In a huge blow to the crafting industry, a devastating fire has destroyed the Burlees House business hub in Hebden Bridge Mill, which broke out at La Perla Italian restaurant in the early hours of the morning of Tuesday 2 August.
The historic mill in the cente of the Yorkshire town – a renowned hotbed of talented designer-makers – was home to several craft workshops and shops belonging to small indendent businesses. Whilst the structure of the converted mill itself – a listed building – can be saved, everything inside was burned in the fire.
Designer-maker, Hannah Nunn (pictured below in her former studio), who lost everything in the fire, told her Instagram followers: “Floors have collapsed and the whole place is gutted. There were 16 or so businesses in here and we are reeling in shock. Yesterday I launched my brand new website. Today I have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to sell. Luckily the building is not going to be demolished. It’s a listed building. They are currently reinforcing it with scaffolding”.
Fellow artisan, Julia Ogden, a painter and printmaker who shared the space with Hannah, also had a shop and studio in the building (pictured below). She told followers: “Yesterday I switched my phone on and it was flooded with messages of condolences…I then found out that my beautiful studio and all the small business in the building had caught fire. And everything was gone.”
At 2.15 am on Tuesday morning ten fire engines and 80 firefighters arrived to tackle the huge fire, which forced terrified residents in Hangingroyd Lane to leave their homes. Twelve people were evacuated for seven houses on either side of the building and eye-witnesses also reported there were people trapped inside the restaurant, though they were safely evacuated without injury.
As reported in Yorkshire Live, Hebden Bridge fire incident commander, and district commander for West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, Toby May said: “On arrival crews were met with a very significant fire within a traditional stone building in Hebden Bridge – quite a large building.
“That fire quite quickly developed and then basically the building was 100 hundred per cent involved in the fire at one stage. For ourselves we made the incident – ten fire engines and two large aerials so we could suppress the fire as quickly as possible.
The Community Founation of Calderdale is now raising cash to support businesses which lost stock and equipment. These include artists, a photographer, an accountancy firm, La Perla and various other small businesses. The CEO of the Community Foundation, Steve Duncan, said the fund was very important for helping the business owners rebuild.
Steve said: “A small business is more than just an income. It’s someone’s passion and dreams. Let’s support them to rebuild. We rally in the Upper Calder Valley, so please give generously.” You can donate to the fund here.
His comments were echoed by local Councillor Josh Fenton-Glynn who helped set up the online fundraiser.
Coun Glynn said: “A lot of businesses have been impacted. These businesses are just one or two people and they are more than just an income – they are people’s passions. The least we can do is help them get back on their feet.”
The fund has already raised more than £900 (including Gift Aid) from over 30 supporters. The fund, which can be found here, has a target of £30,000.https://localgiving.org/appeal/BurleesHouseFire/