TOWNHALL BURNED AT BURY ST. EDMUND’S
Bury St. Edmund’s, Suffolk, is from every point of view one of the most interesting towns in England. It was the scene of the martyrdom of St. Edmund, who was shot to death by Danish arrows because he would not give up the Christian faith and the borough (burg or bury) has received its name from his death. It abounds in architectural and antiquarian relics, ecclesiastical and secular, and although the townhall was by no means what would be looked upon in England as anything very ancient, it possessed features of its own which (as will be seen by the accompanying illustrations, which have been reproduced by this journal from Fire and Water, of London) rendered it an object of historical interest. It has recently been very badly damaged by a fire, which originated dose to a large slow-combustion stove, that had been fitted into a disused fireplace that had been bricked up, except for a small aperture through which the stove-pipe passed. Round this pipe had been placed a sheet of iron, which it was supposed would afford sufficient protection against overheating. An oversight, however, was committed, in that there had not been taken into consideration what would be the effect of the heated pipe on the other side of the sheet of iron which was to serve a protective purpose. Close to the flue was a vertical wooden beam, which had become carbonised, and in course of time caught fire. Up this beam the flames easily ate their way to the roof of the building, where they mushroomed, and the whole of the townhall was in a fair way to be destroyed, as the fire broke out just before midnight. The local fire brigade, under Chief Officer Tracy, was called out, and by hard, good work and the use of several streams, saved the building, although the roof was wrecked, and the water damage was considerable. The loss was $.4,000.