The London Fire Brigade has saved the BAC’s famous Victorian octagonal stained glass dome in yesterday’s devastating fire that has torn through half of the building.
Twelve fire engines and over 80 firefighters with high speed jets of water mounted on special turntable ladders battled to contain the blaze that broke out in the northern section of the Grand Hall yesterday late afternoon.
Fire investigators are trying to determine how it started.
Station Manager Matt Burrows visited the scene on Saturday 14th March and said:
Firefighters did a great job to save large parts of the building including the octagonal dome which I’m told is priceless and salvaged valuable art work. The centre are hopeful that they will be able to open unaffected areas of the building to the public today. We’ll continue to damp down and our fire investigators are inspecting the building to find the cause.
Local people were seen to be in tears yesterday as they watched the high flames and massive plumes of black smoke billowing into the sky from this south London iconic landmark.
The BAC used to be Battersea Old Town Hall and has become one of Britain’s most important theatre venues for fringe and experimental productions.
It would appear half of the arts centre has been saved- in particular the theatre spaces, offices and facilities at the front of the building on Lavender Hill.
Artistic Director and CEO of BAC David Jubb said:
Yesterday there was a fire at Battersea Arts Centre that destroyed the Grand Hall and Lower Hall.The organisation and the front half of the building live to fight another day. We start now.
As I cycled towards the building last night I thought about the millions of people who have shared and enjoyed the Grand Hall and Lower Hall over the last 120 years – as a public space – for everyone. These public spaces are reducing in number – which makes it all the more heartbreaking.
Huge thanks are owed to all the emergency services, who literally saved the front half of the building, to staff, artists and volunteers at Battersea Arts Centre, and to everyone who has shown their overwhelming support online over the last 24 hours. The passion for the building and the organisation is extraordinary. Thank you all for being part of this. We really need you at this time.
The BAC said:
Thanks to the brilliant efforts of the emergency services the front half of the building was untouched and is safe. Battersea Arts Centre has been overwhelmed by the outpourings of support on social media and by the generosity of more than 600 people who have already donated more than £14,000 towards the building repairs. Every contribution counts, and those who wish to support at this difficult time can donate via the fundraising page dona.to/bac012 set up by the National Fundraising Scheme.
See our previous coverage.