Whitehall's Factory , Wollaton Street and Goldsmith Street

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Further to a thread about Nottingham jam factories , thought I would post this , as it involved Whitehall's factory that was destroyed in a major fire in 1905 that housed amongst others , Burtons jam factory (see below).


There seem to be numerous postcards showing the fire at this factory in 1905 . This is one of the ruins after the event. Upon its demolition , the site became the Gaumont theatre .

Link here to Littlebro's excellent photos of the Gaumont here :



Here is part of a report of the fire from the E.P. 8th of August 1905 . They describe it as a triangular shape but looking at the sketch below looks square to me !


Seems the night watchman made an error in trying to fight the fire himself


For future researchers , this is a list of the firms that occupied Whitehall's factory at the time of the fire :

Basement occupied by Mr W Harrison , trimmer .
Ground floor , Charles Binks Ltd motor manufacturers and Messrs Rogers and Co. Hosiery mnfs .
At the rear was the Burton's jam factory .
First floor was also Messrs Binks motors, Messrs Lowe and Potter , curtain mfrs. and S. Lowater hosiery mnfr. .
Second floor was rented by Mr T A Hill hosiery, and Messrs T.A Gregory hosiery .Mr Hill had rooms on the floor above. There were also the tea rooms of Burton and Sons .
4th floor was Messrs Lowe and Potter machines and also the premises of Mr R Thornton lace mnfr and Messrs Storer and and Sons hosiery .
The top of the building which was of a "lantern description" occupied by Mr W Perry lace mnfr.
Going back in time in 27.04.1895 , the factory was withdrawn from sale at auction when the highest bid was £17000 !
In 1896 Burtons provisions bought the factory from a Mrs Shaw who may have been an executor of a will .
This is an aeriel drawing of the factory as it was
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Thanks Cliff Ton , its certainly angular , looking at the map .

Heres another view of the factory from Lamberts Tower on Talbot St .

I forget the orientation now but this seems to be the rear of the factory . The large chimney is on the site of the electric company . To the right of the big chimney is the square tower of St Marys .

There is a tie up between the Lamberts and Whitehalls factory .

John Lambert , who had the lace dressers on Talbot street had a daughter that married Frank Burton of the Jos. Burton and Sons provisions that owned the Whitehalls factory from 1896 .

John Lambert funded the building of the Theatre Royal .

In 1911 Frank Burton was living at Ruddington House , Ruddington aged 46 with wife Fannie Mabel age 37 and their son Leslie Lambert Burton age 5 , and daughter Frances Machington Burton aged 7


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  • 5 years later...

The British fire service has a thing about throwing water upwards. It ineffective. It's pathetic. I always got my blokes to work it so that water went DOWN, into what is called "the seat of the fire".

It really annoys me when, on the TV news, there is a huge fire with lots of water being thrown at the sky. OK, it doesn't represent what might be going on elsewhere at that job,  but the water could be put to better effect.


What does it  say on every fire extinguisher ?   


"aim at base of fire"    !

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I suppose it all depends on getting direct access to the root of the fire. I presume the Fire Service Training College have all the latest scientific evidence on the best ways of extinguishing a fire and that specific protocols are applied in the particular circumstances. Our factory had a sprinkler system which sprayed water from overhead and I’ve seen it in effective action in a flammable solvent store. The fire officer told me he had never been to a severe fire in a sprinkler protected building.

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That's a fact, sprinklers are very effective - they ought to be , vast expense !.   Fire fighting techniques have changed very little over decades, some gear I wish we had when I was still in the job like thermal image cameras and in-helmet comms are brilliant. Offset by a growing reluctance to send teams into a fire situation. Two senior officers were charged with manslaughter a few years ago, after a fire in Atherstone when 2 firemen were killed. The effect of that obvious, even though the case was eventually dropped. 

The Americans have a great tactic, big jets with lots of pressure and attack ! Hit the seat of fire hard whilst other crews manage ventilation and access. All very macho, I expect they will eventually succumb to safety issues.

I wonder if Trogg new Bob Highton ? (Big red). At the first fire I went to he said when you hear 'woooooof' you know you're making steam, doing some good in the hottest part of what was actually burning.. Throwing water upwards into flames and smoke turns it into  hot fog without reaching the actual fire !


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Sprinklers are initially expensive but pay for themselves over the years in savings on insurance. I ran a plastics factory and printing works where flammable solvents were in use. In the case I referred to one of the lads spilt some solvent on the floor of the store and tried to clear up the spillage by mistakenly setting fire to it. He was a black guy but had turned white after he was dragged out!  The sprinklers turned on and the fire was out before the brigade arrived. They do give you peace of mind.

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Sure thing for a big company , especially higher risk places where sprinklers are essential, as you say, the insurance premiums are much more favorable. One small drawback with a wet system if a bulb breaks or fails. I went to a couple of big buildings in Nottingham when a sprinkler head had let go , they really do wack a good spread of water down !   Small price to pay I suppose.

Strangely, there was a period in the sixties and early seventies when a number of sprinklered old Victorian type of factory  buildings burned down ( locations all over the UK) because the plant had been "shut down for maintenence. ". Very suspect...….

I wonder if the insurers forked out ?

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They get you both ways !...         I remember a couple of jobs in Nottingham where sprinkler heads had failed and caused a flood. We spent ages removing water with dustpans and brushes. It was seen as our job. Another job was during working hours, an actual fire , I've a vague memory it was in Raleighs' packing department, the sprinklers had it in check but we had to go into the torrent coming down to finish the fire off. We were drenched !

I remember a large office building on the North side of Parliament Street, just 'round the corner from Milton Street. All the machines were out at jobs and I was sent on my own in the control unit. The main entrance was up a couple of imposing steps. Water was gushing down and out onto the street. I found the sprinkler plant and closed the main valve. Water stopped, I went back to central.

Later that night it was pointed out there could have been a fire burning somewhere and the valve-off would have let the place 'go up'.





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We were connected to a monitoring centre that informed the fire brigade. Every Friday at 4 p.m we had to open a valve which caused the pressure to fall, trip a microswitch and send a signal. We then had to phone to see if they had received the message. Sprinkler systems back then seemed to be made by Mather and Platt of Manchester who regularly made maintenance visits. In sensitive areas such as our electricity sub station the breaking of a head would obviously not emit water over the transformer and switchgear but caused a remote head to reduce the pressure and send a signal.

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The large iron gong outside buildings where the sprinkler plant was , had the makers name cast in it, Mather and Platt certainly were the name we saw most. Walter Kidde another. You couldn't miss the sound of a sprinkler gong !

As well as wet systems, there were dry systems, no glass bulb in the head, the pipe layout charged automatically when triggered, typical type for such as a sub station. They meant a small delay in water discharge, but prevented water damage  (or shorts !) from accidental operation if a bulb broke.

As you stated earlier, helped save many a high risk building. 

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  • 2 years later...

I have seen a question asked as to whether there was ever a priory on this site prior to the Hippodrome/Gaumont, so I assume I'm asking prior to the factory?

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Never heard of a Priory there. A quick search around doesn't produce any results.


Maps aren't much use because pre-1800s that area was a long way outside the city centre. 

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