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pearance in London). Elvira, Miss Marriott, (from Bath, her ist appearance on this stage).-Critic. *30. Africans--Music Mad-Blind Boy.
31. Ib.-YES or No? (Never acted.) The Overture and Music by Mr. C. Smith. The Characters by Messrs. Grove, Liston, Farley, Palmer, jun. Noble, Mathews, Treby; Mrs. Davenport, Mrs. Liston, SEPT.
1. Blue Devils-Yes or No?
3. [Mr. Fawcett's Night.] Zorinski-Critic-Plot and Courterplot.
5. Africans-Blind Boy-Yes or No ?
9. [Mrs. Gibbs' Night.] Honeymoon, Duke, Mr. Young.–Plut and Counterplot-Valentine and Orson.
10. Africans, Music Mad-Yes or No?
The Theatre closed on the 15th, with the usual compliment to the audience from Mr. Fawcett. The farce of YES OR No ? is a pleasant trifle, and having the advantage of some pretty music, and excellent acting, no doubt sufficiently answered the purpose both of manager and author,
DESTRUCTION OF COVENT GARDEN THEATRE
On Tuesday morning (Sept. 20), at 4 o'clock, took place one of the most tremendous conflagrations which this Metropolis has · witnessed for many years, and which euded in the total destruc
tion of Covent Garden Theatre, certainly one of the most complete and splendid in Europe, together with a great number of the adjoining houses; but the circumstance which consummated the calamity is the melancholy destruction of human life which ensued, in a most fatal and shocking manner. The play and entertainment announced for representation on the previous evening were Pizarro, and the Portrait of Cervantes, which were performed with the greatest éclat, and produced a remarkably full house.-During the performance, nothing transpired which could indicate, in the least degree, the possibility of the melancholy catastrophe which in a very few hours afterwards took place. The representation was over by eleven o'clock, ani about twelve Mr. Brandon, after going round the house, saw every thing apparently safe, and retired to rest. The watchman also went his usual rounds at two o'clock in the morning, when there was no appearance to excite suspicion. At four Mr. Brandon was called up by the watchman, when the whole house
was in flames. About this time a thick smoke, and immediately afterwards flames, were seen issuing from the large ventilator on the roof of Covent Garden Theatre. Within ten minutes, several parts of the roof were perceived to be on fire, and in half an hour the whole covering of that immense building was in flames, burning with such fury and intenseness, that, though it was then broad day light, the column of fire thrown up was perceivable even in many of the more distant environs of the metropolis. The engines of every fire-office in town, and of all the neighbouring parishes, rattling through the streets, spread an universal alarm. Every person within half a mile supposed, on looking out, the fire to be within three or four houses of him. The theatre was speedily surrounded with engines, and thousands of persons, ready to give all the assistance in their power; but the building is so closely surrounded by bigh and deep houses, that for some time very little or nothing could be done by all their efforts to check the progress of the flames. The roof fell in about six, and before eight o'clock, the whole interior of this magnificent building, the audience part, the stage, the different entrances, the treasury, and music-room, were consumed. Of so great a destruction, effected in so short a time, there is perhaps no former instanee; but the large area of the Theatre gave air to the flames, and almost every material composing it was highly combustible.
