There are three known newspaper articles on fires at Arborfield Mill. This is from the 'Reading Mercury' on 29th June 1829, and puts a different slant on the story, concentrating on the plight of the Pither family, and quoting a different date.
Calamity by fire.
On the night of the 18th of June inst the Corn-Mill in the occupation of Mr. John Pither, at Arborfield, on the Loddon, was burnt to the ground. The fire broke out in an adjoining paper-mill, and had reached to such a height before it was discovered, that all attempts to master the flames proved ineffectual; so that the mill-buildings, with their valuable contents, were utterly destroyed by the hurried efforts made to preserve it; and all the little property of this unhappy family, the necessaries which support, and the comforts which sweeten life, spoilt, wasted, or plundered in the dreadful confusion of the night.
The loss is estimated at £500 - their all! Nothing was
insured, so that the ruin is total! And to this destruction must be
added the loss of time and of custom, until the mill be rebuilt, and the
means of labor, the power of supporting their six young children,
restored to the worthy industrious miller and his admirable wife. Under
these circumstances, Mr. Pither’s friends are induced to appeal to the
charity of the neighbourhood for such assistance, as each, according to
his several means, may be enabled to afford.
References as to the facts and the case and the characters of the parties, may be made to the Clergyman of the parish, the Rev. H. Hodgkinson, and to John and Charles Simonds, esqrs, the former of Newlands, the latter of Sindlesham, in the immediate neighbourhood of the scene of the calamity.
Subscriptions will be thankfully received at the Bank
of the above John and Chas. Simonds, esqrs, at Reading; and Messrs.
Harris and Co., Reading.”
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