Forum:  Buildings and structures

Thread:  Woolworths fire


Geordie-exile (User)   Posted on: 28-Dec-2008 22:30:39.
In the late seventies there was an horrific fire at Leeds Woolworth's wasn't there? Am I dreaming it? I can't find any references on t'internet.

I recall awful pictures in the YEP of shop assistants begging to be rescued from the barred windows backing on to Central Road.
BLAKEY (User)   Posted on: 28-Dec-2008 23:07:10.
Geordie-exile wrote:
In the late seventies there was an horrific fire at Leeds Woolworth's wasn't there? Am I dreaming it? I can't find any references on t'internet.

I recall awful pictures in the YEP of shop assistants begging to be rescued from the barred windows backing on to Central Road.


This must be a disturbing sensation for you - I honestly can't recall any such incident at Woolworths in Briggate/Central Road at that time, or ever while I've lived in Leeds.    Strangely though, in the late 1960s?? there was the massive catastrophic Leeds Market Hall fire just a couple of hundred yards away. No-one as far as I know was injured or trapped in that, but I just wonder if your "flashback" is derived from that !!


chameleon (Administrator)   Posted on: 28-Dec-2008 23:31:30.
BLAKEY wrote:
Geordie-exile wrote:
In the late seventies there was an horrific fire at Leeds Woolworth's wasn't there? Am I dreaming it? I can't find any references on t'internet.

I recall awful pictures in the YEP of shop assistants begging to be rescued from the barred windows backing on to Central Road.


This must be a disturbing sensation for you - I honestly can't recall any such incident at Woolworths in Briggate/Central Road at that time, or ever while I've lived in Leeds.    Strangely though, in the late 1960s?? there was the massive catastrophic Leeds Market Hall fire just a couple of hundred yards away. No-one as far as I know was injured or trapped in that, but I just wonder if your "flashback" is derived from that !!


70's Blakey, there's quite a bit written on here about the market fire - personal tragedy, my pre-ordered Christmas dinner had just been taken in there by RV Smith that day - goose well and truly cookedWink Joking aside, it really was a bad time for everyone affected.
Geordie-exile (User)   Posted on: 28-Dec-2008 23:44:24.
No, not the market fire.

This was Woolies on Briggate. Somebody tell me I' didn't dream it. Angry


chameleon (Administrator)   Posted on: 29-Dec-2008 00:00:50.
Yes, Woolies was in Briggate/Central Road, no, sure you were dreaming about a fire!

Really have no memory of this and I'm sure I'd remember - nobody mentioned this in earlier threads either. Quick look round does find Woolies burnt down in the 70's - in Manchester!
Phill_dvsn (User)   Posted on: 29-Dec-2008 01:39:27.
Yes it's true. Woolies did burn down. My mum worked there and speaks of it often..
I'll ask were and what year it was next time I'm up there. (It could have been the 60's if i recall tho)


chameleon (Administrator)   Posted on: 29-Dec-2008 01:48:55.
Phill_dvsn wrote:
Yes it's true. Woolies did burn down. My mum worked there and speaks of it often..
I'll ask were and what year it was next time I'm up there. (It could have been the 60's if i recall tho)


Flip. Now you've got me thinking - did it start in the kitchens of the cafeterria? That does ring a bell but I really don't remember it in Leeds (and you were too young!).    
Steve Jones (User)   Posted on: 29-Dec-2008 09:42:40.
I am pretty sure it is the Manchester Woolworths fire you remember not Leeds.
The deaths of staff in the Manchester one were big news at the time.


Phill_dvsn (User)   Posted on: 29-Dec-2008 09:44:28.
The way my mam says it was she turned up for work one Monday morning and Woolies had burnt down to the ground lol. That was it.. job gone!
She wasn't working when i was young so that makes it sometime before 1967 anyway.
    
Loiner in Cyprus (User)   Posted on: 29-Dec-2008 14:47:22.
I have a vague recollection of a fire in the 60s at Woolies I think. But it is vague. Also the alleyway, with some scaffolding, next to Woolies is in my 'flashback' .

edgey2001 (User)   Posted on: 29-Dec-2008 14:52:01.
It mentions the Woolworths fire in Manchester on this link here, can't find anything about the fire in Leeds though.
http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/s/1084854_shoppers_turn_out_at_woolies
grumpytramp (User)   Posted on: 29-Dec-2008 16:01:05.
Geordie-exile wrote:
In the late seventies there was an horrific fire at Leeds Woolworth's wasn't there? Am I dreaming it? I can't find any references on t'internet.

