home page   back to the History Page

Fire on Lancing Industrial Estate in the 1970's
John, who lives in The Street, North Lancing  passed along these photos to share. They are of a large fire on the Lancing Industrial Estate, possibly in 1973
The fire broke out in the premises of Tinsley Robor who were using the old Lancing Railway Carriage Works to produce covers for long playing vinyl albums

Dave adds on 26/07/08

Re:- The fire at Tinsley Robor, at that time I was working in Crawley (MEL) and on that day I'd left early to attend a dental appointment in Lancing. The first I knew of the fire, was as I was going into Handcross (via the slip road off of the A23) to get to the road to Lower Beeding ( the A23 being the OLD version and covered in road improvement works) I waited for a Fire tender to come from the east (B2110) using 'Blues and Two's (as the phrase was then) as I saw that it was the 'East Grinstead' tender I thought 'Hmm must be a big one some where and it's going to be on standby relief ' it seemed to be going my way because I was following it. As we came south out of Lower Beeding, at the top of one of the hills a smudge on the southern horizon made me think 'wow! that's some size if I can see it from here -'Where's that I wonder'. As we kept coming towards it and the plume of smoke kept getting more dominant on the sky line my worries increased. By now I been over taken by another fire tender again using 'Blues and Two's but I didn't notice where it came from. Coming down through Cowfold,
Henfield, Small Dole, Upper Beeding and past the cement works, by now the fire tenders had left me well behind, but the smoke, it just kept getting bigger. When I reached Crabtree Lane, I had to phone home, as whilst I was certain that all would be OK, I needed to check

A huge pall of smoke was produced by the fire
Ann send along her memory of this event

I was working at Robor at the time of the fire, although not on the day the fire started as I was on holiday.  I walked my dog up to Lancing Ring and saw the smoke and wondered what was burning!  Then I went shopping into Lancing and the butcher said I might not have a job to return to.  As it happened I had to cut short my holiday and the office staff travelled to Storrington where the Managing Director, Mr John Rose, lived and we worked from his home - which was a pleasant change - until the building was sorted out.

Apparently the staff who were there on the day were sent out of the building, then sent back in again and then told to get out.  The fire actually started in old tyres in the next building but once it spread the amount of card/paper, ink and chemicals kept it burning for weeks.  01/05/06


Photo of the fire taken from a helicopter. The large building from which smoke rises is Lancing Railway Carriage Works

A panorama of the fire scene. To the top left of the photo is the Worthing to Brighton railway line. The road shown is Chartwell Road.

John, who was working on the Estate at the time remembers that the fire engines attending the blaze ran lines of water hoses from the lake at Brooklands to douse the flames

page created 09/12/11