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.......-,-FEARFUL EXPLOSION…

gREAT FIRE IN THE CITY.

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gREAT FIRE IN THE CITY. Destruction of Haberdashers- Hall. Between the hours of three and four o'clock on IVIonday morning a fire broke out on the second floor of the premises occupied by Messrs. Hellaby and Co., warehousemen, Gresham-street West. These premises occupied not fewer than seven houses, and were also in, the occupation of several other warehousemen, in- cluding Mr. T. Tapling, carpet manufacturer, who occupied the first and ground floors. Engines were aoon on the spot from all parts, but by the time they arrived the flames were rolling out of nearly fifty windows, and the light was so intense that the reflec- tion could be seen all over the metropolis. Floor after ..floor of the premises in which the disaster commenced, belonging to Messrs. Hellaby and Co., were all but destroyed, and the roof was burned off. The premises of Mr. T. Tapling, carpet manufacturer, comprising the, basement, the first floor, and also the ground floor, were seriously damaged by fire and water. The houses, num- bered 14 to 19 in Gresham-street opposite were also dightly injured by fire and water, &c.; and so were the premises belonging to Messrs. Curtis and Bedford, solicitors. Mr. Hugh Jones, the warehouseman, has had the ground floors and the second and fourth floors seriously injured by fire, water, &c., and the roof destroyed. The hall of the Haberdashers' Company "ip irreparably injured. The site of this building was bequeathed to the company in the year 1478, and the original hall is described as haying been very spacious, for in it met the Parliament Commissioners during the interregnum. Its successor was built by Sir Christo- pher Wren upon a portion of the site of the original structure, which was destroyed by the great fire of London. This building was of brick, a heavy pile, having no particular pretensions to exterior orna- ment, but richly fashioned and decorated in the interior. A short time since, when the premises of Messrs. Taplin and Co. were erected, a hand- some gateway and passage leading to the Court- room and back buildings were constructed in Gresham-street. In the hall of the master and wardens, we understand, there were several admirable paintings by early masters, one especially rare and fine, called The Wise Men's Offering;" also a small statue of Henry VIII., several portraits of benefac- tors to the charities of the company, including one of Robert Aske, who left the guild the magnificent sum of £ 30,000 to build and endow almshouses in Hoxton, considered to be the finest and most comfortably pro- vided of any similar institution in the metropolis. In the chests, within the, building were the archives of the company—at least, those saved at the time of the great fire in 1666, including those up to the reign of Charles I., and also a small vellum book of ordinances, in which there was a good illumination of St. Katharine, the patron saint of the haberdashers. There was likewise a fine portrait of Sir George Whit- more, lord mayor of London in 1631, who entertained Charles 1. and his Queen in his noble mansion of Bauuaas (or Balmas), in the Kingsland-road, Hoxton. To: give anything like a correct account of the loss occasioned by the fire would be impossible. Some of the surveyors belonging to the insurance companies interested are of opinion that it will not exceed a quarter of a million sterling, whilst others are of opinion that it will approximate to half a million. Unquestionably the present is the largest fire that has occurred since the memorable one at London-bridge, when Mr. Braidwood was killed. Some idea of the extent of the mischief done may be gathered from the subjoined official report:— „ Nos. 1 to 7, Gresham-street, City, Messrs. Hellaby and Co., warehousemen, haberdashers, &c.—Building of four floors and contents all but destroyed, and roof off. Insurances unknown. Ditto, ditto, ground floor and first floor, T. Tapling and Co., carpet manufacturers-First and second floors severely damaged by fire, water, &c. 8, ditto, and 1a, ditto.—Similar damage. Ditto, ditto, Haberdashers' Hall—Roofs of hall, drawing and reception rooms burned off, and contents, including pictures, severely damaged by fire, water, -&c. Kos. 101 to 104, Wood-street, Mr. H. Jones, Man- chester warehouseman, &c.—Ground, second, and fourth floors seriously damaged by fire, and back part of roof burned off. Rest of building seriously damaged by fire, water, &a. Insured for building and contents in the Atlas, Liverpool and London, Royal Exchange, Globe, Phoenix, Mercantile, Guardian, North British, and the Royal fire offices. Nos. 104 to 107, ditto, ditto.—Large building, un- finished and partly occupied; severely damaged by fire, water, &c. Insurance unknown. Nos. 107 to 109 ditto.—Three upper floors severely damaged by fire, roofs burned off, and rest of buildings and contents seriously injured by water, &c. Insurance unknown. No. 100 ditto, and 1, Gresham-street, Ratcliffe and -tiotchings, ribbon manufacturers—Contents damaged "J^ater and removal. Insurance unknown, f Tv?8' (opposite), belonging 0 Uessi's- Irving, Keeling, and Co., and various other warehousemen.—Fronts of warehouses scorched and windowsbroken,&o. An assessor of losses by fire states that one of the sufferers was insured for £ 20,000, but that his loss will amount to < £ 200,000, and the salvage, judging i from the appearance of the ruins, will not amount to more than £1,000 or =62,000. The cause of the fire is at present unknown.

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