I recall awful pictures in the YEP of shop assistants begging to be rescued from the barred windows backing on to Central Road.


Like others I am sure the incident with Woolworths was the blaze in Manchester Woolworths which I think was in 1979. There is a wee bit here about it:

http://flickr.com/photos/vvoody/1161208351/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/vvoody/1161499868/





liits (User)   Posted on: 29-Dec-2008 16:32:28.
Link for the Woolworths fire in Manchester. It was made all the More memorable because of the TV news coverage showing people staff [?] trapped behind barred windows on an upper floor at the rear of the building.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/manchester/3696407.stm
chameleon (Administrator)   Posted on: 29-Dec-2008 16:37:33.
Wasn't there a fire in the cafe next to Woolies, junction of Central Road and Market Arcade some time back? Could that be it?    

Loiner in Cyprus (User)   Posted on: 29-Dec-2008 18:23:42.
chameleon wrote:
Wasn't there a fire in the cafe next to Wollies, junction of Central Road and Market Arcade some time back? Could that be it?

This is prossibly what I remember.
Phill_dvsn (User)   Posted on: 29-Dec-2008 20:15:40.
I think you must be right Loiner. I asked my mum by text and she said it wasn't Woolies were she was working at the time.. Lol I forgot to ask were it was because somewhere else did burn down then Wink
Anyway I doubt Woolies will be like the Phoenix rising from the ashes this time!
It looks like fat cat bosses milking the business's dry, general greediness and the resulting credit crunch has killed that place off for good this time!    


chameleon (Administrator)   Posted on: 29-Dec-2008 21:03:00.
Still sad and hard to believe they've gone though Phill, Woolworths has been aninstitution in its own right for several generations of people, one of those things which was always there. When something like that suffers, it really should be a sharp reminder that nothing is safe for ever.

Not always looked upon with love perhaps, the shopping pecking order for large stores always went, Schofields, Lewis's and then Woolworths and the sometimes less than kind description of 'Woolies best' being given to some goods of questionable worth and quality!
Phill_dvsn (User)   Posted on: 29-Dec-2008 22:01:29.
I agree with you absolutely Chameleon. These places are an institution. I think when folk look back to there childhood and younger days and remember these places you've mentioned with fondness-it bangs the message home that these institutions aren't safe in this day and age.
How many people can you mention visiting santas grotto at Lewis's too and not get a great big smile on there face? Wink

It's almost like looking at the great old railway branch lines we had before the Beeching axe.. Very sad indeed.
Terrible waste of so much hard labour.
Short sightedness, greed, quick financial profit, poor quality and customer service for a quick buck kills these places off.

Shocking is the word!

            


Si (Administrator)   Posted on: 30-Dec-2008 10:59:05.
I think the problem with Woolies, was that they didn't develop. They had a niche market for so long, until supermarkets started selling the same stuff even cheaper. That's what killed them off.
When I was little, I thought the Woolworth's in Pudsey was the only one. I never realised they were a huge chain, until I saw the one in Leeds!
electricaldave (User)   Posted on: 30-Dec-2008 17:02:30.
I seem to recall that Woollies was in one of the arcades, they had a fire, moved to Briggate, eventually the original premises was refurbed and Boots moved in...or something like that......seems a while ago and I could well be wrong.

It was either Queens Arcade or Thorntons Arcade


Trojan (User)   Posted on: 30-Dec-2008 17:30:14.
electricaldave wrote:
I seem to recall that Woollies was in one of the arcades, they had a fire, moved to Briggate, eventually the original premises was refurbed and Boots moved in...or something like that......seems a while ago and I could well be wrong.

It was either Queens Arcade or Thorntons Arcade


Woolies was on the right looking up Briggate. At least in the eighties it was, but I seem to recall it being on the opposite side of the road in the fifties, it had a cafe on the top floor, and (it's funny what sticks) there were two doors with round windows to the toilets, you went through the door and up a short flight of steps.
It is a shame about Woolies, but TBH I'd be hard pressed to say the last time I bought anything there. My daughter worked at the one in the White Rose about ten years ago over Christmas and they didn't seem to know their ar$e from their elbow as long ago as that.
BLAKEY (User)   Posted on: 30-Dec-2008 17:37:18.
electricaldave wrote:
I seem to recall that Woollies was in one of the arcades, they had a fire, moved to Briggate, eventually the original premises was refurbed and Boots moved in...or something like that......seems a while ago and I could well be wrong.

