Richard Frederick RICHARDSON

Inscription Police Monument Toxteth Park cemetery
Liverpool Mercury, Jan 29th, 1877



Shortly before 10am yesterday morning information was received at the central fire station, Hatton Garden, that a fire had broke out at a warehouse, 13 Duke St. Supt MC WILLIAM, in charge of the fire brigade turned out at once and it was found that the fire had taken hold of the premises, a certified building known as JOYNSON�S warehouse, certified number A 948. The steam-engine the RATHBONE was sent after the brigade, but, the fire was of such a destructive nature that it was found necessary to send also for the steamer JOHN HUGHES, one of the most powerful engines in the possession of the brigade.

There was a plentiful supply of water and the firemen worked with commendable energy, and soon had more than 12 branches playing on the flames. In their efforts to get at the seat of the fire, 3 of the fire police were overpowered with the smoke that issued from the warehouse in dense volumes. They were carried away and received careful attention until they recovered. The members of the Salvage Corps were also present, and did praiseworthy work under the direction of Mr YELLAND and Mr LONGBOTTOM.

The origin of the fire is not known but the conflagration was discovered in the 2nd storey at the back of the building by a workman named Thomas BELL, who raised the alarm. The warehouse which contained 7 stories, belongs to Messers Charles HILL and Sons, of Oldhall St, and a portion of it is used by Mr Augustus WIMPTHELMER, of Clarendon Buildings, Tithebarn St. It was stored with palm oil, cotton, gum, nuts, India-rubber and African produce and it was roughly estimated the contents were worth 60,000 pounds.

Every effort was made to protect the surrounding property and to facilitate the work of the brigade the adjoining streets were barricaded off with ropes and a large body of police kept the crowds which had assembled out of danger. Capt NOTT BOWER [head constable] Mr ALLBUTT, [assistant head constable], Superintendents HANCOX and DAWSON, and Inspectors, HASSALL, LANNIGAN, CRETNEY, CHURCHILL and LOGAN had charge of the police arrangements. Notwithstanding the untiring efforts of the police, fire brigade and salvage corps, many of them who were drenched to the skin in doing their duty, the fire made rapid headway and in about an hour and a half the whole of the warehouse was in flames. Floor after floor gave way, the produce from each room precipitated into flames which shot up with redoubled fury. At 12.30 the roof fell in with a tremendous crash and the fire seemed to have reached its height. At this time fears were entered that the back wall of the premises might give way, but nothing daunted the fire police worked with a will to protect surrounding property.

The inhabitants of the Canadian Hotel next door were told to quit their premises and the joiners shop and shed running under and at the back of the Canadian Hotel were warned away. It was then trying to save this joiners shop that the back wall of the warehouse gave way, falling directly on to the joiners shop completely destroying it and at the same time injuring 7 policemen. The injured men are PC S, 905, 320, 28, 930, 250, 1091 and 360. As soon as they could be extricated from the debris they were taken by ambulance to the Royal Southern Hospital where they received prompt attention from Dr WIGMORE and Dr RICHARDSON. Six of the constables who were bruised and cut about the body, head and legs were able to proceed home after their wounds had been dressed, but the 7th man, PC 320, who received a compound fracture of the ankle, still lies in the institution under treatment.

About 2pm the fire got under control but at this time the greater portion of the produce which had been stored in the warehouse was destroyed, and the building was in partial ruins. The damage to property and produce is estimated at 90,000 pounds.

The Supt of the Salvage Corps has produced a report as to the extent of the damage from a general point of view and as the condition of the building would not permit a minute inspection the loss to the owners cannot be correctly estimated. The opinion appears to be 30,000 pounds will cover the damage occasioned.

