Burnley archive: Photographs from dramatic incidents across the town during the 1970s and 80s
There’s been no shortage of drama in Burnley over the years.
By John Deehan
Published 1st Jun 2022, 13:50 BST
From fires to car crashes, building collapses to extreme weather conditions, the Burnley Express has covered all manner of emergency incidents across the town.
These photographs, taken from old copies of the Express and digitised by the Burnley Civic Trust, show just a few of the incidents that took place in the 1970s and 80s.
For anybody who would like to see more images from the town’s past, Burnley Civic Trust archive rooms are now open to a restricted number of volunteers who have been vaccinated.
More information can be found at www.bcthic.org.
1. Howe's kitchen studios engulfed in flames
September 20, 1985. This is what was written in the Express at the time: Police and fire officials have not ruled out the possibility that one of Burnley's most spectacular blazes in years - at Robert Howe's kitchen studios in Todmorden Road - was started deliberately. Hundreds of people watched more than 30 firemen tackling the huge blaze which broke out in a ground floor office of the former Methodist chapel at just after 6.30 on Tuesday evening. Burnley's fire station commander, Mr Jim Chappell, said yesterday "We are still investigating the cause of the fire, but we cannot rule out arson." And a police spokesman said they were investigating reports that children were seen pushing lighted newspapers into the building on the evening of the fire. Police closed part of Todmorden Road and families on Eliza Street were evacuated as firemen struggled to bring the blaze under control. Six pumps, an emergency tender and a "Simon snorkel: hydraulic ladder were rushed to the scene, with some of the engines coming from Nelson and Padiham. Men wearing breathing apparatus went in early on, but the fire was breaking out behind them and they had to be withdrawn for their own safety.
The owner of the company, Mr Brian Howe, rushed over from his home in Barnoldswick. He looked on as flames engulfed the building, destroying the interior and the roof. "There were thousands of pounds worth of kitchen units in there." Said Mr Howe, whose family have had the building for the last seven years. Photo: Unknown
Devil's Elbow, Read. June 10, 1980. The driver of this articulated lorry escaped with only a broken foot, as it smashed down seven yards of wall at Devil’s Elbow, Read. The lorry, loaded with lamb carcasses, was being driven towards Whalley when it left the road and ploughed into the bridge wall before coming to rest 20 feet above Sabden Brook. The driver Mr. Douglas Smith of Liverpool was taken to hospital, a car driver who collided with a road sign was unhurt. Traffic was delayed for more than two hours and another car collided with the cars waiting for the road to be cleared, the driver was unhurt. Photo: Unknown
Burnley Paper Mill, Caldervale Road, Burnley. August 6, 1982 Fire swept through bales of waste paper at Burnley Paper Mill on Monday night causing £50,000 worth of damage. The fire destroyed 1,400 tons of waste paper. Mr. Vivian Derwent director and mill manager said “It looked really bad”. He said almost three-quarters of the mill’s waste paper stock had been lost. Luckily firemen and members of the workforce managed to isolate the fire from the buildings. “The workforce did a marvellous job. We are not sure how it started but the Police think it may be arson. It is the contamination of the water which is the main problem,” said Mr. Derwent. Photo: Unknown
Britannia Mill, Lune Street, Padiham. March 11, 1971. The morning after - a rooftop picture of the gutted mill, taken by Express chief photographer, Jerry Bradley, showing firemen using hoses to keep the blaze under control. Firemen continued damping down work last night at the Padiham mill which was gutted by fire in the early hours of yesterday morning, 11th March 1971. A spokesman for Lancashire County fire Brigade said yesterday afternoon: "It is difficult to say how long we will be needed, but there is no doubt that damping down will take another 12 hours." In charge of the 150 firemen who tackled the fire was the county's chief Fire Officer, Mr P. Darby. Most of the 70 workers employed at the firm, Padiham Cotton and Cotton Waste Co. Ltd, Britannia Mill, were sent home yesterday morning, and the rest helped with salvaging operations as firemen stayed at the scene in case the fire flared up again. A police constable on duty spotted the blaze about 1.20 a.m., and 25 fire appliances were brought from all over Lancashire, including Manchester and the Fylde Coast. The Divisional Fire Officer, Mr F. J. Kelly said: "We found it a hazardous and dangerous job and, initially, there was so much smoke that the only means of entry was by wearing breathing apparatus". The premises of Padiham Paints is next door to the gutted mill, and one of the major problems for firemen was in keeping the blaze away from the building. Photo: Unknown