MEMBER OF THE CHARTERED INSTITUTE OF ARCHITECTURAL TECHNOLOGISTS

Peter Card Associates

Project : Belmont School, Holmbury St Mary

It is 20 years ago that firemen laboured in sub-zero temperatures for more than six hours as flames ripped through Belmont School, Holmbury St Mary. Snow flurries mingled with fire and belching smoke as the blaze reduced most of the roof to ashes.

THE GREAT ESCAPE:
The aftermath of the fire that wrecked Belmont School, Holmbury St Mary, 20 years ago and how it looks now. More than half of the historic building was destroyed but by incredible good fortune most of the school's 200 pupils were not there at the time

By dawn, 50 per cent of the historic building had gone. But by an incredible stroke of fortune only a handful of the school's 200 children were there at the time. Most of them had been sent home at lunchtime to start their half-term break early because of the snow.
The few that remained, plus staff, were quickly evacuated when smoke alarms went off. And no one was hurt.

About 70 firemen from as far afield as Chertsey and Haslemere fought the blaze using breathing equipment and a hydraulic hose platform known as a "snorkel". Thick smoke billowed into the winter night as flames and showers of sparks lit up the scene. The school swimming pool was drained to provide water for the hoses.

Falling roof tiles crashed to the ground close to fire crews.

The fire began in an upstairs room at about 6pm. Headmaster David Rowland made a brave attempt with another member of staff to put it out with fire extinguishers but they were beaten back.

Fire engines raced to the scene from all over Surrey. The big tenders managed with difficulty to negotiate treacherous conditions on the narrow roads that lead to the school.

At the height of the blaze, 15 tenders and their crews of up to five firemen were fighting the flames. Smoke was still swirling from the charred timbers of the roof the following morning.

Icicles dangled from blackened beams where fire hoses had been directed the night before.

Villagers, school governors and staff stared in silent disbelief at the scene of devastation as the fire crews cleared up.

Belmont School

School Photograph taken in happier times

Inside School 2
Gable G1

Detailed drawing of the gable

School Elevation

Elevation drawing

Detailed Drawing
Gable

From detailed drawing to reality

Restoration complete ...

Inside School 1
Gables 3

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