A Year Later: The GSK Building Rises from the Ashes

Like Dumbledore’s Phoenix


One year ago today, the GlaxoSmithKline Chemistry lab on Jubilee Campus made headlines as it went down in Notts history for the scale of the inferno.

gsk fire 2Not so sustainable after all.

The blaze instigated a massive operation from Notts firefighters as the £20m complex reached temperatures of 1000 degrees celsius.

Speaking to the Nottingham Post, Bruce Keeling, watch manager at Central Fire Sation, said: “Around the Savoy Cinema I glanced over my shoulder and saw one of the stacks well alight. At that point, I was under no illusions that we were going to save the building.”

gsk wreckAshes to ashes, dust to dust

A lost cause, the firefighters’ only option was to prevent the spread of the fire to nearby buildings.

Over 60 men used aerial platforms to create a ‘curtain’ of water around flames that had reached twice the height of the building itself.

Keeling added: “It was disappointing that we didn’t save the building but in real terms we saved two more. Because of the size of the building and scale of the fire, we knew there was no chance of extinguishing it. So we literally poured water into the air to stop the flames spreading, and it was still steaming.”

Fortunately the building was empty at the time and no one was hurt.

Once it was determined that the fire had been caused by an electrical fault however, the University wasted no time in rebuilding the structure as it had once stood.

Now, 12 months and £12m later, the GSK building is rising from the ashes like Dumbledore’s phoenix.

GSK RebuildCrane you believe it?

GSK building 2

University registrar Paul Greatrix commented: “The aim was to get the building back up and running as soon as possible.

“There was no setback in the research and we are only a year behind schedule.”

As the saying goes: if at first your multimillion pound Carbon Neutral Laboratory for Sustainable Chemistry burns to the ground, try and try again.