Liverpool Mercury, Jan 31st, 1877



When the wall at the back of the warehouse in Duke St fell on Friday afternoon little did Supt MCWILLIAM who had charge of a brave set of the firemen, think that the accident was accompanied with loss of life. It was known almost immediately that the tons of falling bricks and debris had injured seven policemen who where at once sent to the Royal Southern Hospital to be attended to. The flames, which were then fast consuming the warehouse and its contents, required too much attention for the firemen to be immediately called up to answer to their names, and thus it was that Richard Frederick RICHARDSON, PC [295] was not missed until Saturday morning when the roll was called. In reply to inquires some of the firemen spoke of having last seen RICHARDSON with a hose close by the dangerous part of the warehouse none could remember having seen him since. His prolonged absence from home made his wife uneasy. These statements made the head constable fear the worst and 40 fire police constables volunteered to search for their missing companion. Accordingly, Capt NOTT BOWER, Mr ALLBUTT, Supt s HANCOX and DAWSON, Inspectors, HALSALL, SIMPSON and DAWSON, a number of sergeants and the 40 constables armed with pickaxes and shovels etc made their way to the warehouse ruins in Duke St. For 4hrs they worked without cessation, then the set of men removing the debris from the backyard into which part of the wall of the warehouse had fallen came upon the body. He was in a crouching position underneath a window of an adjoining house and the fact that he was surrounded and covered by bricks, the unfortunate man had been killed by the falling wall. It was with great difficulty the body was extricated. Word was sent to the Northern Hospital for the ambulance, were the deceased body now lies. It will be heard with regret that Mrs RICHARDSON is now very ill owing to her sudden and heavy bereavement.

Liverpool Mercury, Feb 2nd, 1877


An inquest was held yesterday at the City Police Court, before Mr Clarke ASPINALL, coroner of Liverpool on the body of Richard Frederick RICHARDSON, the fire policeman who was killed by the fall of a wall at the fire in Duke St on Friday last.

Charles BOOTE said, the deceased was his brother-in-law, he was 28yrs of age and resided with his wife at 8 Priest St Windsor. He had only been married about 9mths and had been in the force 3yrs.

Evidence having been given as to the origin of the fire, Mr MCWILLIAM, superintendent of the Liverpool fire brigade, stated the measures which were taken to suppress it, they succeeded in getting the fire under control about 4pm on Friday. They first knew of the deceased being missing on Saturday morning, and had no suspicion of what had occurred until then. The wall that killed the deceased fell about 12.30. Witness thought the water which had been poured on the cotton caused it to swell and bulge out the wall, 10mins before the wall fell he cleared all the firemen from the backyards adjoining except one or two left to watch. When the wall came down a great amount of cotton came with it. The deceased was a fireman, but, not one of the men he had left to watch and he could not explain the deceased being where he was found., he was quite out of sight till he was found and a great deal of bricks were about him, he must have been killed on the spot. Deceased did not report himself to witness at the fire, as he should have done.

William SIMPSON, Inspector in the Liverpool police, stated, that on the deceased being reported as missing, the head constable and a number of the police force, including himself, proceeded to the scene of the fire and at once commenced to clear away the debris. They worked for about two and a half hours and then found the deceased in the manner described. Deceased had been at the pay table on Friday morning in plain clothes and must have gone home and changed them for his uniform and then have proceeded to the fire. The deceased did not report himself and therefore would not be missed at the time. Six other men were injured, but they were all doing well and out of danger. No officer could throw any light on the matter beyond what had been explained that day.

The Jury returned a verdict of, Accidental death, and added that it reflected credit upon the deceased that though off duty and in plain clothes at the time of the fire, he appeared to have put on his uniform and gone promptly to assist which, though an understood obligation on all constables in serious cases, yet nevertheless pointed him out as having been a conscientious officer, and as such died in the discharge of his dangerous duty.

The funeral of PC [295] RICHARDSON took place today the procession headed by the police band, leaves the late residence of the deceased 8 Priest St off Beaumont St, [extreme south end of Crown St] at 2.30 pm for Smithdown Lane Cemetery, the police band playing the Dead March in Saul.

Copyright 2002 / To date