It was either Queens Arcade or Thorntons Arcade


Oh doesn't the passage of time play havoc with many of our memories eh ?? I think there is a little confusion here actually. I seem to think that Woolworth's was established perhaps before WW2 and was on the right at the bottom of Briggate - it was increased in size after the War when a huge old hotel "Victory" ?? next door was demolished.
The place at the top left of Briggate, near Thornton's Arcade, was still, until around 1951, occupied by Marks and Spencer. It was that store that was then taken by Boots when M & S moved down to the huge new building that they still have. Boots of course then left for their huge newer store in the Bond Street Centre and the one in Briggate is now some other lesser famous retail place.



chameleon (Administrator)   Posted on: 30-Dec-2008 17:49:18.
Trojan wrote:
electricaldave wrote:
I seem to recall that Woollies was in one of the arcades, they had a fire, moved to Briggate, eventually the original premises was refurbed and Boots moved in...or something like that......seems a while ago and I could well be wrong.

It was either Queens Arcade or Thorntons Arcade


Woolies was on the right looking up Briggate. At least in the eighties it was, but I seem to recall it being on the opposite side of the road in the fifties, it had a cafe on the top floor, and (it's funny what sticks) there were two doors with round windows to the toilets, you went through the door and up a short flight of steps.
It is a shame about Woolies, but TBH I'd be hard pressed to say the last time I bought anything there. My daughter worked at the one in the White Rose about ten years ago over Christmas and they didn't seem to know their ar$e from their elbow as long ago as that.


Woolworths was situated in Briggate until the premises where taken over by what is now the House of Fraser store, from the start of my living memory from the early 50's.

The cafe on the first floor was an amazing site as I think has been talked about before - I just remember a sea of tables surrounding what I recall was the massive central island of the servery manned by a seemingly equally sized sea of smiling ladies in white coats and hats ready to dish-up your desires.
BLAKEY (User)   Posted on: 30-Dec-2008 19:10:50.
chameleon wrote :-

"The cafe on the first floor was an amazing site as I think has been talked about before - I just remember a sea of tables surrounding what I recall was the massive central island of the servery manned by a seemingly equally sized sea of smiling ladies in white coats and hats ready to dish-up your desires."

Another wonderful first floor Woolworth's cafe was in the Blackpool Tower buildings in the old days - an absolutely vast servery providing good grub for reasonable prices - mind you, as several thousand hungry trippers queued up all day every day some of the ladies understandably looked as if they'd prefer to be behind a glass of something nice in The Foxhall or the Manchester Laugh


The Parksider (User)   Posted on: 30-Dec-2008 20:07:14.
The Woolies fire in Manchester was very big news and lead to a number of fire safety laws in fire resistant materials I think. Some staff may have been trapped, some were killed due to the extremely quick spread of the blaze in furnishings materials - again I think!!
Geordie-exile (User)   Posted on: 30-Dec-2008 22:20:28.
It really is odd how one's memory plays tricks. Yes, this MUST have been the devastating Manchester fire - I just recall being horrified at the photos in the YEP of women trapped behind the window bars. My excuse is that I was a mere whippersnapper at the time and I probably just imagined it was the Leeds shop.

I recall being taken to the upstairs cafeteria when I was tidgy - vast, very canteen like and awfully busy. And then years later they made it much smaller and it had a harvest theme - there was a goldish emblem of a farmer with a pitchfork full of hay on the left hand wall, the walls were papered dark red I believe. During this period I was actually in the queue to pay once when the fire alarm went off and we had to evacuate the place. Had to leave me steaming hot dinner on the tray and never went back in. Dissapointed

As I child I also remember there was a massive open circular staircase just inside Briggate entrance, leading down to the record department, with a balustrade around it where all the teddy boys used to stand and watch the girls go by.    


Uno Hoo (User)   Posted on: 31-Dec-2008 12:33:49.
chameleon wrote:
Still sad and hard to believe they've gone though Phill, Woolworths has been aninstitution in its own right for several generations of people, one of those things which was always there. When something like that suffers, it really should be a sharp reminder that nothing is safe for ever.

