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Summerland’s headlining resident entertainer, Lawrie Adam, was on the stage in front of an enormous crowd when the fire broke out on 2 August 1973.

Lawrie was in his act when he smelt smoke. After sending someone off to find out what it was, he continued entertaining the crowd, playfully commenting on the smell and trying to make everyone feel at ease. But then the flames exploded up the wall and across the ceiling.

Over the microphone, he directed people towards the safest entrance until the sound gave out and he made his own way out, collecting his wife and child as he went. Once safely outside, he watched the terrifying scenes unfold, with victims and heroes alike standing out in his memory.

Lawrie then describes what followed, with the harrowing roll-call the next day, and the pressure put on him not to speak to the media at all.

The conversation here includes the wider story of Summerland before the fire, his own employment there and the show he offered. He also discusses his own remarkable career in showbusiness before finding a new direction as a vicar through his return to the Island later in the 1970s.

Lawrie’s experience of the Summerland was unique and remarkable, just as is his life.

This interview was conducted as a part of the Summerland Remembered project commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Summerland Fire on 2nd August 1973.


When you click play on one of the interviews below there will be a slight delay as the audio file is downloaded. Large files or slow internet connections will increase the length of this delay.

  • Lawrie Adam interviewed by James Franklin (22 February 2023)

More Photos

  • Lawrie Adam publicity photo, 1975
  • Lawrie Adam publicity photo, 1975
  • Lawrie Adam publicity photo, 1975