Liverpool Salvage Corps

1835 - The first record of the Fire Offices appointing an ‘Inspector of Salvage for Fire Offices’, a merchant John Leyland. He held no formal office but rather received appointments from individual offices to act on their behalf and to hire labour as required. Each Office with risks insured had an agent in Liverpool.

June 18, 1840 - The County Fire Office wrote a letter regarding the possible appointment of an Inspector of Salvage, they advised nothing like that position existed in London and they believed it to be a unique office.

September 23, 1842 - After a series of disastrous warehouse fires in Liverpool culminating in the Formby Street fire insurance rates for fire in Liverpool were increased by 400%. There were loud criticisms from Liverpool’s merchants and demands that something must be done or the port’s trade would be affected.

Febuary 2, 1844 - The first certificate was issued under the Liverpool Fire Prevention Act in respect of Harboard’s Warehouse

October 24, Salvage Corp, Derby Road, 1930.
Salvage Corp, Derby Road, 1930.
1845- It was resolved to appoint an Inspector of Salvage.1
November 5 - The Committee resolved it would now be known as ‘The Liverpool Committee of the London, Liverpool and other Fire Offices’. Mr Ball was its first chair.

January 2, 1846 - Captain Greig attended the Committee meeting and submitted a scheme for forming the pensioners into a Salvage Brigade.2
January 8 - It was re-named the Salvage Brigade having three specified duties.

  1. To take property out of buildings on fire and keep possession of it until the mode of disposal shall have been determined by the Committee.
  2. To remove such property out of buildings endangered by the fire as to render such desirable and to deal with it in a like manner.
  3. To take possession of the ruins after a fire and all salvage which may remain therein and to dispose of the same in such a way as the Committee may give instructions.

May 7 - The Committee resolved it was desirable to complete an arrangement with Capt Greig upon terms to be agreed.3

1847 - Initial recruitment to the retained Salvage Brigade took place.
Sep 01 - The record of fires attended begins they attended all types of premises.

February 3, 1848 - Recruiting to the retained Salvage Brigade was completed; Lt Maxwell was now made Commander with a Sergeant Major, two Sergeants, Bugler and 40 Privates. They wore a uniform akin to that of a sailor and the privates had `Salvage` on a band around their back tarred hats. Rates of pay were agreed
Sgt Major 4s 6d per day, Sergeant 4s and a Private 3s 6d.

July - There were two occasions when all the men were called out in their role as army pensioners to aid in quelling civil commotions in the town. Gradually the pensioners were replaced by civilians.

1849 - Maxwell resigned aged 60.

1850 - Captain Weir was appointed Inspector of Salvage on a part time basis.

1854 - Captain Weir resigned to re-join his regiment due to the start of the Crimean War. Major Faulkner took his place for the next 11 years4.

1866 - The Committee resolved to re-organise the Brigade. A new full time appointment was made Mr Yelland from London with the title Superintendent.. There were now to be two stations manned by full time, staff each with a HD wagon henceforth known as a trap and other equipment. Stables for three horses and the rental of the first premises at 10-12 Hatton Garden were obtained.

1867  Ordered for the new Corps were:
Two Hand pumps with two lengths of hose each, six Helmets, Brigade pattern
24 Waterproof sheets, 2 x 4 wheel carriages with ladders.

February 28 - It was reported to the Committee the two houses on Athol Street rented for use as the North station were being cleaned and would be ready in a day or two

February 28 - Mr Yelland confirmed that he was happy to take charge as from 01 Mar and he advised that Mr Swainton had told him that the 2 carriages were finished5.

March 1 - The new Hatton Garden station opened, the Corps by now wore black leather helmets with brass trim.

March 12 - The two four-wheel carriages arrived from London and ‘were in readiness to attend’

1877 - A site was acquired on Vauxhall Road for a new North station.

February 10, 1879 - It was reported to the Committee that the purchase of a piece of land on Hatton Garden adjoining the Salvage station had been agreed by the Northern, General and Scottish Committee.

March 7 - The new North station on Vauxhall Road was handed over by Tomkinson & Son the contractors and the property of the late Gilbert Heyes on Hatton Garden had been offered to Mr John Nicol and accepted for £4.000-

May 2 - The Committee agreed to purchase the land on Hatton Garden for £4,000 and the 13 Offices also agreed that 4 men would jointly own the land which would be let to the Corps on a repairing lease for 21 years.

1887 - Maisonette type terraced houses for some of the married Corps personnel were built on North St, known as the Salvage Cottages.

1888 - The Corps, on behalf of the member fire offices, entered into an agreement whereby they could call in the Liverpool Police Fire Brigade to attend fires anywhere on Merseyside, with the Corps guaranteeing their fee. Thus the brigade attended fires at the Earl of Sefton‘s home Croxteth Hall including one on 22 Aug 1925 to 40t of hay on fire for which a bill of 10s was sent to the Corps

1891 - Harry Rolt became Chief Officer; he stayed for only a year.