Not always looked upon with love perhaps, the shopping pecking order for large stores always went, Schofields, Lewis's and then Woolworths and the sometimes less than kind description of 'Woolies best' being given to some goods of questionable worth and quality!


True what you say about 'Woolies' best', perhaps most remembered in Stanley Holloway's* immortal monologue 'Albert & The Lion'.

"A grand little lad were young Albert,
All dressed in 'is best, quite the swell.
With 'is stick with the 'orse's 'ead 'andle......
The finest that Woolworths could sell!'

*Performed by S Holloway, but actually written by Marriott Edgar.
electricaldave (User)   Posted on: 31-Dec-2008 17:26:05.
That Manchester Woollies fire is used extensively as part of training for company fire officers, and safety managers.

It also featured in quite a number of training videos.

The store was originally inspected by the local fire brigade and given a fire certificate based on the items that were being kept there.

Over the years, that use was changed, the upstairs was used as a furniture shop, with all the man made foams and fillers that implies.

This change of use meant that the fire certificate was no longer appropriate, and there should have been a further inspection by the local brigade and a new set of fire safety measure would then have been required.

There is some deabte about the start of the fire, some blamed a discarded cigarette at the time, but the inquiry stated it was most likely caused by an electrical fault.

The reason that this particular incident is studied closely is because although the alarms were sounded, and staff told customers to evacuate, the shoppers simply would not leave until the emergency was on top of them, by which time it was too late, some died only a few feet from safety.
The inquiry looked very closely at human behaviour in terms of risk and psychology, something that had only really been done in air crashes.

http://www.fireservice.co.uk/history/woolworths.php

It was this particular fire that led, after a lengthy process to the new regulations covering furniture with fire retardent foam and coverings. I think other changes to the fire regulations required the installation of sprinklers in places where large numbers of the public are fully enclosed in a building, on the day of this fire there were hundred of shoppers in there - could have been very much worse.

I still use the video as a training aid but its getting very dated now.



simonm (User)   Posted on: 02-Jan-2009 11:59:58.
Geordie..

Stop eating cheese before bedtime!!    
BLAKEY (User)   Posted on: 02-Jan-2009 14:31:12.
Just a point of interest, which has surprised me, about Woolworths in Briggate. I knew it had been extended, virtually doubled in width, but would have put a week's wage on it being around the late 1940s/early 1950s. I've just spotted a book today though which shows the extension, upwards towards Kirkgate, in progress in a picture taken during World War 11 - so there we are Confused

chameleon (Administrator)   Posted on: 02-Jan-2009 17:06:14.
just trying this following Phill's message above, seems like anything after 3 o'clockish has blipped.

Always over a weekend isn't it? But does that mean the weekend starts at 1500hrs for the Guardians???
chameleon (Administrator)   Posted on: 02-Jan-2009 17:06:18.
just trying this following Phill's message above, seems like anything after 3 o'clockish has blipped.

Always over a weekend isn't it? But does that mean the weekend starts at 1500hrs for the Guardians???


flying dutchman (User)   Posted on: 13-Jan-2009 09:14:30.


It was this particular fire that led, after a lengthy process to the new regulations covering furniture with fire retardent foam and coverings. I think other changes to the fire regulations required the installation of sprinklers in places where large numbers of the public are fully enclosed in a building, on the day of this fire there were hundred of shoppers in there - could have been very much worse.

I still use the video as a training aid but its getting very dated now.



Hi Dave,

I am searching for that particular video, I remember I've seen it on the discovery channel or National Geographic. Especially the part about the behaviour of people during a disaster about to happen. Can you tell me whats the name of that video?
greets,
Jeroen, the Netherlands
Morleylass (User)   Posted on: 13-Jan-2009 20:54:55.
Hi there.

When I originally read this thread I was sure like Geordie Exile that I remembered a fire in Leeds Woolworths when I was younger.

I vaguely remembered that it was downstairs and the staircase to the downstairs was covered over for quite a while afterwards.

The only person who I could have asked and confirmed it for me (me old Dad) died 14 years ago but a trip to Leeds and Woollies used to be a regular outing for us on a Saturday and this thread seemed to ring a bell.

