1910 Fire

Three cottages on the road from Meldreth to Whaddon destroyed on boxing night

By Kathryn Betts

The following report appeared in the Royston Crow on 30th December 1910:

On Monday evening three cottages on the road from Meldreth to Whaddon were entirely destroyed by fire, and three families rendered homeless in a very short time.  The cottages were in the occupation of John Stallabrass and his wife, Ellis King and his wife, and Albert Negus, his wife, and a family of several young children.

The cottages, which were lath and plaster, and thatched, burned rapidly, and were a heap of ruins in less than two hours.  It does not appear quite certain how the fire originated, but it is said that about 8 o'clock in the evening John Stallabrass, who lived in the end cottage, thought he smelt something burining in a cupboard near the fireplace, but he could not discover anything there so he went outside to have a look round, and whilst outside flames suddenly burst out and in a very short time the three cottages were a mass of flames.

It was, as will be remembered, a terrible night, rain was falling, and the wind blowing almost a hurricane.  Mrs King and her family were away from home when the fire broke out, and when she returned to find her home in ruins she was, as it may be imagined, distracted with grief and fear.  Willing hands had, however, been at work and, with the assistance of the Melbourn Fire Brigade, who were promptly on the spot, most of the victims' furniture and belongings had been saved.  The homeless families were given shelter in the homes of neighbours and friends.

The cottages, which we understand were insured, belonged to Mr George Palmer.  None of the tenants, we believe, had their furniture insured, and in consequence are bound to suffer some amount of loss.

This page was added by Kathryn Betts on 06/12/2010.

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