Fire! by David Edwards Hulme
The first book on the Vernon cotton mills fire of 1902. Local Stockport author’s personal story of how he was affected by the tragedy through the death of his great grandfather.
The first book of its kind, FIRE!: The Cotton Mill Disaster That Echoed Down the Generations is both a forensic and personal account of the 1902 Vernon cotton mills fire. The book delves into the details of the tragedy, but also focuses on the author’s own dysfunctional early life and how that likely resulted from the death of his great-grandfather in the blaze.
Published on 28th January 2018 in paperback at £8.99
While the book does look at the facts – the mill workers’ deaths, why these occurred, those blamed, and how factory inspectors directly saved lives in Edwardian Britain – FIRE! is very much a personal story as the author explains in the postscript. His search for his American soldier father, the subsequent discovery of his great-grandfather’s death and the impact on his own life, and ultimately his discovery of half-siblings in the USA is as much a part of the narrative as the details. And while inspiration came from family, there is also a disturbing relevancy in the text on how lax fire safety continues to be, especially in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower inferno.
Ultimately, the book tells not only of a dramatic story of loss and disaster, but shows how determination can triumph over tragedy to bring a happy ending.