glasgow School of Art will recover from blaze

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Image caption The school will reopen for students on Friday.

The rooms may smell of smoke, the hallways piled high with debris, but it's heartening to see how much of the Mackintosh and its contents survived.

Whole rooms and their contents are left intact. The Mackintosh Room - used for board meetings - looks as if its occupants have just stepped out for a breath of air. The fireplace, light fittings, panelled bureau and distinctive windows show no trace of the devastating fire which swept through the building last Friday.

The director's office with its upstairs studio space is similarly intact, only the furniture, pushed aside at odd angles gives some sense of the drama which unfolded here.

Tales of courage and commonsense abound. The firefighters formed a protective ring around the central staircase and passed priceless furniture down a human chain.

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Image caption Rows of pictures were laid out to be catalogued as the clean-up operation got under way.

The Mackintosh archive - everything from tea cosies to carpets - is laid out on the floor of the Reid building, drying beneath humidifiers. Across the road, the broken panes of glass are all that remains of the library.

The west side of the building took the brunt of the fire, and suffered the worst of the damage. But hope is present in the archive - which survived intact in the concrete basement of the east wing - and includes plans and surveys as well as recent restoration details. It will be vital for the restoration.

Even the mound of ash may offer clues to conservationists about how best to rebuild.

The original slave clock system, also recently restored, is largely intact. All stopped at quarter to four on Friday afternoon when the electrics blew. For the students, work stopped much earlier as they were forced to abandon their studios, their work and their personal belongings and flee the burning building.

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Image caption Dozens of tapestries were checked for any signs of smoke or fire damage.

Many of those works were brought out today, wrapped in blankets and transferred to the McLellan Galleries where their owners can reclaim them on Friday. Others have lost work.

A lot depends on what medium they work in, and where their studios are but those who've lost work will be able to apply for bursaries, and it's hoped their degree shows will be postponed till the spring.

For everyone else, it's brief respite before the hard work resumes. For most, the degree shows will go ahead as planned. The whole campus will spring back into life on Friday, with the 200 plus art students based in the Mac, along with admin staff, relocated to buildings close by.

The clocks may have stopped, but the GSA intends to be back in business before the week is out.

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