[Buoyant Upholstery Fire and Incendiary]

Archive: Media Archive for Central England
ID No.: n/a
Title: [Buoyant Upholstery Fire and Incendiary]
Date: (1940)
Film-maker: Ivan Kingsbury
Colour: Black & White
Sound: Silent
Duration of complete item: 4 min. 21 sec.
Themes: Civil Defence – Civilian Services



Amateur film shot at Sandiacre in Derbyshire of fire fighters tackling a factory blaze (18 January 1940) and a demonstration by the ARP on how to extinguish an incendiary bomb and a fire.


The film begins with shots of a fire brigade outside the premises of The Buoyant Upholstery Company on Bridge Street at Sandiacre in Derbyshire. They are training their hoses on the building, which is well ablaze. Next we cut to a crowd standing outside looking at a small burning object lying on snow covered ground (a phosphorus incendiary device). A man approaches and tips sand on the burning object with a long-handled shovel; he removes the sand to reveal that the device is still burning; he then transfers it to his bucket, shovels sand on top and carries it away. We then see the same crowd looking at a bonfire which has been lit. A man lies on the ground pointing a small hose at the bonfire whilst a second man pumps water from a bucket using stirrup pump.


A large collection of standard 8mm films were deposited with MACE in August 2005 by John Kingsbury of Wollaton in Nottingham. The single collection was really two as John had acquired the films shot by both his father, Ivan Kingsbury, and Ivan’s friend, Ray Doncaster.

Buoyant Upholstery Fire and Incendiary was shot by Ivan Kingsbury who lived at The Greenway at Risley in Derbyshire with his wife Maude and their only son John. He managed the Lace Web Spring Company in Sandiacre, also in Derbyshire and was the president of the Sandiacre branch of the British Legion for many years. He was very interested in film making and showed films to troops stationed at Risley, at British Legion functions and to school children. Unfortunately he suffered from ill health and died in 1945.

The fire at the Buoyant Upholstery Co Ltd started in a store room and resulted in the death of two employees. The Stapleford and Sandiacre News from 20 January 1940 reported that six fire fighting units with seven engines tackled the blaze and Ivan is quoted as an eye witness explaining that in fifteen minutes 'the whole place had gone up in flames'.

In the early years of the Second World War Ivan was closely involved in Air Raid Precautions and acted as head warden and incident officer for Risley. This involvement is clear from the second half of this film, which is part of a training course for householders and may have been held on waste ground next to Ladycross School in Sandiacre, Derbyshire.

Sandiacre and nearby Risley were not bombed during the war, nevertheless the threat was taken seriously enough for slit trenches to be dug on the recreation ground in Sandiacre in 1938, and for an underground air raid shelter to be constructed near Ladycross School (film of the construction of which is also included in Ivan Kingsbury’s collection). Ironically, John’s wife, Audrey was evacuated to Aston-on-Trent in Derbyshire where bombs were dropped as German bombers were lured away from the Rolls Royce factory in Derby by decoy buildings.

[Buoyant Upholstery Fire and Incendiary] (1940)

[Buoyant Upholstery Fire and Incendiary] (1940)

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