The endeavours of the firemen were now all applied to the prevention of an increase of the calamity, the houses on the four sides of the theatre being evidently in great dauger. Their height made it impossible for the engines to play over them; but the leathern pipes were carried up the stair-cases of the houses to the third floors, and being thrown down the ends were fastened to the engines below. All these exertions could not prevent the progress of the flames to the houses in Bow-street, to which side the wind inclined. Several of these are connected with the theatre, and appropriated to differeut parts of the establishment. Most of these are destroyed, and some others. Soou after four o'clock, when the fire was at its height, from the direction and force of the wind, there was reason to fear the destruction of the whole mass of houses reaching to Russel-street; but the wind soon fell considerably, and the fire seemed to take a different direction. It is impossille to describe the horrors of the scene at this moment. The immense volume of fire, the crashing of ihe beams, and the roof, the knocking up of the families in the neighbourhood in order to save themselves from the devouring element, altogether formed a scene that beggars all description. As the heavy timbers fell, the light burning matter was thrown up to an immense height and extent, and the whole atmosphere was filled with floating takes of fire, which feil in all directions, spreading consternation, and threatening ruin to the whole neighbourhood. Pieces of scenery and ornaments were carried to a considerable distance, and a piece of carve. ed wood, all on fire even fell near St. Clement's Church. The Apollo on the top of Drury-lane Theatre, formed a striking spectacle, as the fiery materials fell around it is a sort of shower. The conflagration continued to extend itself without the least prospect of a " stop being put to its fury. The alarm was spread all over the town with the utmost rapidity-the fire engines poured in from all quar-, ters, but they could not render any effectual assistance for a conside. rable time, from the scarcity of water. This circumstance, tbough it would be a matter of great regret at a fire of less magaitude, was of litrie consequence ; for had all the engines in London been suffered to play upon the burning pile at once, little benefit could have been derived from their exertions, so tremendous were the fames at one time. Great apprehensions were entertained for the safety of Drury-lane Theatre, as the flakes of fire were carried by tbe wind with force and in great quantities in that direction. Á great number of people mounted tbe roof, ready in case of actual fire to open the large cistern of water provided there. They also stopped the windows with wet cloths, to prevent the entrance of the flames, and thus secured the theatre. All the people in the neigh. bourhood took a similar precaution and were employed, with their servants, in picking up the flakes of fire as they fell on the roofs, or in the yards. A great number of volunteers, of different corps, were speedily assembled, and, by their activity and exertions, were very useful in keeping open the passage to the theatre, and in preventing the inconveniences arising from a mob. These were followed by detachments from tbe Horse and Foot Guards, who continued on the spot during the course of the day. Several miscreants were taken into custody, who attempted to avail themselves, for the purposes of plunder, of the confusion and dismay produced by this tremendous catastrophe. . But great as this calamity is to the proprietors and other sufferérs, a most dreadful occurrence is yet to be mentioned. The fire. men attached to an engine belonging to the Phoenix Office, together with several others, had broke opeu the door of the "theatre under the Piazza, and advancing forward into the passage, had di. rected the pipes up the stairs leading to the boxes. While thus in the act of playing upon the interior of the Theatre, a stack of chimnies, belonging to the Shakespeare Tavern, fell down, and bursting through the covering of the passage, buried them in the ruins! This dreadful event took place about a quarter before seven, and it was a considerable time before the rubbish, which now blocked up the door, could be cleared away. When it was effected, a miserable spectacle presented itself-the mangled bodies of dead and dying appearing through the rubbish, or discovered in each advance to remove it. A number of dead bodies were conveyed to the bone house of Covent Garden parish to be owned, and the bruised and scorched in whom any signs of life were perceived were sent to the hospital.
The Treasurer (Mr. Hughes), though infirm, contrived to secure all the books and papers relative to the concerns of the theatre, as well as the produce of the last night's performance. The fire is supposed to have broken out in what is called the mechanist's workroom, which was between the roof and the cieling, immediately over the pit. The cause of it is wholly unknown. All the precautions long established by the rules of the theatre had been taken, as usual. The persons who light the lamps and candles bad extinguished them; the housekeeper had gone over the whole building afterwards; and the watchman of the theatre had, as we have already said, been his rounds during the night. Mr. Harris was at his country-house near Uxbridge when the event took place, and
and M r. Harris, junior, on Tuesday morning carried to him the distressing news. Mr. Harris, when infurined of the great loss he had sustained, in the total destruction of a theatre in which so much of his property was invested, and the concerns of which he had superintended for so inany years, with such distinguished liberality and success, bore the informatiou with calmness and fortitude. On his coming to town, however, and being made acquainted with the melancholy circumstances with which it was attended, he was greatly distressed. . It has not been ascertained, nor perhaps ever will be, from what cause the tire originated. It was rumoured that the Theatre had been wilfully set on fue, but there does not appear any ground for a suspicion of this nature. It was also supposed, tbat the wadding of the gun fired during the performance of PIZARRO, had lodged in one of the scenes, and that the fire had originated from this cause, but the wadding 1sed for that purpose was so slight a piece of paper, that it is scarcely possible it could have caused any injury. .M any orber conjectures have been hazarded as to the cause of the
fire, but in this, as in most other cases of a similar nature, there scarcely appears any possibility of ascertaining with the least cer. tainty the actual cause of the conflagration-A wall had been recently built for the purpose of preventing any danger to the Theatre, from fire breaking out in either of the Coffee-houses next to the Piazza. This wall had the effect of preventing the flames from the Theatre communicating to the Coffee-house, otherwise it is probable the whole of that side of Covent Garden and the east side of James-street, as far as Hart-street, would have been destroyed.
