School of Art blaze sparks Capital safety checks

Firefighters tackle the fierce blaze at the Glasgow School of Art. Picture: Getty
Firefighters tackle the fierce blaze at the Glasgow School of Art. Picture: Getty
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Museums, monuments and art galleries owned by the city face fire safety inspections ­following the devastating blaze that ripped through the ­Glasgow School of Art.

An audit of fire prevention systems for more than a dozen Capital venues will be launched as part of a safety review ­aiming to “avert a ­similar tragic event” following last week’s blaze.

The announcement of sweeping inspections comes just days after the fire-hit ­Glasgow School of Art ­reopened following a major clean-up operation.

Firefighters have confirmed around 70 per cent of the contents of the Charles Rennie MacKintosh building have been saved from the flames but much of the world-famous library was lost.

It is not yet known when inspections will begin.

The city was compelled to boost protection of buildings of culture and heritage after concerns were raised at Thursday’s meeting of the full council.

Culture chief Councillor Richard Lewis vowed to launch a fire safety review under questioning from Tory cllr Dominc ­Heslop. Speaking after the meeting, the culture boss welcomed inspections.

He said: “The loss of the Mackintosh Library is a tragedy for all of Scotland and, in light of the fire, we must make sure we have the correct procedures in place to help keep our collections safe in Edinburgh. Many of the Capital’s greatest works of art and important historic documents are stored in the City Art Centre and Collections Centre, and I would welcome a review of risk assessments at these venues and all other council-owned museums and galleries in order to understand how we might mitigate against such risks.” Among the venues being assessed is the City Art Centre, which lays claim to showcasing the finest collections of Scottish art in the UK as well as hosting some of the best international touring exhibitions.

Other council-run buildings under scrutiny include: Museum of Childhood, Museum of Edinburgh, The People’s Story Museum, The Writers’ Museum, Queensferry Museum, Museums Collection Centre and Travelling Gallery.

Cllr Heslop said: “I was encouraged by Cllr Lewis’ response which stated we do perhaps take these things for granted and if there is anything good from the fire that we can learn, then we should do so to avert a similar tragic event from occurring in Edinburgh.”

Treasure trove of precious artefacts

A TREASURE trove of precious and historical artefacts lie in display cabinents across the city’s rich portfolio of museums and art galleries.

Among them is the feeding bowl and inscribed collar belonging to one of Edinburgh’s most famous residents – Greyfriar’s Bobby – at The Museum of Edinburgh.

Boasting more than 4500 artworks, the City Art Centre is reputed to have the best collections of Scottish art in the country, including modern artists such as William McTaggart and Joan Eardley and a huge number of 17th century works.

The Museum of Edinburgh is home to the National Convenant, signed by a large gathering demanding reform of the church, in Greyfriars Kirkyard in 1638.

In the Writers’ Museum, a wardrobe constructed by Deacon Brodie and owned by Robert Louis Stevenson is on display, alongside a first edition of Walter Scott’s novel Waverley and Stevenson’s beloved classic A Child’s Garden of Verses.