The great fire of Fleet Street

By, March 19, 2009

This was a scene from the roof of the JC’s London headquarters yesterday shortly before it was evacuated as a fire broke out at a neighbouring building.

Staff were ordered to leave by police who placed a cordon around a large block between Chancery Lane and fetter Lane. It was feared that gas cylinders on the roof of offices used for immigration tribunals may explode.

Having managed to shoot footage such as this, they joined thousands of office workers who lined the streets for several hours, awaiting a call to return. Meanwhile, the film was screened on Sky News.

At about 7.30 it became clear, as the flames grew ever higher and smoke billowed over the City, that they would not reopen before the deadline for this week’s newspaper had passed.

So they were dispatched to a typesetting office in Islington and worked through the night to produce the final pages for electronic dispatch to the print site. As dawn broke this morning parts of the area was still cordoned of and staff had to enter the building by rear door.

Fire officers are still attending to the stricken Breams Buildings, which were pened by the Prince of Wales in 1885 and was the home of Birkbeck College for 65 years.

    Last updated: 5:38pm, August 12 2009