Sunday, 9 May 2021

Historic boat sheds burn at Platt's Eyot - by Nicky Browne

Platt's Eyot before the fire

[Nicky Browne  writes] Platt's Eyot is a small island on the River Thames opposite Hampton Waterworks. It is home to Hampton Boat Shed, and during the Second World War it was significant for building small motor torpedo boats, some of which played a part in the evacuation of Dunkirk. But on Tuesday the 3rd of May 2021 two historic Grade II-listed boat houses on the island caught fire.

Same view at 7 am the morning after, fire crews still at it

According to the London Fire Brigade, the cause was an ember from a small rubbish fire carried by high winds to adjoining buildings.

By the time the fire was spectacularly alight, there was rain as well as high winds, otherwise I would have turned out in the dark to record it. 

Another view of Platt's Eyot before the fire

The next morning I was on the river bank by 7 am, and the firemen were still dousing the last of the fire. The boat sheds had been gutted, and several craft in the area frustratingly inaccessible to me had been destroyed. Sadly, the Dunkirk Little Ship 'Lady Gay' was destroyed in the fire.

Two Grade II-listed boat sheds gutted by the fire

I had drawn Platt's Eyot from a similar vantage point a year or so ago. But this time, even at such an  early hour, there were many people (and their dogs) who had also come to gawp!


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