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the signal boy, also deposed to the circumstances under which the girder fell.- After some further evidence, John Wilmott, foreman of the works at the New Meat Market, was examined: he said he was in the service of the Thames Ironworks Company. He received no instructions from the railway company. The witness described the instructions given by him to Chaney, and said he ordered him to take the balancing point of the girder about midway between the two last cross girders, and then let witness know, and he would come and superintend the getting of the girder into its place. Witness then went away, leaving Chaney in charge. Witness was not recalled by Chaney, and his first knowledge of the calamity was from the crash of the carriage. — Richard Chaney, hoister and fitter, deposed to the instructions given to him by Mr. Wilmott, and also to facts already stated by the witness Ritchie. He also said: “I am not aware that Ritchie said it was not safe to drag it another foot, or I should not have had it done. I kept my eye always on the mark, and did not look at the men at all. I thought it might go another foot, and some one said, 'Dick, go another foot. I was then at rest, the engine being stopped. I believe I then reversed the white flag to move it the other foot. I won't say whether I did or not. Just at that time the train came through. I was enveloped in steam, and the girder fell without my seeing it. I had the red flag in my hand at the time, and reversed it. I did not see the lad, because I did not take my eyes off the mark. Ritchie never said, after the accident, Whatever made you start the engine on again? I told you the girder must go down.' Nor did I say, 'It's no use saying so now.' I do not recollect any such words. I have been for twenty years engaged in these works.”—The coroner then summed up, and said it was for the jury to say whether Wilmott, by any act of omission, or Chaney by any act of commission, had made themselves criminally responsible. The jury, after a short consultation, returned a verdict of Manslaughter against Wilmott and Chaney, and they were bound each in 1001. and two sureties in 1001. to appear at the next sessions of the Central Criminal Court and take their trial.
26. GREAT AMERICAN YACHT RACE.-The Ocean Race across the Atlantic, from New York to Cowes, between the American yachts “Henrietta,” 203; “Fleetwing," 204; and “Vesta," 201 tons, terminated in favour of the first-mentioned vessel. The yachts left New York on December 12, and the winner arrived at Cowes on the afternoon of the 26th, the other two early on the following morning.
The winning yacht, with Mr. Bennett, jun., the owner, on board, was commanded by Captain Samuels, formerly of the clipper ship “ Dreadnought.” The “Henrietta” made one of the quickest passages on record. She had no accident, and did not lose a rope, and made the entire passage from New York to Cowes on one tack. Her greatest run in one day was 280 miles; her least,
113, and that was on the 19th inst., when she lay in a heavy storm.
The “Henrietta” parted company with the other yachts twentyfour hours after starting, and saw nothing of them afterwards till their arrival at Cowes. The same with the “Vesta” and “Fleetwing.” The “
The “Fleetwing," when eight days out, encountered a heavy southerly gale. The sea boarded her at 9 p.m., and carried away her jibboom and washed six men overboard, including two quartermasters, all of whom were lost. This caused a deficiency of hands on board; and to that and her loss of canvas is attributed her losing the race. The "Fleetwing” was commanded by Captain Thomas, of the packet ship“ New York.” She is a beautiful specimen of marine architecture.
The “ Vesta” was boarded by Pilot Webb at 8.50 p.m. on the 25th, ten miles west-south-west of the Needles, as he supposed, but owing to the misty weather he mistook the St. Katherine light for the Needles, and thereby caused the “ Vesta" to be last, instead of second, in the race, as she would otherwise have made the Needles at 9.50 p.m., instead of 12.40 a.m. the next day. The “Vesta” met with no accident, and did not lose a rope. The “Vesta's” greatest run in one day was 277, and her least 165 miles.
The three vessels lay off the Royal Yacht Squadron Club-house, by the members of which club the yachtsmen were most cordially received, especially those belonging to the “Henrietta.” Hundreds of boats with visitors were seen sailing round the yachte.
The Royal Yacht Club fired a salute of eleven guns in honour of the yachts. The “Henrietta” manned yards and dipped her colours in man-of-war style. Captain Bennett visited Her Majesty's ship “Hector," and returned thanks for the offers of facilities at Portsmouth dockyard for repairs. The “ Henrietta ” needed none. Captain Brown, secretary of the Royal Yacht Club, tendered to the American yachtsmen the hospitalities of the Club-house immediately on their arrival, which they gratefully accepted.
On the 31st a banquet was given to the officers of the yachts by the members of the Royal Yacht Club. Sir John Simeon, M.P., presided; and cordial compliments and expressions of good-will were interchanged between the entertainers and their guests.
30. FIRE AT THE CRYSTAL PALACE, SYDENHAM.—A fire which caused a disastrous injury to this beautiful and popular structure broke out on the afternoon of this day (Sunday), and before it could be arrested the tropical department, with almost the whole of its costly and beautiful contents, was reduced to ruins. It was not until daylight on the next morning that the havoc done was completely disclosed. The whole of the northern end of the building was destroyed, except a part of the low narrow wing extending towards the east into the grounds, at a right angle with the fabric, and used chiefly as an orangery. The space between the water tower and the screen which separated the tropical department from the rest of the nave, about a couple of acres in extent, was strewn with blackened masses of the fallen roof and other materials, presenting a deplorable spectacle. All that remained of the northern transept were a few broken outlines of the arches; and, towering from among the general wreck, were still to be seen the two colossal Egyptian figures copied from the temple of Rameses the Great at Aboo Simbel, in Nubia, but now sadly defaced by the action of the fire. They were sixty-five feet higli, and reached to the roof of the transept. Of the Alhambra Court, on the west side of the tropical part of the nave, and also of the Byzantine and Romanesque Court, facing it on the opposite side, little was left but the bare walls; the Queen's apartments and the library and reading-room perished, as also the extensive collection of Indian curiosities and products, the Gallery of Naval Architecture, the Aviary, and the whole of the tropical plants. The remains of the stupendous tree brought from the Sierra Nevada, in California, and which, when growing, is said to have been 400 feet high, shared the same fate. The fire appeared to have originated in the north-eastern wing, from which it spread rapidly towards the main body of the building, along the flooring and other woodwork, which in the tropical end had become exceedingly inflammable. It afterwards extended to the great water tower, the floors of which, at different stories, and the gallery, were for several hours burning at the same time. It was first discovered by a police constable on duty, and he gave an alarm to a fireman in the company's service within the building, and the only one who happened to be there. Ordinarily there are three of the company's firemen on duty in the Palace, but only one on Sundays. On receiving the alarm the fireman screwed on a hose to one of the numerous hydrants in the building, which are always kept charged at high pressure,
and tried for some time, but in vain, to cope with the fire. Being Sunday, there was some difficulty in collecting the workmen belonging to the Palace to render assistance in the emergency.
