Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

10 erthygl ar y dudalen hon







DISASTROUS FIRE AT CHESTER TOWN HALL. ONE of the most disastrous fires seen is Chester for many years occurred on Satur- day night. Mr. Knight, an electrician, was showing a friend over the Town Hall shortly after six o'clock, when he noticed that the roof above the handsome Council Chamber was lD fire. He at once gave the alarm, and the Earl of Chester's Volunteer Fire Brigade was on the spot in the course of a few minutes. Some delay, however, oc- curred before the firemen were able to direct water on the flames, and by that time the fire had seized a firm hold of the upper part of the northern wing. A crowd of (several thousand people had assembled opposite the Town Hall, and the greatest excitement prevailed. A number of citizens, under the direction of the city surveyor (Mr. 1. Mat- thews Jones), and assisted by the men of the 22nd .Cheshire Regiment quartered at the Castle, rendered excellent service in re- moving the valuable paintings and other articles from the Council Chamber, but it was not long before they had to beat a re- treat, in consequence of the fear of the root falling in. The Corporation have recently, fortunately, purchased a thoroughly up-to- dat,e fire engine, and the firemen "were thus enabled to pour a, strong stream of water on the fire through the Council Chamber win- dows, which, they reached by means of long ladders. The ceiling of the Council Cham- ber consisted of a of bold panels in stained deal springing from carved corbels. This speedily became ignited, and about seven o'clock, when the fire had assumed most alarming proportions, the roof of the north wing crashed through into the Coun- cil Chamber. One fireman was in the. room at ti-id time, and he had a narrow escape, while much anxiety was felt for a moment or two for the firenlon who were playing on flames through the windows. Happily, no one received any injury worth mentioning. The efforts of the fire brigade were now directed towards-preventing the from spreading. Underneath/the Council Cham- ber is a strong room, in which the civic mu- niments and charters, which form a valu- able collection, together with the plate, are kept, while in the Mayor's. Parlour and the Committee-rooms adjoining the Council Chambers are numerous portraits of city worthies and benefactors, and on the panels of the wainscoating are lists of the Earls, Mayors, Recorders, and Sheriffs of the old city from the earliest days. Above these rooms is the tower, and if the fire once got hold of this structure it was felt that' the Town Hall would be doomed. Meanwhile, the firemen were struggling hard with the flames, and at twenty-five minute past seven —thirteen minutes after receiving the alarm —the Duke of Westminster's well appointed fire brigade from Eaton drove up, Lord Ger- ald Grosvenor being in command. The new arrivals rendered valuable assistance, and towards eight o'clock the fire was practically mastered. The upper part of the north wing, together with the Council Chamber and strangers gallery, has, howev r, been completely destroyed, and the damage is es- timated at several thousand pounds. Great satisfaction is expressed at the fact that all the paintings, with the exception of the por- traits of r. William Cross, who was the first mayor of the city under the reformed Corporation, and of Major French, who was mayor in 1856, have been saved. The panels in the adjoining rooms, which have already been referred to, have escaped without harm, but the tons of water poured upon the flames have penetrated to the basement of the building, and it is feared the water may have caused some damage to the old char- ters, &e, The building is insured. The former Town ilill and Royal Ex- change of Chester was burnt down on the evening of December 29, 1862, the fire hav- ing arisen through an accumulation of soot in the kitchen chimney. This building was erected towards the close of the seventeenth I century, and was considered one of the most striking of the niany architeetural features of the city. On that occasion three old por- traits were burnt, but the civic muniments were saved. The foundation stone of the present Town Hall, which stands almost on. the site of the old building, was laid on October 25th, 1865, by then then Mayor (Mr. Robert Frost), and the building was opened by the Prince of Wales on OctQber 15th, 1869, during the Mayoralty of Alderman T. G. Frost, who was knighted in honour of the event. The building was erected at a( cost of about £30,000. It is of handsome design, being in the Gothic style, and a feature of the interior is the number of bas reliefs worked in stone, which deal with interesting d ¡ events in the history of the city. Saturday's fire was a magnificent spectacle, and it was seen at Flint, and other places in the dis- trict several miles distant. The origin of the outbreak is not known, but it seems pro- [ bable it arose through a defective flue. -'f