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[Fire team]

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the Fire team

The Fire team, left to right: John Crowley, Ernie Marshall, Nigel Herring and Paul Weatherley

Paul Weatherley, John Crowley, Nigel Herring and Ernie Marshall carry out a delayed investigation into the cause of the fire that destroyed the Crystal Palace in 1936.

The team looks at films of the fire and study a map of the site, indicating the seat of the fire, and compare this with a model of the Crystal Palace. They then turn to the official fire brigade report and the statement of Henry Buckland, general manager of the Crystal Palace from 1913 until the fire, as well as the London County Council and Crystal Palace trustees records.

They examine eye-witness accounts of the fire, both as transcripts and as recordings. They glean further evidence of poor state of the building as well as rumours of arson. They ring Crystal Buckland, daughter of Henry, who was with her father when he discovered the fire.

View a Flash animation showing where the Fire team think the fire started and how it spread (plug-in required).

On the upper terrace, the team watches as a core of soil is augured out of the ground at the spot where the seat of the fire is believed to have been. They discuss the plausibility of the various theories of how the conflagration began.

The team tests out the two hypotheses they have come up with as to how the fire may have started. They ring through their conclusions to Tony.

New Cross Fire Station