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Adapted, Eric Jenkins, 18th March 2008, from The Northampton Mercury 28th July 1905, page 7; And 4th August, 1905, page 7.]
A Horrible Fire at Wollaston, 1905

William Packwood (51) owned a draper's shop with a house adjoining it, on the left-hand side of the road coming into Wollaston from Wellingborough. Also in his household were his sister, Fanny Packwood (68), and a housekeeper, Miss Edith Wright (42). Fanny was an invalid, partly paralysed, and helpless. On Tuesday, 25th July 1905, the shop closed as usual at 8 p.m. William went to Taylor's cinematograph show which was standing in Wollaston. He returned at ten o'clock, and they all went to bed. No lights were seen by neighbours after ten. Police Constable Thomas Harding passed the shop at five minutes to one, and noticed nothing unusual. He did smell burning, which he believed could have emanated from nearby factories, and he went to look. The actual fire was discovered by the people living opposite. The wife of Robert Cooper got out of bed to open a window, and she heard muffled screams. Her husband looked out and saw flames roaring through an open window. They heard the crackling of timber on the fire. The interior of the shop had been full of inflammable goods. The thatched roof had smoke pouring through it in clouds. The three inhabitants were supposed by then to have perished. Daniel Drage went for the Wellingborough Fire Brigade. Meanwhile, villagers used a hand-pump kept at the cinematograph show. The Firemen went in and first found a female body across the threshold of Miss Packwood's room. Then the roof fell in. An hour later, the body of William Packwood was found, burnt to a cinder in the sitting room. After another hour had passed, the body of Edith Wright was found where the shop was - a blackened trunk with the head and limbs gone. The remains were collected, an d carried to the Nag's Head Inn round the corner. The village women were all crying.

An inquest was held at the Inn. The verdict was "Three died from burning in a fire, the cause of which is unknown". The funerals were held on Friday, 28th July 1905.

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