|The factory of Messrs. S. Cowley Ltd. was sited behind Clickers Yard, on the Yardley Road.It was built in 1916 when the business expanded and was relocated from a factory in converted cottages.
Employing nearly 200 people, in the two years prior to the fire, it was the only shoe factory in the town providing constant full time positions.
Shortly before 9.00am sparks from a bonfire ignited a wooden shed and the flames quickly spread to the main workshop. In less than two hours the factory was destroyed. The damage is estimated at the time to have amounted to almost £30,000 and unemployment for the workforce.
The incident was reported in the Bucks Standard of Saturday July 14 1928..........
|In explaining the disastrous affair, Mr. Cowley said his gardener, Mr. W. T. Freeman lit a fire at the refuse heap. "It was the first time he had ever lit a fire there," continued Mr. Cowley. "I have always done it myself, but apparently he wanted to burn some grass up. He left it burning to come and pump water at the house. On going back, he saw the end of the box shed alight. The shed was full of boxes containing paper. Freeman ran to the hedge and said, 'Guv'nor, the shed's alight'. I rushed down and found the place well alight. The flames were whirling down the shed, and though we did our best, there was no hope of stopping them."|
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