NO MATTER how often you see them, these photographs of York's magnificent Minster on fire never fail to shock.

They were scenes that were brought vividly back to mind when fire broke out at Paris's fame Notre Dame cathedral earlier this month.

The 850-year-old cathedral - a building that for centuries had stood at the cultural heart of Paris, but which achieved international fame as a result of Victor Hugo's 1831 novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame - faces a long programme of repair and restoration.

The Rector of Notre Dame, Patrick Chauvet, has said that it will be 'five or six years' before the cathedral can re-open to the public - although French President Emmanuelle Macron is pushing for a quick reconstruction.

York Minster's own post-fire reconstruction offers some hope that it is possible to complete repair work on such a sensitive medieval building in a reasonable time scale - and conservation experts who have worked on the York cathedral have already offered to help if needed.

It was hot and sultry the night our own Minster burned. York had been in the grip of sweltering temperatures for so long that farmers were desperate for rain.

In the early hours of Monday, July 9, 1984, lightning flickered across the night sky was made all the more eerie by the lack of thunder. Then, at about 2.30am, a fire alarm shattered the silence around the deserted Minster.

It triggered alarms at York’s Clifford Street and Acomb fire stations, where members of Red Watch were on duty.

Firefighters were regularly called out to false alarms at York Minster. Yet when they sped into Deangate a few minutes later, they realised that this time it was for real. The air was hazy with smoke and flames were licking along the Minster’s roof.

There was a detailed plan in place for what to do. Red Watch quickly established that the fire was in the space between the South Transept roof and the ceiling below.

Ladders were set up in the aisles of the galleries running down both sides of the South Transept. But burning wood and lumps of molten lead forced the firefighters to evacuate.

Urgent reinforcements were sent for, and a fire command unit set up. The fire was spreading towards the Minster tower from the gable end of the South Transept. It became clear firefighters could not save the South Transept roof.

The fear was that the fire would spread into the Nave or Central Tower.

A powerful jet of water was aimed at the burning timber at the end furthest away from the Central Tower. It collapsed, bringing the rest of the South Transept roof down with a roar. Timber smashed down on to the Minster floor, but the great building had been saved.

At 5.24am, with the first grey light of dawn spreading across the scene, firefighters signalled that the blaze was under control.

Twelve of North Yorkshire’s 21 fire stations had been mobilised, and 114 firefighters and ten officers were directly involved in fighting the fire.

The damage was estimated at the time to run to more than £1 million - although without the efforts of the firefighters that night, it could have been so much worse.

The great building was quickly to rise from the ashes, however. Thanks to the efforts of master masons, conservators, and stained glass restorers, the Queen visited just over four years later, following a £2.25 million repair and restoration project to inspect a Minster that had been restored to its full glory.

Just as, we're sure, Notre Dame will be...

Stephen Lewis