Oil Mills Fire

  Public Utilities

Possibly Dover’s biggest ever fire, at the old Oil Mills in Limekiln Street, later the site of George Hammonds’ Shipping offices.

The blaze, with damage estimated at £1 million, broke out in May 1965, the alarm being raised by night watchman Peter Vickery, of Harold Street, at 4am. The fire appears to have quickly gained a hold and, for a time Peter was trapped about 50ft up in the building, the Dover Express reported, as flames estimated at a 100ft high shot into the sky. The building was a tinderbox, it was stated, with oil-soaked timbers of decades, having once been Dover Oil Crushing Co’s works back in the late 1800s and, later, a fur fabrics factory. Firemen were on the scene, it was reported, for about 40 hours, putting out the blaze which gutted the building and then damping down and keeping a watch for any new outbreaks from smouldering debris. During the Second World War it had been a temporary transit camp for troops on the move and also had a role in the running and maintenance of Motor Torpedo boats, Air Sea Rescue craft and Motor Gun Boats operating in the Channel.

Photo Bob Hollingsbee

Old Oil Mills in Limekiln Street (photo Bob Hollingsbee)

Old Oil Mills in Limekiln Street (photo Bob Hollingsbee)