The loss to the proprietors will be immense. The property is supposed to have heen worth 150,000l. and not more than a third of that sun was insured. Besides the actual loss, much of the property is of a nature that cannot be replaced. A vast collection of manuscript music by Handel, Arue, and other eminent composers; the tinely-painted scenes of Lambert, Dahl, Carver, Richards, and other great masters, the adipiration and study of our present artists ; Handel's organ, used at the oratorios, and valued at 1000 guireas ; the immense wardrobe of the theatre, more complete than any in Europe ; and other losses too numerous to recount, which will occasion the utmost embarrassment to the proprietors, and prevent the performance of many dramatic pieces, the representation of which would bring vast sums into the treasury.
Arrangements are already forming for the erection of a new the. atre on the old scite. It will be of the most magnificent description; hut we hope that, in the planning of it, some attention will be paid to the points alluded to in an article inserted in our dramatic department for this month. For their own sakes, the proprietors will guard against the probability of a second conflagration. The outlets of our present theatres are extremely inconvenient and dangerous'; in the new building they should be increased, and this may be done without adding to the number of door-keepers. The theatre will no doubt be detached from all other houses ; and it might be fit matter for the consideration of the proprietors whether separate buildings might not be erected for the wardrobe, the carpenter's room, painter's room, &c, &c. 19 that, in case of a misfortune by
fire, all would escape destructiou except the apartment in whicb the accident might commence.
* A committee is formed in Covent Garden Parish, to receive sub: scriptions for the relief of the unfortunate sufferers ; and the proprietors of the theatre have signified their intention of appropriating * night to their benefit.
CORONER'S INQUEST. An Inquest was held on Wednesday, Sept. 21, at two o'clock, at the house of Mr. Belshaw, the corner of Janies-street, in the Piazza, Covent Garden, before Anthony Gell, Esq. Coroner for Westminster, on the bodies of those unfortunate persons who lost their lives at the dreadful fire. Upwards of twenty persons have lost their lives, and a considerable number were severely wounded and bruised.
The principal witness was W. Addecot, of Little Russel-street, stage-carpenter at Covent Garden theatre. He deposed that on Monday night the play of Pizarro was performed. At about half after eleven o'clock, upon the final dropping of the curtain, as the audience was going away, he quitted the theatre and went home. He went to bed at nearly twelve o'clock; at four in the morning, he was awakened by Mr. Carmichael, a baker, his next-door neighbour, who informed him that the theatre was on fire. Upon going to Hart-street, he saw that the theatre was in a blaze. He then went to the pit door, where he saw the British and some other engines. Mr. Hughes's' (the treasurer) door was broken open. Mr. Brandon then came and gave the witness several keys belonging to the theatre, in order to obtain the more easy access for the firemen: but in the confusion and agitation of mind which the persons connected with the theatre were tlien in, they were unable to fit the keys to the locks which they wished to unfusten. The doors were then forced open; but though there was a reservoir within the theatre, there was not any hose at hand wbich could fit the engines. Messrs. Hadley and Simkins, of Long Acre, engine makers, sent some hose, and two or three of their small engines, which played with considerable effect. The wituess then went round to the Piazza door, where he saw the Phænix fire-engine worked by about a dozen men inside of the great entrance gates. The witness advised one of the engineers to remove from that spot, as, from his local knowledge of the theatre, he could perceive the men were in imminent danger. The fire was then burning through from the boxes towards Covent Garden Market, and the room over their heads, called the Apollo Room, was also in one blaze. The witness was told to mind his own business, and accordingly quitted the place, and returned to the Bow-street side of the theatre. By this time he could perceive that the whole of the theatre was one solid body of fire. It was impossible for him to ascertain the cause ; he could state, that it appeared to him to have begun about the centre of the house, towards the left side of the building. In less than half an hour after he was told by one of the firemen that the house was down, and that some of their men were killed. Upon re(turning again to the Piazza, he saw the workmen busily engaged in digging for the bodies, and perceived that it was the Apollo Room which had fallen in. He believed that, if it had not been for a strong party-wall ,which had been but lately erected, the Bed