The Prescotian Webzine

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CHEMICAL SPILL FEARS ALLAYED

The Liverpool Daily Post reported on 18 March, 1994 that

Worried parents have been sent letters in an effort to allay their fears over a chemical spill at their children's school. The head teacher at Prescot School, near Liverpool, yesterday wrote to parents telling them the circumstances behind the accident. Forty-seven children and seven staff were rushed to Whiston and Alder Hey Hospitals after the incident. Eight youngsters were detained overnight but all except a caretaker who is still being kept under observation have been released.

Frank Naylor, deputy head, said dozens of parents had contacted the school wanting to know what had happened. The incident happened when red phosphorous stored in oil spilled when a bottle broke as workers from Leigh Environmental Services were removing chemicals. The youngsters and teachers suffered eye and throat problems. Mr Naylor said fire officials had praised the school for reacting so well to the incident.

Many years earlie, circa 1935, George 'Drugs' Drowry was performing a demonstration experiment involving chlorine when the lid of gas jar was accidentally displaced. The noxious brown cloud quickly drifted over the class and I was unfortunate enough to get a whiff of it. In gasping for air I inhaled a fair old lung-full and this caused some alarm not only on my own part but also that of Drugs.

Fortunately a cylinder of oxygen was at hand and Drugs was equal to the situation. Atypically moving with the speed of light, he connected a rubber tube and glass funnel to the cylinder and produced a make-shift face-mask. Without doubt this had a spectacular effect on my longevity, a fact which I did not appreciate at the time.

The bonus was a luxurious ride all six miles to my home in Rainford esconced in the leather front passenger seat of Richie's maroon sit-up-and-beg Armstrong-Siddeley. I remember it had a vertical windscreen and brass frames to the few dashboard instruments. Anybody else ever been out motoring with the Old Man?


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