Words: Eva O’Beirne
The Cathedral Buildings hosted a number of small businesses, artists and creatives – on Monday, their livelihoods were destroyed.
The fire broke out in Belfast at around 05:00 on Monday morning. Over 50 firefighters, eight fire ambulances and two fire aerial appliances were called to the scene.
The cause of the fire is suspected to be arson, and a man has been arrested.
As a result of the fire and water damage, numerous studios and small business spaces have been lost.
One of the businesses affected was Temporary Pleasure, known for its transformation of vacant buildings into temporary cultural spaces. Their biggest project to date was their “Twelve Hours of Temporary Pleasure” event held in the Complex on August 13.
Artist, designer and member of Temporary Pleasure’s studio, Jennifer Mehigan was significantly affected by the incident, losing her “entire life’s work” along with her contributions to Temporary Pleasure.
“I haven’t processed it yet. I am putting all my energy into what I can do now because there will just be years of processing this and losing all those things,” Jennifer said to the BBC on Monday.
Unfortunately, all of Temporary Pleasure’s Kickstarter merchandise was also in the Cathedral Buildings at the time of the fire.
North Belfast MP John Finucane said the fire will be a “blow for many local, independent businesses and creatives and artists”.
A number of artists and creatives who have lost their work in the fire have come together to start a GoFundMe to help recuperate their losses.
“Any donations will help us to try get back a little bit of what we have lost in terms of income, computers, and other smaller objects. Most of the losses are intangible and irreplaceable, artwork, sketchbooks, and research,” detailed the fundraiser’s description.
You can donate to the fundraiser here.
Elsewhere on District: From today, anyone over 17 can get a free at-home STI testing kit