WHEN we think of a fire raging in a town centre, we think of a flurry of activity. The wail of sirens and the shouting of concerned members of the public.
But what is striking about this, our main photograph today of the blaze at Hove Town Hall in 1966, is the sense of calm.
Smoke billows from the structure in the top left of our 50-year-old black and white photograph.
It does not look as though the fire fighters have yet got to grips with the blaze.
And while there is one fire engine visible in the bottom left of the image, in this instant at least there is no one running towards or away from the flames.
We cannot see a hose reel being unrolled, or a jet of water being poured on to the fire.
Perhaps it is the jaunty, hands-in-pockets stroll of the gentleman in the centre of the frame which gives the image its slightly unnerving sense of a calm in the face of an emergency.
Undoubtedly the firemen were bravely at work in areas unseen in this image.
At the other side of the picture a long ladder has been extended and we can see one man on it about ten feet up.
From the highest point of the ladder we can see that smoke – and probably therefore fire – is threatening that part of the building as well so it is possible an emergency evacuation has taken place moments before.
Our other pictures show a fire in Marine Parade, Brighton, in 1992 and the Hotel Metropole in the Eighties.
Elsewhere today, Timeout features a photograph with one of the most cheekily amusing captions in our archive.
Just look at the wreckage of a model nuclear submarine, lovingly constructed by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament on Brighton beach, and destroyed, apparently by a gang of Young Tory activists.
Criminal damage is never funny, but at least both groups felt strongly about their cause.