• Notre Dame - Rebuild Or Replace?

    The Moorlander
    01 May 2019

    As a hobby I once qualified as a tour guide and remain entitled to guide some of our country’s greatest sites – The British Museum, St Paul’s Cathedral, Tate Britain and Modern, The Tower of London and Westminster Abbey along with a number of places outside of the capital such as Stonehenge.

    I found this a great way to learn about our history and culture – blending the facts with places, objects and art that collectively reflect who we are and tell the story of how we got here.

    One of my favourite buildings is Westminster Abbey, our magnificent example of perpendicular gothic architecture, the place where the unknown warrior is laid to rest and the final resting place of so many of our Kings and Queens along with our most famous scientists (including Newton and Darwin).

    It encapsulates history (a thousand years of it) in a way that few places on earth can come anywhere close to achieving. So, when I saw the grizzly footage of Notre Dame burning it really hit come – something French not English but a catastrophe none the less.

    Both Westminster Abbey and Notre Dame are several centuries old and grew as so many great human constructions of that period did in phases and over centuries rather than decades.

    Westminster Abbey survived the blitz and for the French there is a particular poignancy to Notre Dame as it was to be the bells of this great symbol of Paris that were rung to announce the allies’ victory over fascism and the final liberation of France.

    The debate now is around what to do to reinstate Notre Dame – whether to try and rebuild her as she was or to allow a modern
    variation. British architects have already been quick to come forward with new and exciting designs especially around a replacement for the spire.

    British architecture has left its mark on many world structures including the Bundestag in Germany and the Louvre and Pompidou Centre in Paris. It has been an enormous sadness to see the destruction of so much of Notre Dame but out of the ashes something just as powerful will rise albeit that this will take some considerable time.


    Climate change matters and this government has a proud record in this area.

    The UK has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 25% since 2010, faster than any other G20 country and we were the first country to phase out coal by 2020.

    We have invested £52 billion in renewable energy since 2010 with 400,000 people now working in low carbon businesses.

    2018 was the cleanest and greenest year with renewable resources supplying a third of our electricity, up from just over 6% in 2009 and the Government has established the International Climate Fund (ICF) to provide £5.8 billion to help the world's poorest adapt to climate change and promote cleaner, greener economic growth.

    The Government will continue to listen and act.