Anyway I typed it into trusty old Google which threw up an article on Wikipedia confirming it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woolworths_Group_plc#Central_Leeds


Hope this helps.


chameleon (Administrator)   Posted on: 13-Jan-2009 21:32:29.
I'm not always convinced that the free posting on Wikipedia can be adequately verified which can leave some things open to an individual's representation but, in the citations to the article is a fliker link with this comment added:

'sicliff3    says:
I worked in Woolworths about 35 years ago when it was on Briggate and remember the frying range caught fire, as a 15 YO Saturday boy it was all very exciting watching the managers trying to put it out. '

Perhaps our geordie wasn't dreaming afterall Regular Smiley
Morleylass (User)   Posted on: 13-Jan-2009 22:44:09.
Fair point Chameleon.

I did note when reading the wiki article that it said the store was spread over four floors and I recall there only being three - so I suppose it could be flawed information.





chameleon (Administrator)   Posted on: 13-Jan-2009 22:51:32.
Morleylass wrote:
Fair point Chameleon.

I did note when reading the wiki article that it said the store was spread over four floors and I recall there only being three - so I suppose it could be flawed information.





Yes I only remeber basement, ground and first, but the 'eye-witnees' comment on the fliker set referred to does give some credence - I'm still thinking of the cafe/arcade, but am keeping an open mind.
Geordie-exile (User)   Posted on: 14-Jan-2009 00:27:39.
Actually, 1969 would be about right.

But I do think I must be confusing the memory with the horrific Manchester fire and the photos in the paper of women trapped behind barred windows, screaming to be saved.    


BLAKEY (User)   Posted on: 14-Jan-2009 09:43:14.
Morleylass wrote:
Hi there.

When I originally read this thread I was sure like Geordie Exile that I remembered a fire in Leeds Woolworths when I was younger.

I vaguely remembered that it was downstairs and the staircase to the downstairs was covered over for quite a while afterwards.

The only person who I could have asked and confirmed it for me (me old Dad) died 14 years ago but a trip to Leeds and Woollies used to be a regular outing for us on a Saturday and this thread seemed to ring a bell.

Anyway I typed it into trusty old Google which threw up an article on Wikipedia confirming it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woolworths_Group_plc#Central_Leeds


Hope this helps.


This is truly amazing Morleylass - as a person constantly interested in Leeds I would have sworn that there had never been any such fire or disruption. Just shows that our memories are never 100% no matter how certain we feel. (As an aside, isn't it frightening to think that such certainty could result in any of us innocently giving damning and incorrect evidence if called as a witness in a trial ?? )
The Wiki website mentions more modern frontages for Woolworths but to a traditional old gimmer like me there was nothing finer than the original rich red signs with raised gold lettering "F.W.Woolworth & Co. Ltd - the 3d & 6d stores." Regular Smiley
chameleon (Administrator)   Posted on: 14-Jan-2009 17:49:27.
But still not trully verified Blakey, I think I'd want more evidence, there's precious little if anything found documented which is strange for such an event.

electricaldave (User)   Posted on: 14-Jan-2009 18:50:18.
Quote:
Hi Dave,

I am searching for that particular video, I remember I've seen it on the discovery channel or National Geographic. Especially the part about the behaviour of people during a disaster about to happen. Can you tell me whats the name of that video?
greets,
Jeroen, the Netherlands


The one I use is a compilation of several other videos, I don't have the original.

However, I spotted this on EBAY,

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Woolworths-training-video-Fire-1999_W0QQitemZ190279890773QQcmdZViewItemQQimsxZ20090113?IMSfp=TL090113123003r28401

I'll bet you pounds to pence there is some mention of it on there, along with a few other Woolies stores that went up,

you could try this from a fire safety message board

The publications generally used are
GMCFS. 1979 Fire Investigation Report F. W. Woolworth & Co… GMCFS, Swinton.
JFPC of CFBAC, 1980 Report of the Planning / Legislation sub-committee Home Office Fire Department, London

Fire Service College library has them, but due to staffing and funding cuts (again!) the easiest way to get them from there (unless you bribe Carole!) is to use a local library 'inter-library loan', will cost you about £2, give them the reference and tell them that FSC library has the documents, should be sorted in a couple of days.
Loiner in Cyprus (User)   Posted on: 14-Jan-2009 19:37:19.
chameleon wrote:
But still not trully verified Blakey, I think I'd want more evidence, there's precious little if anything found documented which is strange for such an event.


