Notre Dame and the risk to ancient buildings: Rescue write to The Times

Rescue have recently had the following letter published in The Times, on Wednesday April 17th, 2019.

Notre Dame and the risk to ancient buildings

Sir, The terrible scenes are a sobering reminder of the peril faced by historic buildings during renovation works.  Tinder-dry and filled with the dust of centuries, such structures are especially at risk as the events in Paris, Windsor Castle and the Cutty Sark attest. Yet at Notre Dame, hope for restoration is already high. A full survey of the structure exists, which will enable any elements of the fabric now lost to be recreated and replaced.

Here in the UK, another ancient structure is about to undergo an extensive programme of restoration. The Palace of Westminster, a World Heritage Site, is crumbling and MPs have already taken the decision to vacate the building in 2025 to allow for a comprehensive series of works. However, no archaeological survey of the Palace exists and MPs have rejected the necessity of having such a survey conducted, owing to cost.

Not significant enough for a full survey prior to restoration?

This cost would be negligible compared with the information such a survey would supply as well as being able to provide, as an insurance policy, proper understanding for restoration should a catastrophic event occur. MPs should view the images from Paris as a warning of the dangers that are always close at hand and reconsider their opposition to having an archaeological survey conducted of this iconic building.

Robin Densem
Chairman, Rescue, the British Archaeological Trust


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