Liverpool Fire Police 1834 - 1836

December 08, 1825 - The Special Vestry met to consider a Report from a Committee appointed under Joseph Langton following conferring with the Improvement Committee of the Corporation regarding forming a Fire Police. The Vestry then had custody of the fire engines and maintained them.

January 1826 - A meeting was held of the Improvement Commission in the Committee Room at the Town Hall.  It was agreed to recommend to the Council to erect the buildings suggested by Langton’s Committee.

January 26 - The Committee met and recommended the Commissioners accept Langton’s report namely that a Fire Police be formed with two fire stations one near the Exchange the other in the South. Each was to have accommodation for 20 ‘Working men’ [16 Firemen and four Carters], a house for the Foreman, a large cistern [30,000g], stabling for eight horses and space for four engines each, two reserves, along with a light carriage to carry buckets.

November 02 - A resolution was passed by the Common Council that an Act of Parliament be sought to allow the formation a Fire Police force
- Royal Assent was given to a private bill “An Act for widening and improving certain streets in the town of Liverpool in the County Palatine of Lancaster, for the further prevention of Nuisances and Annoyances in the said town, for the Regulation of Weighing Machines, Weights and Measures and for the establishment of a Fire Police therein”. Thereafter, however, no further action was taken.

January 1833 - After huge losses at a fire in warehouses on Lancelot’s Hey Lt Shipp, Supt of the Night Watch (established 1747) was asked to prepare a report on the formation of a Fire Police.

April 22 - Lt Gallemore was selected from 18 applicants to be the Sgt of the new Fire Police; Mr Rowlands was appointed Dep Sgt [later dismissed]. Mr McFadzen of the Commissioners of Scavengers was appointed in his place part time to keep records of payments @ £100 per annum (pa).
- The men forming the Fire Police were paid a retainer and were called in by a bell being rung and were required to drill weekly. For this each received the sum of 2s. Gallimore’s assistant, Mr Rowlands, was the only other full time member of staff. He was given the rank of Sergeant and received 15s per week.  In addition to payment for drilling the men received retainers of £3.3s.0d a year and the Deputy Sergeant £5.0s.0d, plus an hourly rate of between 6d and 1s.6d for attending fires.

The authorised strength was 45 men: comprised a full time Sargeant, Sgt and Deputy with the rest being retained comprising four Captain’s, four Branchmen and 35 Firemen.  As a back-up, 28 members of the Night Watch would act as fire auxiliaries.

A piece of land off Temple Court was selected as the site for a new and by the standards of the day, large fire engine station. The project was approved and building commenced. Men of various ranks and skills were recruited all bar one of these, however, would be employed on a part-time basis with each paid a retainer and then for each call answered.

The new with Headquarters and indeed the only fire station were at 2 Temple Place, situated between Temple Court and Harrington Street.  The building even had its own water cistern to supply the water carts.  The remainder of this small court was occupied by commercial concerns, with tea dealers at Nos 3 & 6, a merchant at No5 and a grocers and chemist at No 4. The new station was completed in April and housed six manual engines as well as four water carts, each carrying a ton of water.

May 16 - The Vestry withdrew its objections to the formation of a Fire Police force
- four new manual engines from Hollins of London and two escape ladders (30’ & 50’) were ordered

August - So it was that Liverpool established a fire police brigade although there was no connection to any Police force at this stage indeed the Police force had yet to be formed. For ]now those duties fell to the Watch.

September - Report that six engines were in use including two taken over from the Sun and Royal Exchange with one due from the Manchester, also four Water Carts.

Saturday, August 16 - The Fire Police under Supt Gallemore attended a fire at Clarke & Nixon, shipbuilders of Cornhill.

October 3 - The Commissioners of the Watch, Scavengers and Lamps reported on the Accounts for the 12 months to September 30. The income of the Fire Police was £1,467-19s-08d and expenditure £1,164-10s-0d including £400 on account for four new engines.

October 27 - The Norwich Union Fire Office engine was pulled by hand to a fire at Messrs Burley & Hunt, dry salters of Fleet Street. They extinguished the fire before the newly formed Fire Police engine arrived.

November 6 - The Norwich Union Fire Office engine attended a fire in Mesdames Stewart’s premises on Berry Street, again arriving before the Fire Police.

December 2 - The Norwich Union Fire Office engine attended a fire in Castle Mills, Chaucer Street again arriving before the Fire Police.

Crucially there was no agreement with the insurers towards the costs to be charged for attending fires, so that wear and tear and expenses could be recovered rather than just the basic cost of the Fire Police.

January 1836 - A fireman was sacked for misconduct at a fire in December 1835 at Foster & Stewarts shop and stables, Lawton Street the Fire Police's 26th and final fire.

February 9 - The new Borough Police force stood up under Head Constable Whitty.

It now became public that as well as overcharging Gallimore had charged for the hire of horses to pull the engines when in fact none had been use. He reasoned that if the men pulled the appliances that they should at least be rewarded up to the amount that the horses would have cos., The Committee did not agree. It also transpired that on occasions one of the retained fire police had supplied horses, this practice was now banned.

The fire police had previously had only one man dismissed.  Matters however now gathered pace apace and on March 11,1835, 13 were sacked, with immediate effect for various offences, leaving just 30 retained men to provide cover for the borough. It was clear that, under Gallimore, there had been excessive expenditure, yet there does not seem to have been any embezzlement or personal gain by him. 

The Commissioners eventually drew up an agreement with Mr Brown, who represented the Insurance Offices. This included a scale of charges to be applied not only to the offices who subscribed but also those offices who chose not to contribute to a reformed fire police. Gallimore was heavily criticised and was formally dismissed along with Rowlands. It was decided that, in future, the ‘Fire Police’ would come under the newly formed Borough Police Force.

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