1892 - The title of the Fire Salvage Association of Liverpool Ltd was adopted, taking advantage of the provisions of the new Companies Act.

Salvage Corp, Hatton Gardens 1894.
Salvage Corp, Hatton Gardens, 1894.
1894 May - The new North District station opened on Derby Road was occupied
having a single appliance bay, plus accommodation for the Salvagemen’s families as well as drying kilns, storage sheds, a yard, cotton sorting sheds and a 4 storey warehouse at the rear on Juniper St used for reclaiming cotton.

November 11, 1896- CO Beale Died.

1898 - Auxiliaries were employed for salvage watching duties.

1906 - The station on Vauxhall Road closed; the building however remained standing until 1980 and was used latterly as a tyre store

1911 - The Committee approved the purchase of two Dennis N Type Braidwood bodied motor traps one each for the North and Central stations.

1929 - Lt Col Lyon RA was promoted Chief Officer. The Corps adopted the red lanyard of the RA worn on the left shoulder of patrol dress tunics.

Chevrolet Tender, 1930.
Chevrolet Tender, 1930.
1930 - A second Chevrolet tender was purchased again the body from a Dennis was fitted.

December 21, 1937 - Two Dodge small tenders were delivered, both fitted with a tow bar so they could tow a trailer pump.

1938 - It was decided D Supt Houghton would perform the duties as Chief Clerk (uniformed) on a full time basis, his operational duties to be undertaken by a new A/Dep Supt.

August 31, 1939 - The Corps had formed close links with Liverpool’s Auxiliary Fire Service [AFS] , the CSO being their Commandant for a while. The 4 traps were fitted to tow trailer pumps

October 12 - The Special Firefighting detachment for the AFS was disbanded as it was recognised the Corps’ skills were best used for salvage duties

May 1941 - An delayed action bomb hit the roof of the Central Station at Hatton Garden and fell through killing several of those sheltering in the basement - DCSO Major Hodgson who had only taken up his duties the previous day, Supt Cooke and the wife and two children of Sm Allister killed and the Trap seriously damaged. A car was blown across Hatton Garden into the gates to the fire station yard resting with two of its wheels off the ground. The station collapsed and several of the salvage cottages were damaged. SM H A Jones who was helping to run out hose to fight a fire in Johnson St at the rear was also killed on this day.

1942 - The Centenary of the Corps was celebrated, it had just 11 pensioners

1946 - A Canadian built Chevrolet chassis was obtained as a permanent replacement, bodied by the Liverpool firm of Pearson’s.

1948 - The duty system was changed from 48 hours on / 24 off to 24 on  / 24 off requiring an increase in the establishment.

1958 - The practice of the Supts riding the machines ceased, a staff car was now provided

1960 - Derby Road station was demolished but the warehouse and drying rooms were retained, the Annual Inspection by the Lord Mayor in November was cancelled.
All appliances were now at North Street until new station was completed
and a two-way radio was adopted.

May 25, 1962 - A new four bay station opened by the Lord Mayor on the site of the old Derby Road North station. North Street closed after 21 years

1964 - Combs on Corps helmets were painted white, the Corps had for some time been known as the ‘Black hats’ from their black leather helmets.

1966 - K Gordon Smith was appointed Chief Officer.

1968 - In order to improve attendance times to the south of Liverpool a bay and accommodation etc was leased from the City in Mather Avenue fire station a Ford Transit tender was based there.

1974 - The term Damage Control Unit [DCU] was introduced to replace that of Salvage Tender or Trap.

1975 - Alfred Jones of Denbigh & Montgomeryshire Fire Brigade took over on K G Smith moving to become CO of the London Corps.

Salvage Corp, Derby Road, 1984.
Salvage Corp, Derby Road, 1984.
October 18, 1983 - Following the announcement by the BIA that all 3 Salvage Corps were to close, the last turnout took place from Mather Av and on the following day the DCU returned to Derby Rd.

March 30, 1984 - The Corps closed, officially however this did not take place until noon the following day.


1 He was to hire- in casual labour to assist in fire salvage work as required.

2The military Staff Officer for Liverpool, Captain J J Greig advised the Committee, he was offered a post but as he was still an Army officer their permission was required and this was refused. He was later appointed Head Constable.

3 Capt Greig later Head Constable was offered the position but the War Office, for whom he worked would not agree to his accepting another post.

4Jas Weir Capt & Adjutant Lancashire Militia, 37 Norton St in Gores

5It is believed Swainton worked for Shand Mason, Committee Minutes

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