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'Miracle' as archive at art school saved

GLASGOW School of Art has completed the salvage of its valuable archive feared lost in a major fire.

CLEANING UP: Staff and volunteers complete the salvage work.
CLEANING UP: Staff and volunteers complete the salvage work.

School of Art library staff, working with volunteers and Historic Scotland, worked in what was described as a "late-night human chain miracle" to salvage the archives which have become a famed source for research.

The School of Art's archives and collections comprise a wide range of material from school records to artworks and architectural drawings, textile pieces, plasters casts, photographs and furniture. A School of Art spokeswoman said: "All the Mackintosh works on paper that were in the archive have been retrieved."

The School of Art received advice from the conservation team of the National Registers of Scotland as part of the project to salvage the archive.

Meanwhile, the students are expected to make a return to some parts of the school today, almost a week after the fire that devastated the Mackintosh-designed building.

A staff meeting is expected to take place this morning in the Reid Auditorium.

The blaze which started in the basement just before lunchtime on Friday, damaged much of the west wing of the Category-A listed building, where students were preparing for their final-year degree show.

Fire chiefs say they succeeded in saving 90 per cent of the school's infrastructure and 70 per cent of its contents, but there was extensive damage to the school's library. There are expected to be meetings with 4th year students today as a decision over the final year degree show is made.

Glasgow City Council has made the McLellan Galleries in Sauchiehall Street available as a potential venue. It is understood that some of the degree show work is already being housed there.

Up to 100 fine art students who lost work in Friday's blaze will receive special Phoenix bursaries, providing studio space for up to six months and a living allowance while they rebuild their portfolios.

It is understood that online donations had grown into tens of thousands of pounds.

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