1831 Studley House Fire

Historical period: The Union Engine Company

On February 1, 1831, a residence known as Studley House caught fire; it had been built by Judge Alexander Croke, circa 1802, where Dalhousie University's Arts and Administration Building now stands. When Croke left Nova Scotia, it was purchased by ex-Hand in Hand Fire Company member Matthew Richardson. Here is the Acadian Recorder newspaper article:
On Tuesday Morning the town was alarmed by the ringing of fire-bells on account of the arrival of information that Studley house, the seat of Mr. Richardson, Esq. was in flames. The house was more than a mile from town. Engines, and abundant assistance, civil and military, were in a few moments after the alarm, on the spot; but to save the furniture and out-buildings, was the only service possible to be performed; the flames had gained complete mastery of the building, and it was soon reduced - from being a most comfortable and commodious abode - to a heap of smoking ruins. It is a serious call to increased watchfulness; it has not been utterly disregarded, for the inspectors of stoves have gone their rounds within the past week. We understand that the fire above mentioned was occasioned by the anti-sweep practice of burning out the chimnies [sic] (Nova Scotia Archives).
The house was a mansion; it consisted of a dining room, a drawing room, a study and sitting room, four bedrooms with large closets, three bedrooms for the servants, a large garrett(1), a wash house, a butler's pantry and a store room. On the lower floor was a dairy, a larder(2), a beer cellar, a roast house, a wine cellar, a coal cellar capable of holding 24 cauldrons of coal, and a vat containing 1200 gallons of rainwater, all frostproof.
1. The meaning of garrett is a room or unfinished part of a house just under the roof, or attic.
2. A larder at the time was a cool area for storing food prior to use.

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