The 1907 ‘Great Fire’ of Abbey & Sons Malting Stores was a major local event. Photographic postcards of the fire and its aftermath were rushed into production and seem to have been widely bought and sold.
This watercolour painting by George de Paris is one of the few colour depictions of the event. The white streaks of paint on the roof capture the smoke in a way that no photograph could match.
However, neither the photographs nor the painting can depict the smell. The maltings was said to have contained six month’s worth of beer malt — did that add a distinctive odour to the disaster?
Author: Kevin Bacon, Digital Manager