theatre-fire-girls

On 27th December 1911, a fire broke out in the dressing room of the Picture Palace, on Burlington Street, where a group of young girls were waiting to go on stage  and perform an Eskimo dance. Their costumes were made of highly flammable cotton wool, and one caught fire from a spark which may have been from the fire or from a cigarette. She panicked, and in the ensuing melee  other girls caught fire. Following the deaths  of five children; Lizzie Bell (13), Lydia Smith (12), Mabel Swaine (13), Ada Tidball (13) and Winifred Wood (13) from burns, there was a huge Memorial at the Crooked Spire, on January 1st.

They were then buried close together in Spital Cemetery, in pauper graves among other graves. Their graves, the site previously being marked by a wicker cross, have recently received new gravestones as a memorial to the event.

 

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