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Ministry of Pensions fire, 1964

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Wearethemods
Aberdeenshire
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1 of 59  Wed 3rd Jul 2013 8:43am  
Member: Joined Jun 2013  Total posts:297

Hello all, Does anyone remember the huge fire at the Ministry of Pensions in Gosford Street, 15th June 1964, formerly the old 'Morris' Building? An interesting fact is that the top floors were sealed off and were full of blankets, flattened cardboard coffins & storage of plasma amongst other things! Those working on the lower floors were completely unaware of this until the fire. This time of course was at the height of the 'Cold War' and Civil Defence in case of Nuclear attack was high on the political agenda. I remember quite clearly photographs in the Telegraph showing the piles of blankets burning after the outside walls had collapsed and patients being evacuated from Gulson Hospital.
Ministry of Pensions fire, 1964
gangan
Stockton, Southam
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2 of 59  Wed 3rd Jul 2013 8:51am  
Member: Joined May 2012  Total posts:126

On this day, we were playing with our old motorbikes at The Greenhill, the area surrounding Stoke Guild House. Hundreds of charred bits of paper were carried on the breeze and landed all around us
Ministry of Pensions fire, 1964
mattash
Rugby
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3 of 59  Wed 3rd Jul 2013 9:56am  
Member: Joined Feb 2010  Total posts:601

If you type in Gulson Road Hospital in the search box, there are a few references to the fire on that thread. Thumbs up
Ministry of Pensions fire, 1964
PhilipInCoventry
Holbrooks
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4 of 59  Wed 3rd Jul 2013 10:32am  
Moderator: Joined Apr 2010  Total posts:3834

Hi all, Wave Walsgrave Hospital has archive photographs of the fire, which I have seen on display in the University Hospital foyer from time to time. Their involvement involved the evacuation of Gulson Rd Hospital which was seriously under threat until the fire was under control. As well as patients being wheeled out, some pictures show bed linen was actually being thrown from the upper wards on to a ground sheet & then being bundled into every vehicle available.
Ministry of Pensions fire, 1964
dutchman
Spon End
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5 of 59  Wed 3rd Jul 2013 8:54pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2010  Total posts:3086

On 3rd Jul 2013 8:43am, Wearethemods said: Does anyone remember the huge fire at the Ministry of Pensions in Gosford Street, 15th June 1964, formerly the old 'Morris' Building ?
Remember it? I was living three doors up from it! I was walking home from school when I first saw the blaze. The police wouldn't let us through the cordon so I had to walk the long way round via Godiva Street and Cox Street. Everyone assumed the Peacock Inn was a gonner but it escaped with only minor damage to the roof tiles. There was a second fire eighteen months later and our immediate thought was "not again!".
Ministry of Pensions fire, 1964
Foxcote
Warwick
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6 of 59  Wed 3rd Jul 2013 9:02pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2012  Total posts:968

A photograph of the hospital being evacuated.
Ministry of Pensions fire, 1964
PhilipInCoventry
Holbrooks
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7 of 59  Wed 3rd Jul 2013 11:02pm  
Moderator: Joined Apr 2010  Total posts:3834

Hi Foxcote, Hi all Wave There are many more pictures that I have seen of this major evacuation. The ones that I remember vividly are the end of the building (children's first floor ward). A friend of mine was a student nurse there at the time, who was involved with the evacuation. I actually saw her in one of the pics on display at Walsgrave hospital just a couple of years ago. On the day of the fire, it was a warm dry day which at least made the evacuation that bit easier than if it had been wet. Causes for the fire still remain speculation as far as I know, which range from spontaneous combustion, or even static discharges between stored blankets. Wool attracts electrical static very easily, just remove a jumper that you have been wearing to see & hear sparks. The building was part of the one time Rover works before they moved to Helen St, as well as Morris, where the walls would have accumulated decades of oil based grime.
Ministry of Pensions fire, 1964
Dreamtime
Perth Western Australia
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8 of 59  Thu 4th Jul 2013 7:34am  
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PhilipInCoventry
Holbrooks
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9 of 59  Thu 4th Jul 2013 9:46am  
Moderator: Joined Apr 2010  Total posts:3834

Hi Dreamtime Wave I tell you what. I had not realised until this issue of Gulson Rd hospital evacuation, that there is nothing left of it as a hospital. It has all gone!
Ministry of Pensions fire, 1964
Dreamtime
Perth Western Australia
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10 of 59  Thu 4th Jul 2013 5:48pm  
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dutchman
Spon End
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11 of 59  Thu 4th Jul 2013 8:21pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2010  Total posts:3086

On 3rd Jul 2013 11:02pm, PhilipInCoventry said: On the day of the fire, it was a warm dry day which at least made the evacuation that bit easier than if it had been wet. Causes for the fire still remain speculation as far as I know, which range from spontaneous combustion, or even static discharges between stored blankets.
The probable cause I heard at the time was the sun's rays* being focussed through the base of a glass bottle which acted like a magnifying glass creating enough heat to ignite fabric. *We used to have sun in those days! Lol
Ministry of Pensions fire, 1964
Dreamtime
Perth Western Australia
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12 of 59  Fri 5th Jul 2013 3:31am  
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DBC
Nottinghamshire
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13 of 59  Sun 7th Jul 2013 10:34am  
Member: Joined Apr 2010  Total posts:171

A work colleague of mine from GEC was working abroad when this happened, and he was trying to sort out his rather tangled tax affairs with the Coventry tax office. He started to get annoyed with them when they seemed to be sending him the same paperwork and questions on numerous occasions . In the end he wrote to them asking them why they were doing this and jokingly asked them "have you had a fire or something". Back came the one word answer "yes".
Ministry of Pensions fire, 1964
Billybobs
South Warwickshire
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14 of 59  Sun 20th Oct 2013 11:45am  
Member: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:19

I was working in Meriden at Higgs & Hill when the fire broke out. We could hear fire engines, their bells ringing, travelling along the A45, presumably from Birmingham to help out. After work, a few of us went into town to watch the spectacle, much of the chat was about the tax records that were going up in flames, nobody around where I was standing realised the drama that was happening at Gulson Hospital. Shortly after the fire I decided to join the Auxiliary Fire Brigade, I was 18 at the time. I anticipated that some time in the future I too would be involved in fighting some huge fire. As it turned out, for the period I was there, about 3yrs.... not one single fire. Instead we were training for the anticipated nuclear war. We were assigned to deliver water from Coombe Abbey lake to the city centre via a series of pipelines that we had to lay. There was an obvious flaw in the planning, had a nuclear bomb dropped on Coventry we would have been annihilated or at the best subjected to radioactive fallout. But I suppose the powers that be felt such little detail should not interfere with our preparations. Many Sunday mornings we were sent out in Green Goddesses to fight imaginary fires at various factory complexes in Coventry. On another occasion we went on an exercise on the South Coast putting out more imaginary fires. Thank goodness, no fires no nuclear warfare, just plenty of good fun and consuming the odd pint or two.. or three
Ministry of Pensions fire, 1964
Rob Orland
Historic Coventry
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15 of 59  Sun 20th Oct 2013 11:51am  
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