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Monday, 9 December, 2002, 17:50 GMT
City's heritage largely unscathed
The Gilded Balloon comedy venue
The Gilded Balloon facade could be saved
The agency tasked with looking after Scotland's listed buildings believes fire damage to Edinburgh's Old Town is not as bad as first feared.

Historic Scotland, which works within the Scottish Executive, sent one of its inspectors to the site on Monday to look at the damage and assess what might be saved.

A spokesman said: "In terms of the historic fabric being destroyed we have been very fortunate."


Loss of any building is a great shame, but no one died and that is the most important thing.

Historic Scotland spokesman
Numbers 74 to 84 South Bridge, which once housed Edinburgh's JR Apartment store, will have to come down.

Most recently it had been home to a variety of shops, an amusement arcade and tenement flats, but was not a listed building.

One C listed building which housed the Gilded Balloon comedy venue was gutted by fire and is under threat of being demolished.

Water damage

The Historic Scotland spokesman said: "It lost its roof and all of the floors in between, so basically there is nothing to hold it up."

He added that the facade of the building might be saved but a proper assessment would not be possible until the fire brigade had finished its work.

Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle is safeguarded by Historic Scotland
The historically significant mock-Georgian Adam House in Chambers Street suffered smoke and water damage but it will be cleaned up and back in use by Edinburgh University some time next year.

Historic Scotland's spokesman said: "Loss of any building is a great shame, but no one died and that is the most important thing.

"We now have a strong interest in what will replace the buildings.

"Of course it will have to be in keeping with the World Heritage site, but it doesn't have to be like for like."

Listed buildings categories
A-Listed: National interest
B-Listed: Regional interest
C-Listed: Local interest
It is hoped that the rebuilding work will offer an opportunity to showcase Edinburgh's substantial architectural skills.

Historic Scotland said that fire had become the major threat to the country's heritage.

Scotland loses on average one historic building to fire each week and one A-listed building to fire each month.

The spokesman believes that fire prevention systems tend not to be used in older buildings because it often felt the character of the structure might be affected.


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09 Dec 02 | Scotland
08 Dec 02 | Scotland
08 Dec 02 | Scotland
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