Firefighting in the Library; a rattle

During the Second World War, University Library staff undertook fire-watching duties. Torches were provided for this and staff were trained in fire-fighting techniques with instructions to contact the Fire Brigade should the fire “show signs of developing into a major disaster”.

The rattle was used as a gas warning – when it sounded, readers and staff were to get into the trenches or nearby open spaces. There were curtains to hang over the trenches treated with decontaminant (bleaching powder and water). A memo also recommended that “human urine has a certain decontaminant value.”

UA ULIB 9/4/25

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