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Newspaper and Witness Reports

The Charles Goad Fire Maps

The Charles Goad fire maps of Leeds (see PowerPoint in 'Resources') are a collection of 26 fire insurance maps of the city centre from 1902. Charles Goad set up a business creating detailed maps of the buildings, occupiers, trades, interior layouts and building materials to help insurance companies work out the fire risk of each building. He created maps of many of Britain’s most important cities and towns from 1885 to 1910.

Postcard showing firemen tackling a huge blazing building  with water hoses
Postcard of The Great Fire in Leeds, 1906

Flammable building materials like wood, chemicals used in industry, and steam engines, boilers, kilns or ovens had special symbols because they are a high fire risk. Buildings with lots of people at work, school or church were highlighted as high risk on the maps. Businesses like mills, warehouses and railways were also considered to be high risk.

Fire damaged shell of a five storey building, it's roof and interior floor completely destroyed
Damage After Great Fire in Leeds 1906

After his death in 1910, his three sons continued the business. It still produces insurance-risk plans today, as part of the Experian Group.

You can see 15 of the city centre maps in the Charles Goad Fire Maps PowerPoint.

Look at the colour coded symbols and abbreviations that show materials, use, size, height and structure of buildings.
Sheet 1 – map of the whole Leeds area with an explanation of the signs used on the maps
Sheet 2 – the area around Park Square and Park Lane. Can you see a hotel?
Sheet 3 – the area around East Parade, Bond Street and Park Row. What road is the Poor Law Offices found on?
Sheet 4 - the area around Bond Street and Albion Street. Can you find the Theatre Royal, County Court and Leeds Library?
Sheet 7 – the area around Wellington Street. Can you see the Great Northern Railway Station Hotel that was destroyed by the Great Fire of Leeds in 1906?
Sheet 8 – the area around the train station and Infirmary Street. How many hotels can you find? What is the GPO?
Sheet 9 – the area around Boar Lane. Can you find Holy Trinity Church and John Milling and Partners Drapery and Cabinet Warehouses next door?
Sheet 10 – the area around Neville Street and the train station. Can you see the railway lines? Can you find Goodall, Backhouse and Co Manufacturing Chemists?
Sheet 12 – the area around Call Lane and The Calls. Can you find the Corn Exchange and the Central Market Bazaar?
Sheet 18 – the area around Kirkgate and The Calls. Can you see St Peters Church?
Sheet 27 – The area around Great George Street. Can you find Leeds General Infirmary?
Sheet 41 – the area around the Leeds Liverpool Canal. Can you see Thompson, McKay and Co Stables?
Sheet 43 – the area around Holbeck. Can you find the Polysulphin Chemical Works?
Sheet 46 – the area around Holbeck and Marshall Street. Can you see the largest building called Temple Works Clothing Factory?
Sheet 51 – the area around Hunslet Lane and Meadow Lane. Can you see the Leather Market?
Sheet 55 - the area around Hunslet Lane and Crown Point Road. Can you see Hunslett Lane Board School?