BIG FIRE IN PONTEFRACT
PICTURE FRAMER'S WORKSHOP DESTROYED
26TH MAY 1923
The workshop associated
with the name of Mr. Job Corfield, picture framer and photographer, and
known as the Bon-Bon Studio, in Ropergate, Pontefract, was the scene of
a disastrous fire which was discovered late on Thursday evening. The
workshop is situated behind the Bon-Bon Café and is owned by Mr. J.C.
Broderick, of Castleford, the proprietor of the Café. On one side it is
adjoined by Mr. J.W. Sangster’s house and the County Court offices, and
on the other by the offices of several professional gentlemen.
It appears that on
several occasions during Thursday the staff of the Café remarked on a
smell of burning, but this was attributed to the café cooking
operations. At 10-10 however, Mrs Stones (a daughter of Mr. Broderick),
who resides at the Café, was locking up for the night, when she heard a
crash of glass, and looking across the yard saw the workshop in flames,
which were already pouring through the window.
Much startled, she warned
the other occupants, and herself ran across the road to Mr. A. Heseltine
at Messrs. Moxon and Barker’s offices, who, on hearing what was wrong,
despatched a young man to ring the fire bells.
Within a very short time
the Fire Brigade, under Capt. F. Whardall and Mr. J.W. Gardiner
(Vice-Captain), were on the spot with the motor fire engine – which,
however, was not brought into action. A hose was quickly laid from a
stand pipe in Ropergate and a jet was speedily brought to play upon the
now fiercely-burning contents of the building. It was soon found that
this would be sufficient to master the flames and prevent them from
spreading, but it was not until 2 o’clock yesterday morning that the
Brigade were able to cease work.
It is understood that Mr.
Corfield left the premises, the upper portion of which was used by him
for residential purposes, early on Thursday morning with the intention
of visiting a sister in Staffordshire, and, as he had not returned
yesterday afternoon we are unable to give any authoritative estimate of
the damage, or to state whether the stock was insured.
A most casual
examination, however, was sufficient to show that the whole stock of
picture frame mouldings, cameras, enlarging apparatus and photographic
appliances, had been completely destroyed by the combined attack of fire
and water, and it was obvious that there could be very little salvage.
In addition to Mr.
Corfield’s own stock, considerable loss must have been sustained by his
customers, as amongst the debris were discovered quite a number of
deceased soldiers medallions, war medals, etc., which had been sent for
framing, whilst there must also have been destroyed a large number of
pictures and photos on the premises for the same purpose.
The interior of the
building will have to be re-timbered completely, for the flames worked
their way up the stair case – which was entirely destroyed – through the
flooring, and through one portion of the roof. This loss, we understand,
is wholly covered by Mr. Broderick’s insurances.
This is the second time
Mr. Corfield’s premises have been visited by fire, for on November 4,
1920 (Statutes Day) his then premises in Rochford Court were completely
destroyed, the damage being estimated at £1,000 of which only £400 was
covered by insurance.
last evening that Mr. Corfield’s loss is only partly covered by
The above account, reproduced from a
local newspaper report dated 26th May 1923 was kindly loaned to us by Mr. John O.E. Holmes.