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'ISERIOUS CHARGE AGAINST AI…

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DISASTROUS FIRE AT HOLYWELL.

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DISASTROUS FIRE AT HOLYWELL. A LARGE FLANNEL FACTORY BURNT DOWN. Great consternation wAs caused in Holywell. on Monday morning, by the news that the building known as the Top Factory was on fire. The news proved to be but too t'ue, and thousands of people hurried to the spot and rendered all the assistance they could, but in an hour and a half from the time that the fire was discovered the whole structure was in ruins. The fire was first dis- covered in a room on the fourth etorey,from which I two female operatives ran down, and spread the alarm that one of the self-acting spinning "mules "was on fire. This was at 6 30 a. m, and in about five minutes afterwards the place was so filled by deuce smoke that it was impossible for anyone to remain in the room. There were at the time about 65 persons at work within the building, which is 160 feet lonll and six stories high, the walls averaging 20 to 22 inches in thick- ness, and the operatives onlv just succeded in escaping before the whole factory was in flames. An operative, named John Jarvis, together with others of his fellow-workmen, at once BPt to work to rescue as much of the woo! as possible, and by seven o'clock the Holywell Fire Brigade, I commanded, bv Mr Joseph Jones, was on the °cene. The engine, which is of a rather antiquated character, did excellent work; but it was evident from the commencement that a dozen such machines would have been of little avail in coping with so great a conflagration wh're there was such a large amount of combustible matter. Towards eight o'clock the Dee Bank Works (Bagillt) fire engine was on tVespot; and the Chester fire oneine and brigade were wired for, and were about to leave the General Railway Station by rail when a telegram was received stating that their services were unnecessary. Captain Hincks, however, proceeded to Holywell, to find that the old flannel mill was a perfect wreck. As the building was situated in a kind of valley, crowds of people availed themselves of the points of vantage to be had on either side of the building. Mr Thomas Huehes, manager of Messrs Newton, Keates, aid Co.'s works, sent a number of men to assist in saving the property, as also did Mr J- Lloyd Grice, brewer; *he Great Holway Mining Company, and others, whilst scores of people from the town and vicinity readily lent their aid. As to the origin of the fire, nothing can be said beyond conjecture, one prevalent opinion being that "ome one must have been oiling the machinery with a niked light in his hand. However that may be, the de- struction was very great. The factory is one of two in Holywell owned by the Welsh Flan- nel Company, of which Mr W. Browne, of Chester, is chairman; Mr U Bromley, of Chester, managing director and Mr T. H. Waterhouse, secretary. These gentlemen, together with Mr Enoch Lewis, Mostyn Quay, another director, were on th j scene during the greater pnrt of the day. The com- pany wr.s formed eight or nine years ago with the object the secondary object, of corbie—of giving empl >j rr.ont to a portion of the population, and the enterprise has been fnirly successful, considering the depression of trade which has for some time prevailed, so successful that the company have been enabled to declare a dividend of 5 per cent., while so recently as last week a contract had been entered into for extending the lower factory, placing stone staircases in both factories, and for addiag'a wool store house to the upper factory. The upper factory, which was on Monday demol- ished, was used for sorting, carding, and spin- ning, and the building, whieh was fitted up with the most modern machinery, contained 3096 spin- dles, six pairs of carding engines, and a wool warehouse, offices, &c. In the lower factory, all the weaving, finishing, and washing was done, so that the one factory was dependent on the other, the result being that about 170 people are thrown out of employment. The machinery was worked by the stream from the famous St. Winifred's Well and the stream which runs from Holway. With reference to thf latter source, it may be mentioned that only recently, at great cost, a 20 inch pipe wAm laid to convey the water'to the factory, and a new water wbeel 25 fpet in diameter constructed. Fortunately the manufactured stock was saved, and the directors anticipate that they will be able to supply all orders on hand. The factory was built towards the end of the last century as a cotton mill by Messrs Smallev and Co., and there is a tradition (mentioned by Pennant in bis Journeys through Wales, we believe) that the entire structure was put up in six weeks. A glance at the build- ing, however, woul.1 have satisfied any one that this was Jextrernely improbable, 'though fthe factory was not nearly so substantisll v. built as the Lower Factory. In Inter years the factory has been Uf ed by various corapnnies with indifferent success for the manufacture of Welsh flannni, and wan taken by the present company about nine years ago—it being then reused—on a leaso of 99 years from the late Sir Pyers Mostyn, w th the success already mentioned. The mills turned out weekly, on an average, 50 to 60 pieeo.s of real Welsh flannel—a "ptecr" being equal to about 170 yards. The factory will. of course, be re-built, and in the meantime it is understood the company will endeavour to secure a mill for spinning pur- poses. Fortunately no lives were lost on Monday, nor,were there art. personal injuries of ^ser- ious character. T<je wind was blowing to the nortb-wot at the time of the fire, otherwise the row of cottages known as Greenbeld terrace would have been in erreat danerer. The damage iq esti- mated at £ 5000, covered to a large rx eat Jby in- surance.

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WHAT AMOUNT OF SUFFERING COULD…

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