Dubliner and fireman Leslie Crowe
Published on 11th January 2022
In October 1936, three Dublin firefighters lost their lives in a fire at the Exide Batteries shop on Pearse Street. Firefighters Robert Malone, Peter McArdle and Tom Nugent died when a roof collapsed while fighting a fire on Pearse Street.
I pass the Science Gallery on my way to work and a plaque on the wall marks the location of the tragedy.
Within striking distance of Dublin Fire Brigade’s HQ on Tara Street; a barber’s shop and hotel occupied Number 163; an Exide Batteries shop was located on the ground floor of 164, along with several vacant first floor offices and a family of seven on the top floor. The basement of Number 164 was home to a factory, where the batteries were manufactured and stored. Writing in their seminal history The Dublin Fire Brigade, Tom Geraghty and Trevor Whitehead describe a dangerous scene – several gas cylinders on the factory floor, and a basement back wall modified with a timber and felt annex. “Housekeeping generally in the factory was poor and there were boxes, cartons and their inflammable contents thrown around the factory floor,” they noted.
The new documentary Camera Tripod Bicycle celebrates the work of Dubliner and fireman Leslie Crowe, who spent 25 years filming his city and family on his 8mm Brownie home movie camera. In the 30’s a very young fireman, Leslie Crowe, was involved in a devastating fire which traumatised him and in which he was badly injured. This only came to light in recent years and perhaps explains the obsessive interest that he developed in filmmaking.
Crowe joined Dublin Fire Brigade in the 30's, married in the early fifties, and moved out to the new suburb of Santry to 60 Lorcan Drive with with his growing family.
Discover more background here via JSTOR - The Ireland Collection. Access is from branch libraries only.
A Triple Tragedy in Dublin, the Pearse Street Fire, 1936
A. P. Behan
Dublin Historical Record
Vol. 50, No. 1 (Spring, 1997), pp. 5-24 (20 pages)
Published By: Old Dublin Society
Dublin Historical Record
Also check out our catalogue for more books. Recommended background reading for the future: Dublin Fire Brigade 1862-1937 : a brief history / by M. T. O'Donoghue ; foreword by the Lord Mayor of Dublin 1930-1938 Alfred Byrne, T.D.
The Dublin City Library and Archive Reading Room is undergoing refurbishment at the moment but continue to operate an online service and are answering queries on [email protected] and [email protected].