cane hill | walking the perimeter

This catches my attention, so I zoom in for that all-important, erm, ‘zoomed-in’ shot.

Check the condition of the roof of the building to the left of the base of the tower. Fire damage.

At first, I thought this was the site of the big fire, the one which caused most of South London’s fire bridge to turn up, the one that prompted the site’s owners to put up this huge security fence. And because Cane Hill is so vast, so huge, all that can be seen, is this little bit of damage to the corner of this one building.

Wrong! This was the first boiler room fire, one of the ‘little’ ones. The damage can be seen on the multimap image of the site, and on one of Andrew’s shots taken from the top of the tower. This is old news. Where was the first big fire then? Answers on a postcard please.

And an answer has come in. Thanks!

"The fire damage near the base of the tower that you point out has been there for years and years. At least 6 now. It was originally the coal store, not sure what its function was when the hospital closed."

2009: I walked around the perimeter several weeks after the fire which claimed the buildings along the service road, the stores and the main hall. And yet Cane Hill was so vast that none of the wrecked buildings could be seen from the footpath.

Detail of fire damage to the Small Coal Store. © Simon Cornwell 2002