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Art world united in grief and disbelief over Glasgow School of Art fire

Photographer Harry Benson (Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament)
Photographer Harry Benson (Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament)

FORMER students and leading Scots in the worlds of art and architecture yesterday spoke of their shock at the devastating fire.

Photographer Harry Benson, 88, said: “It was an absolutely wonderful building. It gave a lot of people in Glasgow hope of becoming an artist.

“I got the first honorary doctorate, and it was such an achievement. After being a dunce at school, it was very rewarding.

“It was a place for people who weren’t academic to be creative and learn in a different way.”

Poet and Scotland’s former Makar Liz Lochhead, 70, who studied there, said she was “feeling emotional” after learning about the fire.

Cathy Jamieson, 61, former MP, MSP and a sculptor graduate from the school, said: “We need to assess the state of the damage and move forward.”

Bob McCaffrey, 42, a graduate, former tour guide and now visiting lecturer in product design, said: “It was designed especially to inspire students.”

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Alan Dunlop, professor of architecture at the art school, said he was “devastated”.

He said: “It’s horrible. The building does look as though from the inside it’s been totally gutted. All that seems to remain is the stone walls on the outside.”

The inferno (Peter Swanton/PA Wire)

Stuart Robertson, director of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society, said: “This is a world class building. With all the restoration work going on, it’s just horrendous.”

Sam Patterson, 30, vice president of the Glasgow Institute of Architects, said: “It’s a shocker, especially in Mackintosh’s 150th anniversary year.”

Reporting team: Judith Duffy, Hannah Rodger, Kieran Andrews, Sophie Law & Andrew Picken

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