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Grenfell Tower and Watson Street fire tragedies

Jonathan Freedland takes the Long View of landmark fires exploring the parallels between the tragedies of the Watson Street Fire in Glasgow in 1905 and Grenfell Tower.

Jonathan Freedland takes the Long View of landmark fires exploring the parallels between the tragedies of the Watson Street fire in Glasgow in 1905 and Grenfell Tower.

In the East End of Glasgow in 1905 a 'Model Lodging House' at 39 Watson Street caught fire. It housed 300 poor working men, many of them migrants from Ireland and the Highlands. The lodging house itself was densely populated with men sleeping in wood lined cubicles and with only one exit to the street through a turnstile. The fire spread very rapidly, trapping those who couldn't escape on the upper floors and 39 people were killed.

The tragedy immediately drew public attention to fire and building regulations and the urgent need to improve them and an Inquiry soon followed.

Jonathan is joined by historian of fires and fire services Shane Ewen, BBC London reporter Anna O'Neil, retired fireman Jim Smith, Secretary of the Royal Incorporation of Scottish Architects Neil Baxter and actor Robin Laing to explore the parallels between the Watson Street and the Grenfell Tower tragedies.

Producer Neil McCarthy.

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28 minutes

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