Search

Norwich library fire 20 years on – share your memories

08:48 29 July 2014

The children

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.

3 comments

  • That's me in the picture pointing the hose at the burning library. We responded to the fire from my then fire station at Hethersett., whilst working for Norfolk Fire Service.

    Report this comment

    Gerry DeFalco

    Tuesday, July 29, 2014

  • I expect that it would have probably been demolished by now anyway, in the interests of "development". It was a proper library, unlike the so-called library we have now.

    Report this comment

    marty r

    Tuesday, July 29, 2014

  • I liked the fountain outside. it was very tranquil and pretty.

    Report this comment

    Mooseyt4

    Monday, July 28, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Other news

15 minutes ago
The Southwold lifeboat crew were called out. Picture: MICK HOWES

Two girls were treated for cuts and bruises after being dragged towards rocks by a rip current while swimming off a north Suffolk beach.

17:40
Lowestoft police are appealing for help in tracing missing person Nikita Powley.

A missing 48-year-old woman from Lowestoft has been found “safe and well”.

The vessel damaged in Oulton Broad on Thursday evening. Picture: Mick Howes

A woman and young girl were seriously hurt in a late-night boating incident.

10:26
Fen Park, Lowestoft.

The Fen Park Friends will be holding a family fun and consultation day today (Saturday, August 27).

Most Read

Yesterday, 14:50
Traffic is delayed after the collision near to Lowestoft's Bascule Bridge. Picture: SIMON WARD

A two vehicle collision close to Lowestoft’s Bascule Bridge led to traffic chaos in the town this lunchtime (Friday).

Read more
England Ambulance Service
Yesterday, 13:51
Lowestoft Coastguard. Pic: Supplied.

A woman and young girl are in serious but stable conditions in hospital following a boating crash on Oulton Broad.

Read more
Suffolk Police
Yesterday, 15:05
Police are appealing for help to trace 56-year-old Lowestoft man Raymond Kemp who went missing earlier this week.

Police are appealing for help to trace a 56-year-old Lowestoft man who went missing earlier this week.

Read more
Lowestoft police
The vessel damaged in Oulton Broad on Thursday evening. Picture: Mick Howes

A woman and young girl were seriously hurt in a late-night boating incident.

Read more
Suffolk Police
17:40
Lowestoft police are appealing for help in tracing missing person Nikita Powley.

A missing 48-year-old woman from Lowestoft has been found “safe and well”.

Read more
Suffolk Police

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 21°C

min temp: 18°C

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Lowestoft Journal
e-edition today

Subscribe

Newsletter Sign Up