The Old Fire Station

What is now a lively and thriving retail and restaurant area was once the site of the Fire Station. Previously situated further up Market Street, the antiquated fire engines were pulled by horses stabled at the Royal Hotel. An officer residing next to the fire station, on receiving the alarm of a fire would call down to the Royal Hotel for the horses, and at the same time send out the call for the volunteer firemen to report for duty. At the time the Council could not afford a full time fire brigade.

When the Urban Council decided to replace these horse-drawn vehicles with two motorized fire tenders, it became necessary to create a new base, the remains of which you can see here. This modern fire station had a drill tower for training at heights and drying out the hoses, now demolished, a recreation room, a bathroom and a workshop. The upgraded station situated here in the Yards was opened on 22nd October 1926. The local newspaper reported on the opening event:

The test that the opening of the new Fire Station for public inspection was appreciated was shown by the many hundreds of people who visited the premises on Saturday. Sections of firemen were on duty throughout the afternoon and evening and explained matters of interest to visitors. The switchboard containing the numerous alarm systems was a particular source of interest and the object of the new tower was the subject of many enquiries. A ready response to the appeals of the Firemen’s Widows and Orphans Fund resulted in £19 being collected for that fund”.

Researched by David Brown

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