Belfast Telegraph

Editor's View Point: Bank Buildings can rise from ashes and survive in adversity, much like the old city for which it is a treasured landmark

Editor's Viewpoint

Anyone who has stood near the shell of the gutted Bank Buildings or has seen it in the media must feel sad.

The savagery of the blaze that destroyed the interior of the landmark was shocking, but there was also great admiration for the firefighters who stopped the inferno spreading and who did all they could to save the edifice.

We owe them much thanks for their bravery and skill, as we do when any 999 call may put them at risk of injury or death.

This was more than a fire that destroyed the inside of a famous stone structure. It was a conflagration like no other in its history.

This building stood proudly through the centuries, including two World Wars, the Partition of Ireland, the Troubles and an IRA bomb in 1975, and latterly, the hopes for a better future in the Good Friday Agreement.

For many people it is an individual loss, and an unwelcome intrusion into fond memories where the Bank Buildings was a landmark - a place to meet, to shop, or indeed to check the time.

If there is anything to be salvaged from the events of this sad week, and hopefully as much of the physical structure as possible, it is a growing awareness of how much we cling on to what we have and what we know.

The Bank Buildings is central to the history of Belfast, where so much has been lost. This is due to many factors, including the Troubles and redevelopment, and also through ignorance and carelessness concerning our built heritage. However, we must not stand in the way of progress, or ignore the need to change and evolve, but we must do this without losing sight - quite literally - of the value of our shared history all around us.

If a place is defined by anything, it is by both its people and its buildings.

The people here know how to survive in adversity, and we all hope that our beloved Bank Buildings may one day be restored to its former glory.

Belfast Telegraph

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