Friday 2 July 2021

Observatory saved from fire


Cheltenham Chronicle Saturday 15th April 1916

Disastrous fire in Cheltenham, considerable damage done to Thirlestaine Hall

Monday 10th April 1916

THE EXTENT OF THE DAMAGE The structure was insured for £10,500, an! Mr. Player roughly estimates that replace the structural damage will cost about £4000. The contents the house were insured £10,000, and although an estimate the damage is difficult until the valuers have been carefully through the rooms, it will probably work out at something like £2,500 . Thast such an estimate is justified may judged by the fact that the contents of the best rooms, almost entirely destroyed were down in the inventory for £450 and £350 respectively.

Mr John Player purchased the house in 1909 and built an observatory with a rounded dome of which was very conspicuous from many parts of the town.

It was due to the existence of the observatory that the fire was discovered a membr pf the family went uo to the observatory which commands a complete survey of the broad expanse of roof above the main block of the building. From the windows of the observatory the presence of the fire was quickly detected.

The saving of the observatory was a fine piece work by fire brigade, and not unattended with danger for the men had to go through a small window to get to the outside, and the danger of them getting cut of by fire was at one time imaginary, for the floor the room in which the window is situated beginning to smoke it was torn up in places and found burning strongly beneath. The hose was consequently turned on it, and the burning beams beneath extinguished. The observatory itself a structure would have burnt like a matchbox. In it were instruments valued at least at £500. including a 3-inch transit telescope, a 6 inch equatorial telescope, and a sidereal clock, none of which were in the insurance inventory!

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