Memories from Lancaster Storeys chimney collapse

Mr Stanley Jones, of Binyon Road.
Mr Stanley Jones, of Binyon Road.

Memories have been pouring in after the Lancaster Guardian looked back on the disaster which struck the Storeys factory 50 years ago.

Many readers got in touch to tell us their recollections of the day a 250ft chimney collapsed killing two men and injuring 12 others.

Helping the injured from the scene of the Storeys chimney collapse in Lancaster.

Helping the injured from the scene of the Storeys chimney collapse in Lancaster.

The collapse occurred at White Cross Mills just before 2pm on Monday February 28, 1966, at the change-over of shifts.

Here is one account of the first ambulance man, as they were then called, on the scene.

Mr Stanley Jones, of Binyon Road, still remembers the events to this day.

The 90-year-old said: “On that day I was off road in the ambulance station in Dallas Road, Lancaster. In those days we only had three ambulances, two where at Morecambe.

Mr Derek Waring's payslip from the Storeys factory.

Mr Derek Waring's payslip from the Storeys factory.

“At 2pm that day my station officer Roy Rakin, the chief ambulance officer for Cumbria, came down and said load the vehicle up with as many blankets as you can and get over to the Storey.

“I arrived on the scene eight to ten minutes after the chimney came down, everybody was gathering around, flabbergasted. I went to see the injured but I couldn’t see any.

“I stood up on the rubble, and to this day it was the worst mistake, as I burnt all my shoes because the rubble was still hot from the fire in the chimney. This fireman went and got me heavy duty boots to wear.

“A fireman approached me and asked if I was on my own and then soon after I was supported by other services including another ambulance driver, Eric Copeland who has sadly since died.”

Mr Jones, who worked for the ambulance service for more than 30 years, tended to Miss Mary Mounsey (19), of Buller Street, Lancaster, at the scene.

He said: “We found Mary stood in boiling water from a fractured steam pipe, we had to treat her feet on the scene and by this time the hospital had set up a casualty station and we took her there.

“It was a horrendous morning, nobody knew what to do.”

Mr Derek Wareing was working at the factory at the time of the collapse.

Mr Wareing, who lives on Abbeystead Drive, said: “I clocked on just before the chimney collapsed, the foreman Bill Raine came in and told us to ‘turn the machines off as the Chimney is falling!’

“We couldn’t believe it until we saw all the dust coming in, we were all stunned.

“It was such a tragic day.”

The 80-year-old also brought in his wage slip from the Storeys Factory which showed his income for the week was priced at just under £17.