of The Tablet's first edition
fire and loss of life
EXTENSIVE FIRE AND LOSS OF LIFE. A most disastrous fire broke out on Thursday morning, in Marylebone-street, Regent-street. It originated on the premises No.33, in the occupation of Mr. Clarke, cheesemonger. Mr. Clarke and his family occupied the lower part of the premises, and let out the upper floors. The first alarm of fire was raised in the neighbourhood at about a quarter to two, by Mr. Clarke himself; and such was the rapidity with which the flames gained ascendancy, that with a short space of time, they were raging throughout the entire building. Immediately after the alarm was given, several of the C division of the police hastened to the scene. Their attention was in the first instance directed to secure the escape of the inmates. While thus engaged, the cries of a man were heard from one of the front windows of the third floor, who subsequently turned out to be Mr. Shepherd, a lodger on that floor. At this period the flames appeared to be rushing into the room from the staircase, thereby cutting off his retreat that way. Loud cries were raised by the police and the populace assembled for Mr. Shepherd, who was in his night-dress, to jump into the street, and this appeared to be the only method by which he had a chance of extricating himself from his perilous situation. In a few minutes, however, Mr. Shepherd was seen endeavouring to walk along a narrow projecting ridge of brickwork, passing along the front of the house, between the sill of the windows of the third floor and the tops of those of the second floor. The most painful anxiety and interest manifested itself among the crowd, as the unfortunate man slowly progressed along this narrow ridge with his face to the wall, with a view, if possible, of gaining the windows of the adjoining house. Seeing his object, Inspector Covington and police constable Drane, C, 141, obtained admission to the adjoining house, No. 32. They proceeded to the third floor, and opened the window nearest that which was on fire. On looking out they perceived a division between the projecting ledge of brickwork of the two houses of such an extent that it was impossible Mr. Shepherd could get across, and that any attempt to do so would be certain destruction to him. Finding this to be the case, Inspector Covington directed several of the police to secure him (Covington) by the legs. This having been done, he threw his body from the window, directing Mr. Shepherd, when he reached him, to take a firm hold of him and throw himself from the ledge. Mr. Shepherd did as he was directed, and, being secured by the inspector, they were both dragged in through the window, amidst the deafening cheers of the populace. Immediately after this the cries of a lad were heard to proceed from the area of the house, which was confined by iron railings, but it was impossible for either the firemen or police to get up the railings in consequence of the intense head of the flames bursting over them through the shop windows. After various suggestions as to the best mode to be adopted to rescue the lad, during which he continued the most heart-rending cries, it was determined to break in the wall of the area of the adjoining house. Crow-bars were procured, and after considerable difficulty, during which the engines were got to play, one exclusively employed in pouring water on to the poor boy to prevent his being burnt, a large hole was ultimately effected, through which he was drawn, in an almost fainting and suffocating state. This led was an errand-boy in the employ of Mr. Clarke, and slept in the kitchen. Scarcely half-an-hour had elapsed, so rapidly did the flames progress, before the whole of the floors gave way, and the building had become a total wreck. One of the inmates is missing, Mr. Cowley, who slept in the back-room on the third floor. He was known to have come home and gone to bed, and has not been seen since. During the afternoon, due precaution having been taken previously, the firemen commenced a diligent search of the ruins, and shortly after four o'clock discovered the body of a man, about thirty-five years of age, answering the description of Mr. Cowley, burned in a shocking manner. It was lying between the ruins of the first and second floor, in the back part of the premises. It was immediately placed in a shell and conveyed to St James's Workhouse, where it awaits the verdict of a coroner's jury.
NOTICE TO CORRESPONDENTS
The letter of Ignotus, on Mr. Langdale, M.P., and the Catholic Institute, next week. The clever verses of Alpha, on the Jews of Damascus, have been received, and will be inserted next week. Want of space has compelled us to omit our Theatrical article, and several other matters that should have appeared in the present number. We have received our correspondent's interesting account of the celebration, at Stonyhurst, of the first anniversary of the feast of St. Francis Hieronymo, but we have not room to insert it this week.