Brigstocke Terrace Fire – 1853

Isle of Wight Observer October 29, 1853

FIRE – A fire broke out at Number 2, Brigstocke Terrace, the residence of Capt and Miss Christian, on Wednesday morning at one o’clock, which threatened destruction to the whole pile of buildings. It appears that Miss Christian, who was suffering severely from face-ache, had retired to rest, but in getting up to seek relief had fainted and fallen, and the candle set fire to the valence. Half suffocated, she aroused and gave alarm. The fire engines were sent for, and then ensued that confusion which we always expected would arise upon such an emergency. There is no Fire-bell to arouse the brigade; their places of abode were unknown; when the engine arrived, a part of the hose was missing, – it had been shaken off on the way; then the engine could not be got on the north front where the fire was, and the hose was not long enough to reach when the engine was in the street; ultimately it was brought to the south front and the hose carried up stairs; then it was found the suction pipe was stopped – a piece of rope had unaccountably got into it; then there was NO WATER LAID ON; people had to run about to borrow buckets to fetch water. To make “confusion worse confounded” all were masters, and upwards of an hour was already wasted, and nothing done. The fire all this time was spending its fury upon a feather bed, and Miss Christian fortunately shut the door on leaving the room, so that it did not spread, otherwise the engine would have been powerless. The furniture in the room was destroyed, the floor burnt through, and all the paint was scorched off that and the adjoining rooms by the excessive heat: the water afterwards did more injury than the fire. The inmates escaped uninjured. The furniture was insured in the Kent Mutual Insurance Office. The damage to the furniture and house is estimated at £500 or £600. This is the third fire which has occurred upon the Player property. A few years ago their church was struck by lightning, and more recently Manor House was on fire. We presume all their property is insured, as they are indifferent about a water supply.
[The above Fire Company (of which Mr Marvin is the Agent) sent down an Inspector, and satisfactorily settled the amount of damages within 24 hours.]

THE TERRACE FIRE
To the Editor of the Isle of Wight Observer.
Sir, Having been aroused, I hastened to the scene of the late fire, which at one time threatened the destruction of that noble building. I found the engine shortly manned; the men that were there exerting themselves to the utmost; and the engine playing her part well. It is to be regretted that there is no Fire Bell in the town to call the brigade together, it is true that the bell of the Messrs Dashwood has been offered, but who will venture to ring it when there is a large dog kept loose in the yard. It is also to be regretted that there is no road in front of the Terrace so that the engine could have been got there and the hose played directly on. And as regards ladders fortunately there were some close at hand at the new building, showing the necessity that there should be ladders kept ready at hand and often examined, and the engine practised by the brigade, who ought to wear some distinguishing mark whereby they might be known by the police and others, as mistakes of this kind actually occurred; two of the brigade having entered the house were ordered back by the police, wlthough requested by Capt Christian to keep themselves in readiness should a further outbreak take place. Great praise is due to Mr Kitson, also to the Coopers for their exertions, and among the gentlemen assisting I observed Mr R W Bloxam, Mr T Dashwood, Mr Ratcliffe, Mr James Woodrow, Crown Hotel, and others.
FROM ONE WHO ASSISTED

To the Editor of the Isle of Wight Observer
Sir, the recent fire in Brigstocke Terrace brings to my recollection the one that occurred some years ago at Manor House. I trust that those who used their endeavours to put it out will meet with better compensation than I did. Hearing there was a fire at Manor House I instantly hastened there, and finding the upper story was not yet ignited, myself with two others climbed from the timber yard adjoining (where the Club House now stands) over the outhouses till we reached the main roof. We pulled off the large stone slates, and after some difficulty, made a hole in the ceiling, through which we got, and commenced saving beds, chairs, and all the moveable furniture that we could; the engine playing from the front into the windows at the same time. The consequence was we were drenched with wet, and our clothes torn so as to be not fit for wear again. I am happy to say the fire was subdued. When leaving that premises, I was told by a town official that my conduct had been approvingly noticed, and I was entitled – to a pint of beer! Being thirsty with so much exertion, I did go to partake of it, when I found I was forestalled, as the small amount allowed was consumed by the thirsty souls who had arrived before me. Such remismess displayed towards others as well as myself, would not prevent me from using my best endeavours at any time to help put a fire out; nevertheless, working men should have their clothes replaced, and not be losers for their pains, at least so thinks one who believes that
A FRIEND IN NEED IS A FRIEND INDEED.

Isle of WIght Observer, November 5 1853
THE LATE FIRE – We are glad to be able to state that the body of men who assisted to extinguish the fire which occurred at No 2, Brigstocke terrace last week, have been liberally renumerated by the Player family. Each man received 15s. at the office of the steward Mr T B Hearn on Wednesday last.

Isle of Wight Observer, November 12 1853
THE TERRACE FIRE  – We feel gratified to state that the working classes who assisted at the fire, have been handsomely remunerated (with the exception of about four deserving individuals who it is to be hoped will not be forgotten as their names escaped the collector’s notice) which will be a further inducement to exert themselves in the future protection of lives and property.

Number 2, Brigstocke Terrace, was the scene of earlier dramatic events, in 1851, during election riots in Ryde. This event is documented on Ryde Social Heritage Group’s website. to go to this page, click here.