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Norwich library fire 20 years on – share your memories

PUBLISHED: 08:48 29 July 2014

The children's section of the Norwich Library destroyed by the fire. Date: Aug 1994. Photo by Bill Smith.

The children's section of the Norwich Library destroyed by the fire. Date: Aug 1994. Photo by Bill Smith.

Archant

It was the day when priceless pieces of Norfolk’s past went up in flames – and 20 years on we want to hear your memories of the historic day.

Demolition goes ahead on the top of the library after the fire. Date: March 1997. Picture by J Nicholls.Demolition goes ahead on the top of the library after the fire. Date: March 1997. Picture by J Nicholls.

On August 1, 1994 at 7.20am Norwich’s central library began what ended up being the worst British library fire in living memory.

At the height of the £4m blaze, smoke could be seen 20 miles away with temperatures inside reaching 1,000 degrees centigrade.

A precious collection of books, manuscripts and archive material were destroyed by the blaze caused by an electrical fault.

But Norwich’s 800-year-old charter was saved, stored in a fire-proof basement.

The fire at Norwich central library - what were your memories of the day?The fire at Norwich central library - what were your memories of the day?

Around 15 fire engines and 150 firefighters were at the scene – and in the aftermath the Norwich community rallied round.

Food companies donated refrigerated lorries to freeze-dry waterlogged manuscripts and thousands of people donated old books and pictures about Norfolk to replace the lost records.

Now the £63.5m Forum stands proudly in its place.

• We want to hear your memories of the fire for an anniversary piece. Were you in Norwich on the frightful day? Do you know someone who was involved in the recovery?

• Share you stories and help us mark the 20th anniversary. Email rosa.mcmahon@archant.co.uk or call 01603 772453.

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