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Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 1, December 4, 1841   By:

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PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

VOL. 1.

FOR THE WEEK ENDING DECEMBER 4, 1841.

OFFICIAL REPORT OF THE FIRE AT THE TOWER.

The document with this title, that has got into the newspapers, has been dressed up for the public eye. We have obtained the original draft , and beg to administer it to our readers neat , in the precise language it was written in.

THE OFFICIAL REPORT.

MR. SNOOKS says, that it being his turn to be on watch on the night of Saturday, October 30th, he went to his duty as usual, and having turned into his box, slept until he was amazed by shouts and the rolling of wheels in all directions. The upper door of his box being open, he looked out of it, and his head struck violently against something hard, upon which he attempted to open the lower door of his box, when he found he could not. Thinking there was something wrong, he became very active in raising an alarm, but could obtain no attention; and he has since found that in the hurry of moving property from different parts of the building, his box had been closely barricaded; and he, consequently, was compelled to remain in it until the following morning. He says, however, that everything was quite safe in the middle of the day when he took his great coat to his box, and trimmed his lantern ready for the evening.

MRS. SNOOKS, wife of the above witness, corroborates the account of her husband, so far as trimming the lanthern in the daytime is concerned, and also as to his being encased in his box until the morning. She had no anxiety about him, because she had been distinctly told that the fire did not break out until past ten, and her husband she knew was sure to be snug in his box by that time.

JOHN JONES, a publican, says, at about nine o'clock on Saturday, the 30th of October, he saw a light in the Tower, which flickered very much like a candle, as if somebody was continually blowing one out and blowing it in again. He observed this for about half an hour, when it began to look as if several gas lights were in the room and some one was turning the gas on and off very rapidly. After this he went to bed, and was disturbed shortly before midnight by hearing that the Tower was in flames.

SERGEANT FIPS, of the Scotch Fusileer (Qy. Few sillier ) Guards, was at a public house on Tower hill, when, happening to go to the door, he observed a large quantity of thick smoke issuing from one of the windows of the Tower. Knowing that Major Elrington, the deputy governor, was fond of a cigar, he thought nothing of the circumstance of the smoke, and was surprised in about half an hour to see flames issuing from the building.

GEORGE SNIVEL saw the fire bursting from the Tower on Saturday night, and being greatly frightened he ran home to his mother as soon as possible. His mother called him a fool, and said it was the gas works.

THOMAS POPKINS rents a back attic at Rotherhithe; he had been peeling an onion on the 30th of October, and went to the window for the purpose of throwing out the external coat of the vegetable mentioned in the beginning of his testimony, when he saw a large fire burning somewhere, with some violence. Not thinking it could be the Tower, he went to bed after eating the onion which has been already twice alluded to in the course of his evidence.

MR. SWIFT, of the Jewel office, says, that he saw the Tower burning at the distance of about three acres from where the jewels are kept, when his first thought was to save the regalia. For this purpose he rushed to the scene of the conflagration and desired everybody who would obey him, to leave what they were about and follow him to that part of the Tower set apart for the jewels. Several firemen were induced to quit the pumps, and having prevailed on a large body of soldiers, he led them and a vast miscellaneous mob to the apartments where the crown, &c., were deposited. After a considerable quantity of squeezing, screaming, cursing, and swearing, it was discovered that the key was missing, when the jewel room was carried by storm, and the jewels safely lodged in some other part of the building... Continue reading book >>


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