As I mentioned in an earlier post, I vaguely remember the fire. The mention of a cooking range causing the fire (in an recent post) also rings bells. But my biggest flash back is the scaffolding in the arcade next to Woolies.


flying dutchman (User)   Posted on: 14-Jan-2009 19:51:43.
electricaldave wrote:
Quote:
Hi Dave,

I am searching for that particular video, I remember I've seen it on the discovery channel or National Geographic. Especially the part about the behaviour of people during a disaster about to happen. Can you tell me whats the name of that video?
greets,
Jeroen, the Netherlands


The one I use is a compilation of several other videos, I don't have the original.

However, I spotted this on EBAY,

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Woolworths-training-video-Fire-1999_W0QQitemZ190279890773QQcmdZViewItemQQimsxZ20090113?IMSfp=TL090113123003r28401

I'll bet you pounds to pence there is some mention of it on there, along with a few other Woolies stores that went up,

you could try this from a fire safety message board

The publications generally used are
GMCFS. 1979 Fire Investigation Report F. W. Woolworth & Co… GMCFS, Swinton.
JFPC of CFBAC, 1980 Report of the Planning / Legislation sub-committee Home Office Fire Department, London

Fire Service College library has them, but due to staffing and funding cuts (again!) the easiest way to get them from there (unless you bribe Carole!) is to use a local library 'inter-library loan', will cost you about £2, give them the reference and tell them that FSC library has the documents, should be sorted in a couple of days.


Thanks Dave!

I don't think they have it over here in Holland. I might buy the video, although it is not the one I am searching.
I remember an episode on NGC or the discovery channel about this fire. (that's what started my quest..).
After this devistating fire the rules concerning regulation and evacuation changed.
What interested me the most was the part about 'script thinking'; bodies where found 20 feet from the emergency exit, while they were going for the regular exit instead.. People, when in panic, just don't seem to think anymore and try to get out, the way they got in.

Thanks anyway!
eddie666 (User)   Posted on: 17-Jan-2009 18:00:03.
The old woolies is now House of Fraser, I used to work the a few years back and remember seeing old woolies decor in some of the fire exits and stairwells in the back rooms. No-one ever mentioned a fire. Although there was a rumour that the building was haunted by the ghost of a worker that fell from the top floor to the bottom when the escalators were being installed.

MrLovely (User)   Posted on: 10-Mar-2009 23:29:24.
Hello everyone, been reading this place for months now, top stuff.

Just to let you know, the woolworths fire in Manchester is mentioned in the episode of Horizon that was screened tonight on BBC2 called "How to Survive a Disaster." You can view it on iplayer at >> http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00j7p7z/Horizon_20082009_How_to_Survive_a_Disaster/ goto about 7 mins in if you want to skip to it Regular Smiley
    
BLAKEY (User)   Posted on: 11-Mar-2009 21:51:57.
MrLovely wrote:
Hello everyone, been reading this place for months now, top stuff.

Just to let you know, the woolworths fire in Manchester is mentioned in the episode of Horizon that was screened tonight on BBC2 called "How to Survive a Disaster." You can view it on iplayer at >> http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00j7p7z/Horizon_20082009_How_to_Survive_a_Disaster/ goto about 7 mins in if you want to skip to it Regular Smiley
    


Thanks indeed for this tip MrLovely - a most interesting and very informative programme. Like the chap staying in the hotel I ALWAYS myself suss out the escape route (often totally inadequate) wherever I stay, and before even unpacking my bag. Recently went on a rail tour and stopped in Berlin in a 36 storey, plus casino on top, glass monstrosity - I was allocated a room on the 34 th floor. I went up to examine the circumstances and returned pronto to the reception where they were very obliging and moved me to the 7 th floor. No way would I have stayed any higher if it had meant sleeping on a park bench under a newspaper !! The fire staircase was at one distant end of a badly signposted corridor, and when I opened the door to have a look a howling gale was blowing UP the stairwell and being fed with fresh air by open slats in the windows. I reckon the place would go up like a Roman candle if there was a fire. Angry And to think, the New York twin towers were nearly three times as high. Shocked
    


chameleon (Administrator)   Posted on: 11-Mar-2009 22:03:46.
Wonder if anyone has ever thought about how they would get out of one of the higher, let alone high, buildings in Leeds if disaster struck Blakey.

Looking into such things some years ago for work, I was quite alarmed to find the highest external rescue possible by the Fire & Rescue Service was a mere 110 feet - a little short of the 30+ storeys we have aroundConfused
BLAKEY (User)   Posted on: 11-Mar-2009 23:26:00.
chameleon wrote:
Wonder if anyone has ever thought about how they would get out of one of the higher, let alone high, buildings in Leeds if disaster struck Blakey.