The remains of the young hippopotamus were found among the ruins, but were scarcely distinguishable. During the fire, and when it was not certain what turn it might take, the flooring along part of the nave on the south side of the screen was ripped up in places to prevent it spreading in that direction. That precaution having, fortunately, become unnecessary, the flooring was reinstated in the course of the following night; and the next day the Palace was open to the public as usual, when upwards of 8000 visitors were present.
The fire is supposed to have originated in a place used as a paint and store room in the north-east corner of the building, and near the water tower.
The directors, with Mr. Bowley, the manager, and Mr. Grove, the secretary, held a meeting at the Palace on the 31st. They expressed themselves in grateful terms to Captain Shaw, the head of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, for the energy and discretion shown by him in the emergency. On arriving at the scene of the fire, the whole of the northern transept had fallen in, and he directed all the means and appliances at his disposal to prevent it spreading beyond the screen separating the rest of the nave from the tropical department, in which he was happily successful, and by that means, probably, the building was saved from entire destruction. While he was so engaged he was much urged by strangers and others to detach some of the men of the brigade and engines to operate on the water tower, which was on fire in several places; but he resisted all such importunity, knowing that the tower was then completely isolated, and not likely to be the means of communicating fire to any other part of the Palace, and he employed all his energies and those of the brigade to confine the fire to the tropical end. That achieved, he applied himself to extinguish the fire in the water tower, in which he also succeeded.
The official report of Captain Shaw was as follows :
“North end of building, about 300ft. square, containing the Tropical Department, the whole of the Natural History Collection; the Assyrian, Alhambra, and Byzantine Courts; the Queen's apartments; the Library and Printing-offices; the Indian, Architectural, Model, and Marine Galleries and carpenter's workshopa portion of the above, about 230ft. in length, all but destroyed. North Tower, and rest of building and contents, and north end of Centre Transept, damaged by fire, water, and removal.”
Great and general regret was felt at the injury thus occasioned to this beautiful and favourite place of amusement. The following statement was afterwards issued by the directors :
“The directors sincerely regret to have to make a statement to the proprietors in reference to the recent disaster by which a portion of the Crystal Palace was destroyed by fire on Sunday, December 30. The portion destroyed lay entirely north of the screen dividing the Tropical Department from the main building, and consisted of the north end and north transept of the Palacecontaining the Queen's apartments, the Nineveh Court, the tropical plants, the library, the collection of naval and engineering models, and Indian objects. South of the north transept, also, a large part of the Alhambra and Byzantine Courts was, unfortunately, much injured. The remaining eight of the Fine Art Courts, with the whole of that part of the Palace occupied by the exhibitors, and that in which the concerts and amusements take place, are entirely uninjured, and remain in their former state of safety and efficiency.
“The directors have had frequent meetings since the fire, and they now beg to acquaint the proprietors that, acting under the advice of Mr. Edwin Clark, the eminent engineer, the most careful additional precautions have been taken to ensure the safety of the entire building. In order to fortify and protect the northern end of the nave against the wind and weather, the existing canvas curtain has been strengthened by struts and cross-braces, and a solid timber screen is being rapidly erected a few feet north of it, which, when completed, will form an effectual protection to the building, pending the reconstruction of the portion destroyed.
“The Alhambra and Byzantine Courts will be immediately closed in and protected from the effects of the winter till the time arrives for their repair. The whole of the damaged portion is undergoing careful investigation by Mr. Clark, and all parts which can be preserved will be made good out of the débris, which will be carefully collected and tested for that purpose. It will take some weeks to effect this, and to remove the useless fragments of the building, so as to leave the ground clear for the work of reconstruction.
“It must be highly gratifying to the proprietors to notice the deep and wide-spread feeling of sympathy with the Palace which the recent misfortune has called forth from all classes of the com munity, from Her Majesty downwards; a sympathy which has not confined itself to words, but has already brought many offers of objects to replace those destroyed, offers which, it is unnecessary to say, are gratefully received. The Board fully concur in the public desire to re-erect the fabric, leaving the mode of filling the interior for later consideration. It is probable that the re-erection will cost from 50,0001. to 60,0001. The mode of providing for this outlay, and for that which may hereafter be considered advisable in respect of the restitution of the interior, is occupying the anxious attention of the directors.
“The building and its contents are insured for a sum of 96,0001., the company's claim on which, in respect of the destroyed portion, amounts to over 38,000?.
“ The proprietors will be pleased to know that the building has passed through the recent severe gales and fall of snow (the heaviest which it has yet experienced) in a most satisfactory manner, and without suffering any damage whatever.
“By order of the Board,
“G. GROVE, Secretary. “Crystal Palace, Jan. 10, 1867."