Show goes on at blaze arts centre


Published: Sunday 15th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Fire-stricken Battersea Arts Centre proved the show must go on after partly reopening, thanks to the skill of firefighters who saved half of the 120-year-old building.

The arts hub was able to ensure two of its performances went ahead last night, after the fire ripped through the south London building on Friday evening.

The Grand Hall and Lower Hall were destroyed by the blaze which took 80 firefighters to bring under control, as they battled to save “priceless” areas of the building and salvage artworks.

Artistic director David Jubb said he was “heartbroken” over the damage to the building but was overwhelmed by an outpouring of public generosity which has evolved into a national campaign to help save the arts hub.

Donations began flooding in as soon as news broke that the building was on fire.

More than 1,100 people had given money by last night to an appeal set up by the charity National Funding Scheme, which raised more than £27,000 in just 24 hours.

London Fire Brigade i nvestigators continued yesterday to sift through the ashes looking for clues to the cause of the blaze.

Mr Jubb said “the most important thing” was that nobody was hurt in the fire. “It’s heartbreaking. But we will get through this. Brick by brick,” he said.

“Huge thanks are owed to all the emergency services, who literally saved the front half of the building, to staff, artists and volunteers at Battersea Arts Centre, and to everyone who has shown their overwhelming support online over the last 24 hours.

“The passion for the building and the organisation is extraordinary. Thank you all for being part of this. We really need you at this time.”

Station manager Matt Burrows, who visited the scene yesterday, said: “Firefighters did a great job to save large parts of the building including the octagonal dome, which I’m told is priceless, and salvaged valuable art work.

“We’ll continue to damp down and our fire investigators are inspecting the building to find the cause.”

Published: Sunday 15th March 2015 by The News Editor

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