Search

This week 60 years ago: Two Clerkenwell fire station crew members die in Smithfield Market disaster

PUBLISHED: 08:56 31 January 2018 | UPDATED: 09:25 31 January 2018

Clouds of smoke drift over the Smithfield meat market in London after an underground fire at the Union Cold Storage Company.

Clouds of smoke drift over the Smithfield meat market in London after an underground fire at the Union Cold Storage Company.

PA Archive/PA Images

Two hero firefighters from Clerkenwell Fire Station died in the Smithfield Market disaster.

Islington Gazette: January 31, 1958 Islington Gazette: January 31, 1958

Three hundred people turned out for the funeral processions, starting outside the Rosebery Avenue station, of station officer Jack Fourt-Wells and fireman Richard Stocking.

The market blaze, just outside Islington’s Charterhouse Street boundary, started at the Union Cold Storage Co and burned for three days.

The fire was so bad that about 1,700 firefighters, and 389 fire engines, were called.

Smoke and steam rise in white clouds as jets of water are directed through the empty windows into the shell of the Union Cold Storage Company at Smithfield Market, London. Smoke and steam rise in white clouds as jets of water are directed through the empty windows into the shell of the Union Cold Storage Company at Smithfield Market, London.

Mr Fourt-Wells and Mr Stocking lost their lives in the cold storage basement in the early stages of the battle.

They were wearing inadequate breathing apparatus, and their deaths prompted London Fire Brigade to overhaul its oxygen equipment and safety procedures.

Dozens more were injured. Millions of gallons of water were squirted, and the damage amounted to £2million: the equivalent of £44m today, according to the Bank of England’s inflation calculator.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Islington Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Islington Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Islington Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Islington News Stories

18:09

“Putting young people in charge of their own narrative” is the chief aim of a commission bidding to transform the lives of those growing up in Islington.

16:10

A former journalist who created a graphic novel drawing on his 20-year battle with psychosis has been praised by mental health professionals for breaking down stigma.

16:09

A man who rescued a memory card from a destroyed camera outside Waterstones in Islington Green is hoping to reunite the photos with their owner.

15:40

If plans for a new Pret a Manger in Upper Street are to be passed, the town hall would need to go against planning guidance.

Friday, February 16, 2018

A Cally housing association tenant has accused landlord Hyde of neglect after being forced to endure grim living conditions for more than a year.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Deliveroo faces censure after Islington Council found it has been operating a kitchen “unlawfully” in Roman Way Industrial Estate.

Friday, February 16, 2018

February is LGBT history month. To mark it, Clerkenwell and Islington tour guide Karen Lansdown talks the Gazette through some snapshots of the borough’s rich – but often hard to spot – gay history ahead of two public tours.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The grieving mother of David “Dawood” Robinson today had the chance to grill the man she believes killed her son at a tense inquest into his death.

PROMOTED CONTENT

“With teenagers there’s a lot of banter, and you can really establish a relationship. You have to trust teenagers to make their own decisions.”

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now