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Can anyone save this piece of history?

The rotting corpse of a historic building sits in Belfast, the birthplace of the Titanic, waiting to be demolished and turned into another hotel.

Harland & Wolff, whose headquarters this originally was, has long since sold it on. Next door, the Titanic Building, all shiny and new, with a misshapen tin-foil appearance, dwarfs it.

The people of Belfast are right to be proud of this building; it indicates a city on the up. But the long-dead inhabitants of the forgotten building next door must be turning in their graves.

The majority of the tourists that flock to the shiny building will not even know the old building exists. Two of its rooms are listed and so it cannot be demolished - yet.

But like most listed buildings that are unloved, someone, somewhere wants it to fall down. Meanwhile, the rain that drips though the roof rots the ornate structures inside and the famous drawing room is sad to see.

Up until modern times, we demolished historical buildings, from Tudor palaces to the Cavern Club. We look back and say 'Oh, how could they do that?'

History obviously does repeat itself. Among the furore of this Titanic centenary year doesn't anyone out there have the political power, or the cash, to save this historic building before it is too late?

HELEN SYMES

Liverpool

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