The Windsor Castle fire of November 1992
A fire broke out at Windsor Castle on November 20, 1992, which caused extensive damage to the royal residence.
The Berkshire blaze started at 11am in Queen Victoria’s Private Chapel after a faulty spotlight ignited a curtain next to the altar.
Within minutes the blaze had spread to St George’s Hall next door, and the fire would go on to destroy 115 rooms, including nine State Rooms.
Three hours after the blaze was first spotted 225 firemen from seven counties were battling the fire, using 36 pumps to discharge 1.5million gallons of water at the inferno’s peak.
The fire break at the other end of St George’s Hall remained unbreached, so the Royal Library was fortunately left undamaged.
A fire broke out at Windsor Castle on November 20, 1992, which caused extensive damage to the royal residence
Staff worked to remove works of art from the Royal Collection from the path of the fire.
According to the Royal Collection Trust: ‘The Castle’s Quadrangle was full of some of the finest examples of French 18th-century furniture, paintings by Van Dyck, Rubens and Gainsborough, Sèvres porcelain and other treasures of the Collection.
‘Amazingly, only two works of art were lost in the fire – a rosewood sideboard and a very large painting by Sir William Beechey that couldn’t be taken down from the wall in time. Luckily works of art had already been removed from many rooms in advance of rewiring work.’
The Duke of York had said he he heard the fire alarm and roughly two or three minutes later he saw the smoke after leaving the room he was in, according to contemporary reports.
Prince Andrew had joined a group removing valuable works of art from the castle to save them from destruction.
The York Minster fire of 1984
Pictured: Aftermath of the York Minster fire of July 9, 1984
Early in the morning of July 9, 1984, York Minster’s south transept was set ablaze, destroying the roof and causing £2.25million worth of damage.
More than 100 firefighters confronted the church fire, taking two hours to bring it to heel.
The cause of the fire is believed to have been a lightning bolt that struck the cathedral shortly after midnight.
The blaze seriously damaged the cathedral’s stonework, along with its famous Rose Window, and firefighters were left tackling embers on the floor after the roof collapsed at 4am.
Minster staff and clergy busied themselves saving as many artefacts as possible before the fire was finally brought under control at around 5.24am.
An investigation ruled out an electrical or gas fault, and arson was discounted due to roof’s inaccessibility. Tests had found that the blaze was ‘almost certainly’ caused by a lightning strike but much of the evidence was destroyed in the fire.
The building was restored in 1988 after masonry teams re-carved stonework above the building’s rose window and arches.
It was reported that the rose window, designed to celebrate the marriage of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, reached a temperature of 842F during the incident, cracking the glass in several places before it was restored.
It was not the first time the building had caught ablaze.
In the early hours of February 1, 1829, Jonathan Martin set the building on fire, melting the lead from the roof and cracking the building’s limestone pillars.
Late that afternoon the fire started dying out after roughly 230 feet of choir roof had collapsed.
Non-conformist Martin, a former sailor from Northumberland, did not believe in formal liturgy, had published pamphlets condemning the clergy as ‘vipers of Hell’.
He was charged with setting the building on fire, but was found not guilty due to insanity, and died in a London asylum in 1838.
Pictured: The roof of the South Transept of York Minster ablaze at the height of the fire. Minster staff and clergy busied themselves saving as many artefacts as possible before the fire was finally brought under control at around 5.24am