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Scotland Yard men in university blaze probe

remains of building after fire

Scientific experts from New Scotland Yard will visit the University of Essex at Colchester today to aid police investigate the cause of the blaze which damaged two wooden office buildings early on Saturday morning. Clerical records and sociological research work was lost in the fire, estimated to have caused up to £1,000 worth of damage.

Two students working in the early hours of Saturday in the photographic department of the university found the fire in a range of wooden office buildings behind Wivenhoe House.

They alerted security officers who called firemen. Two Colchester fire crews and part-timers from Wivenhoe and Brightlingsea fought for over an hour. They succeeded in confining the blaze to one 80 ft building and a smaller adjoining office block. The larger block was severely damaged.

Firemen stood by for several hours after bringing the blaze under control at about 3 a.m., and administrative staff were called in from a Saturday morning off to help assess the losses. "The fire brigade seem to have done a wonderful job," said a spokesman, who added that sociological staff had their offices in the ex-Army huts. "They would have lost some of their research work and possibly personal effects."

The offices also housed the administration for the data bank, but only clerical records were lost. The data bank itself and the machinery is installed in another part of the university.

Colchester C.I.D. officers carried out a preliminary investigation on Saturday and arranged for a more detailed investigation to be made today. "This is merely a precaution and a step we always take with a fire of any importance," said a police spokesman.

East Anglian Daily Times, 17 February 1969

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