Looking into such things some years ago for work, I was quite alarmed to find the highest external rescue possible by the Fire & Rescue Service was a mere 110 feet - a little short of the 30+ storeys we have aroundConfused


Yes, when I lived in Grayson Heights at Kirkstall the Fire Brigade came to do a "practice rescue" and their power ladder reaches, if I remember rightly, about the ninth storey. However it was "wafting about" so much with the play in the structure that I think they would have had a real job to locate the platform and keep it steady long enough for the rescue from a window. Such a resue, although of course very welcome, would have been a harrowing experience in itself. That particular design of flats have scarcely adequate escape means - there are six flats per floor and only one staircase which is in the middle of the landings. Towards the end of my stay there I actually became really frightened that an escape would be dodgy. Some flats of that design in Leeds are even higher - sixteen storeys at Little London. The flats where I am now are of a far better and pleasanter design - only four per floor, a staicase at each sde of the building, and a balcony on each kitchen so, if its not tempting fate to say so, I think you would be very unliucky to be trapped in these if there was a fire - hopefully anyway, and I never give it a thought these days.


Brandy (User)   Posted on: 11-Mar-2009 23:30:14.
BLAKEY wrote:
chameleon wrote:
Wonder if anyone has ever thought about how they would get out of one of the higher, let alone high, buildings in Leeds if disaster struck Blakey.

Looking into such things some years ago for work, I was quite alarmed to find the highest external rescue possible by the Fire & Rescue Service was a mere 110 feet - a little short of the 30+ storeys we have aroundConfused


Yes, when I lived in Grayson Heights at Kirkstall the Fire Brigade came to do a "practice rescue" and their power ladder reaches, if I remember rightly, about the ninth storey. However it was "wafting about" so much with the play in the structure that I think they would have had a real job to locate the platform and keep it steady long enough for the rescue from a window. Such a resue, although of course very welcome, would have been a harrowing experience in itself. That particular design of flats have scarcely adequate escape means - there are six flats per floor and only one staircase which is in the middle of the landings. Towards the end of my stay there I actually became really frightened that an escape would be dodgy. Some flats of that design in Leeds are even higher - sixteen storeys at Little London. The flats where I am now are of a far better and pleasanter design - only four per floor, a staicase at each sde of the building, and a balcony on each kitchen so, if its not tempting fate to say so, I think you would be very unliucky to be trapped in these if there was a fire - hopefully anyway, and I never give it a thought these days.


Never mind BLAKEY there's always base jumping lolRegular Smiley
BLAKEY (User)   Posted on: 12-Mar-2009 07:50:22.
"Base jumping" Brandy ?? - sounds interesting, but pardon me whatever is that ?? ConfusedRegular Smiley

Geordie-exile (User)   Posted on: 17-Dec-2011 09:53:45.
Mystery solved.

I believe this is what I was remembering - a fire at Rycrofts at the bottom of Briggate with people trapped on the upper floors.

http://www.leodis.org/display.aspx?resourceIdentifier=2002911_3130739
chameleon (Administrator)   Posted on: 17-Dec-2011 12:11:42.
Geordie-exile wrote:
Mystery solved.

I believe this is what I was remembering - a fire at Rycrofts at the bottom of Briggate with people trapped on the upper floors.

http://www.leodis.org/display.aspx?resourceIdentifier=2002911_3130739


It's taken 3 years Geordie - you must have checked every entry on Leodis by nowWinkWink    


Chrism (Administrator)   Posted on: 17-Dec-2011 15:09:25.
From Wikipedia
Central Leeds
Woolworths original branch on Briggate in Leeds which opened in 1913 was one of the chains flagship shops and was spread over four floors. The branch however suffered a major fire in 1969. Significant damage was caused to the shop which was refitted following the fire. The shop was not open to the public at the time and all staff were evacuated, avoiding fatalities. Only minor injuries were suffered. It took several hours for the fire to be extinguished.[83][84]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woolworths_Group
chameleon (Administrator)   Posted on: 17-Dec-2011 19:22:49.
Chrism wrote:
From Wikipedia
Central Leeds
Woolworths original branch on Briggate in Leeds which opened in 1913 was one of the chains flagship shops and was spread over four floors. The branch however suffered a major fire in 1969. Significant damage was caused to the shop which was refitted following the fire. The shop was not open to the public at the time and all staff were evacuated, avoiding fatalities. Only minor injuries were suffered. It took several hours for the fire to be extinguished.[83][84]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woolworths_Group


