Members of Whitley Bay Willow Club enjoyed a talk on the Great Fire of Gateshead.
More than 50 people were killed and over 200 injured in the fire on Friday, October 6, 1854.
Guest speaker Richard Stevenson told how the fire started in a newly-built factory containing large qualities of oil to treat raw wool.
After destroying the building, it spread to an adjacent warehouse containing combustibles, causing it to explode, which could be heard 20 miles away.
Nearby homes were incinerated.
Stonework was projected across the river to damage streets in Newcastle.
The Willow Club meets each Thursday, between 10.30am and noon, in the Wesley Hall, St John’s Church, Ilfracombe Gardens, Whitley Bay, to listen to an invited speaker.
The club is open to all retired men.