Questions asked after workman’s library blunder

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Precious artefacts came close to destruction at the National Library of Scotland after a workman hit a water pipe and set off the sprinkler system.

Historic documents at the Edinburgh-based institution escaped damage after fire crews and library staff worked through the night to salvage pieces, which include the last letter written by Mary Queen of Scots and a Gutenberg Bible.

Librarian Martyn Wade said: “We are fully assessing the impact of the incident, but it appears that there is no long term or serious damage.”

The system pumped out gallons of water, which leaked down to the five floors below, before it was turned off at the mains.

Any affected items are now undergoing conservation treatment.

Questions are being asked as to how the national library came so close to disaster, with an investigation set to be launched into the incident.

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