Your University, One Photo at a Time

Bower Building Fire, 8 Years Ago

Bower Building Fire, 8 Years Ago

On October 24th 2001, 8 years ago today, the Bower Building was gutted by a fire just 4 months after the building had celebrated its 100 year anniversary. The fire destroyed the entire inside and roof of the building, mercifully leaving the façade unscathed. The building, which used to contain “two large teaching laboratories, an herbarium on two floors with a small library, a museum occupying three floors, a 300-seat lecture room, staff offices and a workshop” were rebuilt at a cost of £10.8 million and reopened in three years after the fire in November 2004. The botany museum which was destroyed in the fire contained manuscripts by Charles Darwin, together with a large number of samples from his expeditions. The building is mainly taken up by the Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Department and faculty offices.

I was going to mention that on Google’s satellite maps the Bower Building is shown as a construction zone while it was being refitted and I was going to link to it. Interestingly, the maps for Glasgow have been renewed and are shinier than ever. Here, take a look for yourself. You can also see that the Frasier Building is finished and the Hetherington Building which contains the Language Centre is being extended, but the north side of the Library is shown pre-refurbishment. Oh, the new version of the maps have some buildings and services mentioned, but most of them are completely in the wrong places. Case in point, the QMU is in the wrong place, the GUU is listed at “The Universal Bar & Restaurant”, and the University Library is tagged as being a few block north of its actual location, up Hillhead Street. Any other mistakes I missed?

You can find some photos and an article on the fire on the BBC News website from October 2001. More “On This Day” entries can be found on Glasgow University Story website at maintained by the Archive Services. Information also from University Story site.

[Poll #5: What is the Nicest Building at Glasgow University?]
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© 2009



One response

  1. It hardly seems eight years ago! I can remember standing in the Library on Level 10 and watching the building burn out the windows. A colleague and I stood and watched in shock and dismay as the roof of the area housing the library and botany collection fell in and the flames leapt even higher skywards.

    The amazing hard work and dedication of university staff meant that many items of value were saved and restored over the following years.

    October 26, 2009 at 10:30 am

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