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Phoenix from the ashes?

As the ashes are damped down after the devastating fire at the Cuming Museum, we call for urgent action to secure the shell of this magnificent building and to begin planning for its future.

Yesterday's devastating fire at the Cuming Museum has shocked south London.

The Cuming Museum is in a Grade II-listed building that was built in 1864-5 as a vestry hall, and was used as Southwark Town Hall from 1900-1965.  Together with the neighbouring library and clinic it forms an impressive civic complex which is a key part of the Borough's history and a wonderful piece of townscape.  A major fire yesterday destroyed most of the roofs of the museum and will also have damaged the interiors and contents.  Though the emergency services are still damping down the building, it is vital that Southwark Council acts quickly to minimise the damage.  As soon as the building has been made safe a survey must be undertaken by an engineer specialising in historic buildings to establish the condition of the building, to identify any temporary propping that will be needed and to design a temporary roof to protect the building from the elements while plans are drawn up for permanent repair.  The Victorian Society urges Southwark Council to minimise the impact of this tragic fire by making a swift commitment to repairing this major historic building and ensuring that the Cuming Museum can return to its historic home.

Tuesday 26 March, 2013

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