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'Notre-Dame can be restored' says St Edmundsbury Cathedral tower project lead Horry Parsons




The man who oversaw the construction of St Edmundsbury Cathedral’s tower says Notre-Dame can rise from the ashes following this week’s devastating fire.

Horry Parsons was project manager for the Bury St Edmunds cathedral’s Millennium Project works between 2000 to 2005, which included the tower as well as a chapel and cloisters.

With 53 years of experience in the building trade, he compared efforts to rebuild Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris to the reconstruction of Windsor Castle, which was ravaged by a fire in 1992.

The spire collapses at Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris as the devastating fire rages on Monday, April 15. Picture: Daniel FOURAY/Maxppp. (8694576)
The spire collapses at Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris as the devastating fire rages on Monday, April 15. Picture: Daniel FOURAY/Maxppp. (8694576)

“The work was completed five years later and it’s the most recent fire I think in Britain of a similar nature,” he said.

Flames engulfed the 850-year-old Gothic French cathedral on Monday, with much of its roof destroyed.

The inferno also caused the collapse of its iconic steeple.

Mr Parsons, of Lakenheath, said: “I haven’t got an intimate knowledge of that particular building (Notre-Dame).

“I would have thought within a few years it could be replaced. From what I’ve seen and read about the fire, it’s entirely replaceable.

“I would think the most expensive replacement will be the windows – it might be even the biggest loss.”

Horry Parsons pictured in 2012 receiving the order of St Edmund at St Edmundsbury Cathedral with The Right Rev Nigel Stock and Very Rev Dr Frances Ward
Horry Parsons pictured in 2012 receiving the order of St Edmund at St Edmundsbury Cathedral with The Right Rev Nigel Stock and Very Rev Dr Frances Ward

He said there were four companies involved in the cathedral project which also worked on Windsor Castle after the fire including Taylor Made Joinery Interiors, in Bildeston.

Asked about Notre-Dame, James Taylor, TMJ’s founder and managing director, said: “The challenge when restoring any heritage and architectural building, is finding traditional companies to do justice to the building, trades including stone masonry and joinery and carving skills.

“Generally work of this nature will take upwards of four years, but the loss of the original workmanship can never be replaced.”



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