Bridgwater Museum
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The Mill Fire 29th June 1995
From the Bridgwater Mercury, Tuesday 4 July, 1995 [Edited] Bridgwater’s Old Mill Badly Damaged By Fire Firefighters Save Museum Exhibits SWIFT action by firefighters saved irreplaceable paintings and photographs at Bridgwater's Blake Museum when fire broke out in the adjoining Old Mill on Thursday evening. The Old Mill, a grade two listed building was severely damaged and many industrial artefacts stored inside suffered the effects of smoke, water and heat. The timber first floor and the roof were badly burnt – but the 12th Century water mill drive wheel below ground level were not affected. The Bridgwater Museum Association Trust has raised £80,000 towards the £120,000 needed to restore the mill. Although drawings have been prepared for the restoration project work had not actually started. … The fire service were called at 6.40 pm, and when the firemen arrived there were flames 20ft high leaping from the roof of the Old Mill … and there was the danger of the fire spreading cross the adjoining roof  to the Museum. The men led by Colin Smith, the divisional watch officer, got into the museum's Chubb Room through a roof hatch and shot jets of water into the blazing roof space. Meanwhile other firefighters swiftly took pictures and paintings from the walls and carried them to a safer room. The fire caused extensive damage to the roof of the mill, and a number of the artefacts stored there by the Museum and by the Somerset Industrial Archaeology Society, were harmed. Some damage was done to the roof of the Museum adjoining the mill, and slight smoke damage was done to some of the Chubb drawings on the upper floor. After repairs, the two galleries adjoining the mill were re-opened in January 1996.
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