Podcast: Rescuing Rennie Mackintosh

Did you miss out on last week’s talk about the fire that devastated the Glasgow School of Art almost a year ago? Fear not, as Duncan Chappell (Academic Liaison Librarian, GSA) kindly let us record his presentation and share his powerpoint with you!

The talk describes the fabulous interior and collections that were destroyed in the fire, such as the iconic periodical table and rare avant-garde journals. However, he also discusses miraculous survivors like the paper documents in conservation boxes (hurrah!) and tightly packed books on shelves.

Duncan talks about how the fire started in the basement of the school and spread rapidly through ventilation shafts they did not know even existed. He then describes the aftermath of the fire, explaining the salvage operations carried out with the help of conservators, museum professionals and volunteers. From this experience, he then offers helpful tips and advice for other institutions who are developing a disaster plan.

Overall, this is a heart-breaking, but fascinating talk and one that conservators from all disciplines can learn from. So sit back, relax and listen to this excellent discourse on what to do when disaster strikes!

“Rescuing Rennie Mackintosh: Response to Fire at the Glasgow School of Art” by Duncan Chappell, Academic Liaison Librarian, Glasgow School of Art. Recorded at the Centre for Research Collections, Edinburgh University Main Library on 14th April 2015.  

This is our first attempt at recording audio, so apologies for the slight distortion on some parts of the presentation. The accompanying Powerpoint presentation can be found here. Rescuing Rennie Mackintosh: Response to Fire at Glasgow School of Art

Hope you enjoy, please let us know what you think in the comments box below!

2 thoughts on “Podcast: Rescuing Rennie Mackintosh

  1. Pingback: GSA Library: Recovery, Reconstruction and Revival | Special Collections at Glasgow School of Art Library

  2. Reblogged this on Off the Shelf and commented:
    In case you haven’t heard it already, this podcast of Duncan Chappell talking about the aftermath of The Glasgow School of Art fire is worth listening to. You can follow his powerpoint at the same time which has fascinating photos of the damage and remedial action that was taken . It is great advice for anyone looking at disaster management as Duncan talks through the steps taken to salvage the library and archives, what their priorities were in the first few days, roles and responsibilities, the expert and volunteer help provided, solutions to problems and plans for the future. Really interesting points on the importance of social media are raised, which is something that isn’t really covered in the disaster planning literature. The lasting impression for me, though, is of the shelf of badly burned books and the surprise that the contents were intact, conveying a feeling of optimism for the future.


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