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Fire damage in East London

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/Y3059O

Scope and Contents

A collection of three panoramic views each composed of two joined prints mounted on card and with extensive handwritten captions identifying locations and buildings, which have been recorded as found. They were taken by Fox and Son (or G. Fox and Son), a commercial photographic firm based in East London, South Africa, circa 1902.

‘On Sunday afternoon, November 9, 1902, East London’s greatest fire broke out behind Messrs. Dunn and Co.’s wool store on the Flat Street side of the Market Square. There was a westerly gale blowing at the time, and within a short while the flames had spread to the wool stores and were now enveloping the adjoining buildings. The Municipal, Railway and Harbour Fire Brigades were quickly on the scene, but were powerless to prevent the flames form engulfing the whole block from Buffalo Street to Oxford Street, including Messrs. Dyer and Dyer’s temporary premises [in whose buildings another great fire had started on August 15]. But there was worse to come. Live sparks had bridged Fleet Street and very soon the eastern side of the Market Square was a blazing inferno. The fire spread along the southern side of Caxton Street leaping across Cambridge Street, destroying all the buildings in its path, and some in Station Street. Altogether about 25 business premises and several small dwelling houses were destroyed and the damage amounted to approximately £250,000. For many years following, East London’s fire insurance rates were the highest in the country.’ (Denfield, 1965, p. 84)


  • Creation: 1902

Conditions Governing Access

Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (


3 item(s) (3 images)

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

fair condition but with considerable overall fading.

Existence and Location of Copies

This collection is available on microfiche: Africa, fiche number 190.


Denfield, Joseph (1965), ‘Pioneer port: the illustrated history of East London’, Cape Town: H. Timmins.


This item level description was entered by WS and MJC using information from the original typescript catalogue.



Includes index.
2006-10-06 12:24:08+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

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