Windsor Castle fire memories: 'I smelt the smoky air'

Windsor Castle fire memories: 'I smelt the smoky air'

Sophie Flowers

Windsor Castle fire memories: 'I smelt the smoky air'

Twenty years ago Windsor was reeling from the shock of seeing Windsor Castle go up in flames.

Thousands of people from miles around the town saw the smoke billowing from the castle on November 20, 1994 and millions watched news reports of the disaster around the world.

We asked for your memories of the event for our special report in today's Express.

Jonathan Velardi vividly remembers the fire.

Jonathan Velardi, 28, was one Express reader who told us his story.

The creative director of Windsor-based Studio Velardi said: "It would have been any other grey November day, had it not been for the unusually dark clouds that loomed over the castle. I vividly remember being picked up from school in Old Windsor by my mother and as we drove down Straight Road towards Windsor she explained to me the castle was on fire.

"A dark, billowing plume pumped into the air and as we followed the Royal estate's perimeter along Albert Road I opened the car window as we crossed the Long Walk to smell the smoky air. 

"That evening we went down to Windsor and Eton Riverside station and I sat on the wall with other spectators and international news teams, transfixed on the castle's north side; the fire had yet to be extinguished and lit up the night sky. Although we were at a distance, we could see the flicker of water shooting into the State Apartments across the searchlights that shone upwards from Upper Ward.

"Sixteen years later, I joined the Royal Collection in 2008 for one year after I graduated from The Slade School of Fine Art, London and worked in the visitors department. While understandably difficult at the time, the fire is now celebrated through the British craftsmanship that restored the damaged areas. I would find it fascinating that visitors from around the world were, and still are, interested in the fire: in relation to it's a rich history over the centuries, a mere dot on the timeline for the oldest inhabited castle in the world."

See more recollections in today's Windsor and Slough Express and share your memories in the box below. You can also post your photos on our Facebook page

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