The Disaster at Notre Dame in Paris

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fountainhall
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#1 The Disaster at Notre Dame in Paris

Post by fountainhall » Wed Apr 17, 2019 10:10 am

Like many here in Thailand, I switched on CNN for a quick news update before going to bed on Monday night. For two hours I remained transfixed as I watched that massive inferno which I was sure would completely consume one of the greatest buildings in the world. I have visited Notre Dame at least 5 times since my first aged 20, marvelling at its great Rose windows and being transported by the sound of its huge pipe organ. I could not believe anything would remain. That the towers still stand, the treasures were safely evacuated, the recently restored organ seems intact and the Rose windows did not melt appears to me extraordinary. That photo of the golden cross almost defiant amongst the smoke and shards of light was extraordinary.

Unfortunately I have no digital images of the interior. But on a purely personal note, 5 years ago I had hoped to meet one of my closest friends and his wife in Britain for what for him would be a final visit. He was dying, too young, from a form of emphysema. Unfortunately, his illness progressed very quickly and he was unable to return from his USA home. He loved visiting cathedrals. As the last thing I could do for him, I visited several in the South of England and sent him photos of each. Cathedrals and some other large Churches are part of Britain's great heritage. A few of those photos.

Winchester Cathedral
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The Roof in Shrewsbury Cathedral
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Windsor Castle Chapel
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The extraordinary 1330s Octagon in the roof of the Norman Ely Cathedral
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Salisbury Cathedral
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Part of a huge Window depicting English historical figures in the Chapter House of Canterbury Cathedral
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Canterbury Cathedral built during Norman times
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The worry for the curators of all the great cathedrals must surely be that there but for the grace of God go our buildings. Many European cathedrals are older than Notre Dame with a lot of wood used during construction

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#2 Re: The Disaster at Notre Dame in Paris

Post by deanagam » Wed Apr 17, 2019 10:45 am

Why didn't God prevent this fire from happening?

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#3 Re: The Disaster at Notre Dame in Paris

Post by fountainhall » Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:00 am

There are no doubt those who will argue that coming as it did at the start of Holy Week it will bring Catholics in particular and Christians in general together in a way nothing else could! The curious unanswered question is how did it start?

Fires have a habit of starting in unoccupied buildings undergoing renovation. The jewel in Glasgow's artistic crown - indeed one of the great iconic buildings in the UK, the Rennie Mackintosh School of Art, was partially destroyed by a fire 4 years ago when a student exhibition used flammable materials that could self combust. After the restoration funded by many corporations and individuals, including actor Brad Pitt, was almost complete, the building was consumed again by a much more devastating fire early last year. The construction company seems partly at fault but the biggest criticism has been aimed. I reckon rightly, at the Board of the School. I hope all were summarily fired (sic)!

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#4 Re: The Disaster at Notre Dame in Paris

Post by deanagam » Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:32 pm

The Windsor Castle similarly suffered from a fire many years ago during a renovation work on one of the rooms.
The Queen was understandably distraught by the incident probably caused by careless workmen.

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#5 Re: The Disaster at Notre Dame in Paris

Post by traveller123 » Wed Apr 17, 2019 6:37 pm

Thanks for posting the stunning photos

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#6 Re: The Disaster at Notre Dame in Paris

Post by Undaunted » Wed Apr 17, 2019 10:08 pm

deanagam wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 10:45 am
Why didn't God prevent this fire from happening?
Just one more to add to the list!
"In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king"

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#7 Re: The Disaster at Notre Dame in Paris

Post by a447 » Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:27 pm

Given that the roof structure was made out of timber, I wonder why they didn't have some kind of sprinkler system installed.

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#8 Re: The Disaster at Notre Dame in Paris

Post by fountainhall » Thu Apr 18, 2019 9:27 am

Cash - or the lack of it!

I think we tend to forget that visiting Notre Dame, most other cathedrals and many other significant historical buildings is either free or basically peanuts. Yet the cost of the on-going annual maintenance of huge buildings from 800 and more years ago must be humungous. As anyone who looked at the exterior frontage of Notre Dame will attest, the effect of weather on the stone over time was very obvious. There have been several reports that some of the masonry in Notre Dame was regularly crumbling. One reporter noted she had seen some of this being covered up by wood because there were just no funds to repair it properly. It seems that most of the funds for the upkeep of Notre Dame came from the USA and not France. I cannot believe a sprinkler system would have been very expensive. But when a building has stood for 800 years without a fire, it probably had a low priority.

I believe the use of wood to assist in the creation of ancient vaulted buildings was pretty common. With so many historically important buildings as old and older than Notre Dame around Europe, an expert suggested on CNN that perhaps the time has come for a new international body to cross national boundaries and become responsible for their maintenance. That makes sense to me.

But it does seem strange that a much older building with a much higher internal structure like Haghia Sophia in Istanbul can withstand earthquakes and other natural disasters - and yet still be standing today.

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