The wiki entry is covered on page 2 Chrism, with lots of ifs buts and maybes. I don't think anything seems definite reallyRegular Smiley    


jdbythesea (User)   Posted on: 18-Dec-2011 11:08:39.
There was also a fire in 1960 at Vallance's, next door to Woolworth's.

http://tinyurl.com/c86tpk4
chameleon (Administrator)   Posted on: 18-Dec-2011 13:48:22.
jdbythesea wrote:
There was also a fire in 1960 at Vallance's, next door to Woolworth's.

http://tinyurl.com/c86tpk4


We've postulated there being a fire next door but recolections were of that being that being at the Central Road end. Beginning to wonder how many fires there might have beenRegular Smiley


Morleylass (User)   Posted on: 18-Dec-2011 14:44:38.
chameleon wrote:
Chrism wrote:
From Wikipedia
Central Leeds
Woolworths original branch on Briggate in Leeds which opened in 1913 was one of the chains flagship shops and was spread over four floors. The branch however suffered a major fire in 1969. Significant damage was caused to the shop which was refitted following the fire. The shop was not open to the public at the time and all staff were evacuated, avoiding fatalities. Only minor injuries were suffered. It took several hours for the fire to be extinguished.[83][84]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woolworths_Group


The wiki entry is covered on page 2 Chrism, with lots of ifs buts and maybes. I don't think anything seems definite reallyRegular Smiley    


Don't really see where you're coming from with the 'ifs buts and maybes' Chameleon- seems quite definite to me
hicklingmick (User)   Posted on: 18-Dec-2011 15:14:53.
I thought vallances was round by corn exchange nr duncan st and not next to woolies in 60s or did they move there after they had a fire

chameleon (Administrator)   Posted on: 18-Dec-2011 15:36:17.
hicklingmick wrote:
I thought vallances was round by corn exchange nr duncan st and not next to woolies in 60s or did they move there after they had a fire


It was. Unless there was another branch in Lowere Briggate (and Call Lane) - Leodis might be wrong.
chameleon (Administrator)   Posted on: 18-Dec-2011 15:39:05.
Morleylass wrote:
chameleon wrote:
Chrism wrote:
From Wikipedia
Central Leeds
Woolworths original branch on Briggate in Leeds which opened in 1913 was one of the chains flagship shops and was spread over four floors. The branch however suffered a major fire in 1969. Significant damage was caused to the shop which was refitted following the fire. The shop was not open to the public at the time and all staff were evacuated, avoiding fatalities. Only minor injuries were suffered. It took several hours for the fire to be extinguished.[83][84]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woolworths_Group


The wiki entry is covered on page 2 Chrism, with lots of ifs buts and maybes. I don't think anything seems definite reallyRegular Smiley    


Don't really see where you're coming from with the 'ifs buts and maybes' Chameleon- seems quite definite to me



Ifs and buts - as in much conjecture throughout the thread about just where and aht was on fire and, wiki is not always the most reliable or accurate of records I'm afraid as we often learnRegular Smiley    


jdbythesea (User)   Posted on: 18-Dec-2011 16:10:07.
hicklingmick wrote:
I thought vallances was round by corn exchange nr duncan st and not next to woolies in 60s or did they move there after they had a fire


I'm not sure when Vallance (and Davison) moved into their New Market Street premises opposite the Corn Exchange. However, the photo attachment to my earlier post clearly shows that their Briggate premises very much on fire in 1960.
I'm inclined to remember that they had several branches in and around Leeds as well. Didn't they also have a branch on the Headrow too?
Geordie-exile (User)   Posted on: 18-Dec-2011 17:00:28.
Yes, the wiki entry of a 1969 which was highlighted on page 2 seemed to confirm my recollections, yet I was convinced otherwise because there seems to exist no other reference to what was a major incident [in my recollection].

I wonder if the YEP archives contain any reference? I'd love to think my memory was not at fault and it was indeed, Woolies.


hicklingmick (User)   Posted on: 18-Dec-2011 17:48:51.
to jdbythesea                                                                                         I stand corrected I didnt look at your picture before I posted