16 April 2019

Notre Dame: construction’s priceless contribution to history captivates the world

A fire engulfed the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, a UNESCO World Heritage site, which resulted in the destruction of the 850-year old external timber roof and the collapse of the iconic spire.

The fire broke out shortly after 6.30pm in the roof space surrounding the spire, which was enveloped in scaffolding used to carry out major renovation works, and quickly spread out throughout the evening. Firefighters managed to prevent the blaze from spreading to the two towers.

As a fellow country with buildings and structures that date back hundreds of years forming part of our national identity, we share in the grief of Parisians, when looking at the damage caused to one of France’s most iconic symbols. However, we are confident that, with the right skills, this historic landmark can be sympathetically restored to continue to delight millions of visitors in years to come. Clare Watson, chair of the NFB Heritage Group, said:

“We understand the anguish of seeing such an important landmark destroyed so quickly while being witnessed in real time across the world. In a time of global and political divisions, let us not forget how important Notre Dame was and will be, as a symbol of national identity, of religion and as a feat of architecture. This building brought people together.”