History of Bootle Fire Brigade

1870 - Bootle cum Linacre Council purchased a hand-drawn reel cart & a ‘fly’ escape; these were kept at the Lancashire Constabulary station on Stanley Rd. An Insp & 6 PCs were trained as auxiliary firemen after a request to the Chief Constable Col Bruce, by the Council.

1873 July - The Town Clerk of Bootle wrote to Liverpool’s WC asking that an engine be sent if a fire occurred in Bootle. This was approved on 12 Aug after Bootle agreed to repair defective water mains and carry out other works

1874c - A 50-year lease was taken on a piece of land on Strand Rd as the site for a Police court and a shed which was the Borough’s first fire station
- A manual engine named ‘Pioneer’ was purchased from Hall’s of Oldham, painted blue & vermillion.

1882 - Liverpool PFB Auxiliary Station paid for by the Mersey Docks & Harbour Board opened at Langton Dock, Bootle.

1883 - 1st steam fire engine named ‘’Ibbs’ purchased from Merryweather & Son, 400gpm, this along with the manual engine, 3 hand drawn escapes & reel cart it was kept in a rented shed on the lower part of Strand Rd. Injury insurance cover was arranged.
Fire cover was from now provided until 1892, for Litherland.

1885 July 06 - A Council sub-committee met to consider arrangements improving the fire brigade by now there were 8 policemen trained in fire duties
Aug 05 - Report from a deputation sent to look at the fire brigades in Burnley and St Helens received. 22 men from the Surveyors Dpt had indicated they were willing to join the new brigade. It was resolved to form a retained fire brigade with 14 members
Dec 01 - Report to Council, 39 years of the lease remained on land owned by Lord Derby’s estate leased on Strand Rd which was the site of the Police courts and the temporary fire station. Plans were drawn-up for a new 2-bay station on this site with accommodation for the Captain and stabling for horses. In addition the adjoining cottage was to be purchased for either the Engineer or stableman. The total cost was estimated at £1,600.

1886 Jan 25 - The first Captain , later called Chief Officer, George Parker took up his post, his temporary residence was at 21 Rimrose Rd rented by the Borough for £25 pa. Parker suggested several amendments to the plans including widening the entrance to the yard to allow wheeled escapes to be accommodated within.

Feb 15 - A professional brigade was formed, 1 Supt, 1 Engineer & 1 Fm full time. There were also 23 Auxiliaries: 2 engineers, 1 sub-engineer, 19 Fm and a Waterman. Scale of pay for the retained men was 2/6d for attending drills, 3/6d for attending a fire plus 3/ for the first hour and 1/- each hour after. There was a 1/- bonus for the first 8 men to turn out. Fire watching duties paid 7d per hour and attending alarms where the brigades services were not required 1/-. In addition persons giving first notice of fires received 1/-.

The steamer and the manual were now housed in the temporary station whilst the new one was built.

July - Liverpool’s Town Clerk wrote stating that a Water Turncock had been appointed for Bootle and that he had found lodgings with a fireman. It was suggested that Bootle pay the Turncock whenever he turned out to a fire, this was agreed.
There were now 4 houses on Campbell St and 7 on Summerseat to house the firemen.

Steamer - adverse report re the boiler received from insurers was rejected and another company was to be asked to inspect and quote for explosion cover
Manual - defective and in need of repair.
Escape No1 - minor repairs required.
Escape No 2 - In poor condition and needs complete renovation. The Committee agreed to invite tenders for the required work.
Sep - The Council resolved to set up its own Police force.

1887 Feb 18 Fri - The 2-bay station was opened at 16 Strand Rd. Bootle The stores, hose repair shops etc were in a building in the rear yard formerly used as part of a Police Court. Fire cover was also provided for Walton UDC & Litherland UDC 

The HD Steamer ‘Bootle’ was renamed ‘IBBS’ after a Councillor
Mar 25 - 43 calls in the past year

1888 May 13 - Asst Engineer Johnson was badly injured by a kick to the head from a horse

July 07 - New Merryweather steamer purchased named ‘Clemmey’ and the first steamer re-named Ibbs both members of the Watch Committee, Clemmy was  tested at Hornby Dock under Engineer Harper.

Horse drawn [HD] Hose tender, a 50’ telescopic escape and a Reel Cart with escape were purchased along with 4 horses. The reel cart escape was set up outside the South Recreation ground on Stanley Rd manned day and night by a fireman
Manpower now 12 full time: Supt, 2 Engineers, 1 Assistant Engineer,4 Fm and 4 probationers with 16 Auxiliaries: 1 Engineer, 14 Fm, 1 Waterman

1889 - Supt Parkers salary was increased to £130 pa and it was resolved not to charge ratepayers for the services of the brigade except Insurance companies and ship owners.

Mar - CO’s 3rd Annual Report, 47 fires attended in the year including 4 outside the Borough and 6 false alarms. One life was lost. Brigade kept 4 horses

May 13 Fri - Mr R A Matheson handed over a HD ambulance for use by the brigade

1890 Oct - 8 fires and 59 ambulance calls in the month. Fireman’s houses on Summerseat and Campbell St said to be unfit and it was proposed to try and obtain tenancies on properties on Ivanhoe Rd.

Bootle, 1895.
Bootle, 1895.
1891 - The 4 horses had all been suffering from ‘pink eye’ all had now recovered

May - The houses on Summerseat and Campbell St had been inspected by the Medical Officer of Health and on his recommendation had been fitted with WC’s in lieu of privies the firemen were ordered to move back into 1-15 and 12-20 and to be asked to resign if they refused.

Aug - PC’s assisting at fires to be paid 6d per hour if off duty or 3d per hour on duty

Sep - Two fire stations to be built on the dock estate to be used by the brigade and the

1892 - Feb 10 - The Council approved an increase in Supt Parker’s salary to £180pa

July 13 - New Supt, selected, Engineer Roberts to take up his duties 01 August

July 29 - A major fire in Ralli Bros 7-storey warehouse on Effingham St. whilst damping down in the evening a wall collapsed an escape turned over and 10 men injured. Fm Robert Irvine later did of his injuries. Damage amounted to £30,000; the Council had taken out injury Insurance cover for its firemen only 3 months before for £500 each with the Imperial Union Accident. Fm Paton injured.

1893 - Horse ‘Jack’ suffering from rheumatism and the Supt was authorised to hire-in a horse.

Mar - Order placed with Merryweather’s for a new steamer.

July - 2nd Merryweather steamer delivered named ‘Platts’, 1,000gpm cost £598

Bootle, Strand Road, 1897.
Bootle, Strand Road, 1897.
1896 - 27 Fire alarms in the District

1899 - A 3rd Merryweather steamer named ‘Cain’ delivered, 450gpm, cost £398

1901 Oct 10 - Contract signed for the new 6-bay Strand Rd fire station £24,750, the land having cost £7,000.

1904 Apr 13 - Strand Rd fire station was formally opened by the Mayor Mr J J Metcalf, having cost £32,000. The accommodation included houses for the Chief and Deputy Chief Officers and their families as well as the 2 Station Officers houses, with 9 cubicles for single firemen were sited with a recreation room over the engine house and flats on Irlam Rd and Pacific Rd were also provided.

1915 - 1st Motor appliance delivered, Merryweather Aster, cost £1,257 named ‘Ashcroft’, it had a 450gpm Hadfield reciprocating pump
Nov - Collins retired, he was replaced by 2/O Cole

1918 - Further agreement to provide cover for Litherland UDC

1919 - 2nd motor delivered a Leyland FE named ‘Eachus’ cost £1,285,

1920 - A Commercar chassis was purchased to replace the AEC at a cost of £1,050 and the body from the AEC fitted

1925 - A 350gpm Dennis Tamini trailer pump was purchased named ‘Bellamey’, cost £450

1926 - CO Cole retired
Nov - 2/O Monk was promoted CO

Bootle, Strand Road, 1928.
Bootle, Strand Road, 1928.
1927 Jan 30 - CO Monk was killed at a warehouse fire on Pacific Rd.

1929 - A 3rd motor pump was purchased from Dennis Bros with a 750gpm pump, cost £1,450 named ‘Webster’

1935 - A Leyland FK motor with a Gwynne 500gpm pump was delivered

1941 - The station was hit by a bomb and the Chief Officers house was destroyed.

1951 - A 4-bBay ex wartime utility station on Park LANE was re-opened to improve attendance time in Netherton, it housed a pump and  crews were rotated from Strand Rd every fortnight.

1952 Nov - Work on a new 2-bay section commenced at Strand Rd, site of the blitzed Chief Officers House, included new washrooms.

Bootle, Strand Road, 1956.
Bootle, Strand Road, 1956.
1953 Mar - The building works to extend Strand Rd were completed at a cost of £15,000. The bombed site of the CFO house was now a sound proofed Watchroom and 2 new bays.

1973 - The Fire Service Committee approved a plan to build a replacement District station at Almonds Turn, Sefton Estate. This was eventually built by Merseyside County FB as Bootle-Netherton replacing both Strand Rd and Park La.

1974 Mar 31 - The Brigade ceased to exist at midnight becoming part of the new Merseyside County.

1The Fireman

About Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service Heritage and Education Centre


Merseyside has a 180-year proud tradition of firefighting and has often been at the forefront of innovation and new technology during that time.

The service has memorabilia, machines and equipment from generations of firefighting and one of the largest photographic archives of any UK fire and rescue service including more than 80,000 digitised files and pictures. Why not visit our Heritage and Education Centre.

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The Heritage Centre is open to the Public Monday to Friday between 10.00 and 15.00.

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The Heritage and Education centre is located at; Bridle Road, Bootle, L30 4YD