Southport Fire Brigade History

1845 Sep 28 - Claremont House on the Promenade caught fire, at this time there was no fire engine in Southport. A messenger was sent on horseback to Ormskirk to request their engines attend; he arrived there within 23 minutes. The engines then arrived 1 hr and 40 mins after the messenger had been despatched.1

1851 - ‘There was still no fire engine within 9 miles of the expanding town of Southport.’2

1862 - A decision was made to order a 350gpm Horse Drawn [HD] manual engine manufactured by a Mr Hall of Oldham3, to be manned by a new fire brigade made up from men employed by the Commissioners.4

Oct 18 Sat - The new engine was tested under the supervision of Mr Barrett, the Supt of the West of England FB, in Liverpool, in the presence of several the Commissioners at the Town Hall. Barrett offered to drill the new brigade once it was formed.

Steamer Clinning, Birkdale, 1904.
Steamer Clinning, Birkdale, 1904.
1870 Apr 06 - The strength of the FB was 5 men, part time and drilling just once per month - Heyes, Thos Johnson, William Johnson, Parkinson and Lawrence Abraham who was also the Bellman.5

May - A Borough Police force was formed taking over from Lancashire Constabulary, the Head Constable was made responsible for supervising the fire brigade.

1874 - By now the Brigade came under the Watch Committee [WC]

July 14 - WC resolved that a telescopic escape be purchased for £48

1875 - The Borough expanded to take-in Churchtown, Crossens and High Park.

1876 - Oct 27 - WC approved that the use of the 2 stall stable at Tulketh St could be allowed to Blackledge & Higgin in return for their finding 2 horses to be used as required by the fire brigade.

1877 July 10 - WC resolved that the (Southport) Carriage Co be allowed the use of the 2 stalled stables in Tulketh St free of charge. They engaging to find 2 horses to be used, if and when required by the brigade

1879 - Reel cart for Churchtown delivered

1885 July 15 - WC approved a payment of £469-15s-6d to Merryweather and Son for the new Steamer now delivered.

1886 Sep 15 Wed - A Meeting of the Council took place to receive a report on a fire at Peter Johnson’s drapers shop in Cambridge Arcade on Sat 11th Sep. The report was addressed to the Head Constable from Inspector Bothwell. It was severely critical of the Brigade’s conduct.  Firemen Jackson and Rimmer were drunk when they attended; one even turned a fire hose on the crowd who had booed the brigade. The firemen refused to take any notice of instructions from Police Inspector Bothwell as he had no jurisdictions over the Brigade. Sgt Johnson arrived but was of little use. The fire brigade were found to be demoralised and the Head Constable, who was in overall control and who was absent on holiday had failed to make arrangements for anyone to stand-in for him. It was resolved the matter be referred to the General Purposes Committee.

1887 - A Police Inspector was appointed the Dep Supt replacing the civilian Sgt after the serious problems experienced with drunkenness and ill discipline with the Brigade.

1889 Nov 13 - WC approved payment of £20 to the Health Dept for horsing the fire engine

1891 Apr - WC resolved the old engine [the 29 year old manual] be converted into a Hose van and tender for the steamer

Steamer Diamond, Cambridge Hall.
Steamer Diamond, Cambridge Hall.
1894 Jan 18 - Letter to the WC from the Rev W T Bulpit applying for a hose cart to be stationed in Crossens.

1895 Aug 29 - WC approved an agreement with William Marriner of the Railway Hotel to horse the fire engine and provide a spare horse for £50pa.

1900 Jan 25 - W&HC approved a payment of £10-11-06d to John Parkinson for repairs to the fire engine.

Mar 08 - Churchtown FB had completed their monthly practice in their own time 1-2pm on Feb 27, to be paid at the same rate as the firemen at Central

June 14 - WC accepted a tender from J G McCann for £385 for a horse drawn  chemical fire engine. Application was to be sought from the Local Government Board for permission to borrow £400

1908 Jan 30 - WC agreed the new horse drawn ambulance could be stored at the fire station. This was manufactured by Wilson & Stockall of Bury and cost £116-10s-0d.

May 28 - CO of the Liverpool PFB asked to report on the condition of the appliances & Merryweather’s to quote for a new boiler and firebox for the steamer.

1909 Aug - WC asked the HC to report on the arrangements for the provision of fire appliances in High Park

Oct 19 - WC approved a Reel Cart with hose & standpipes to be provided for High Park, unclear if this was actioned

Nov 11 - It was proposed 5 sub-stations be closed and the appliances sold or moved to Tulketh St Yard. The Inspectors at Churchtown, Hart St & Sefton St would no longer receive the £4 annual fire duties allowance. 5 escapes / Hose Carts to be sold all to fund the cost of the new ChE which it was estimated would still cost a net £10 pa extra.

1910 Jan 11 - WC decided that in future the sub-stations at Hart St, Churchtown, Sefton St would now have extinguishers only. Crossens and Marshside would remain open.

Jne 14 - WC approved a quotation from Dennis Bros for the supply of a motor chemical engine escape for £875

1911 - Birkdale was incorporated into Southport
Apr 04 - WC approved the motor engine was to be allowed to attend fires at the Ordnance Depot at Burscough in return for an annual payment of £5.

1913 Sep - A second motor appliance a Leyland was delivered

1915 June 03 - WC approved the Reel Cart kept at Alderman Duerdin’s premises in Ainsdale to be transferred to Ainsdale Police station & that Sgt Forbes there was to receive the usual allowances

1919 Feb 20 - WC agreed that Hart St, Churchtown, Sefton St and Marshside sub-stations were to close and the services of the firemen  allocated there dispensed with

1932 - Strength now 5 full time & 8 part time men all Police officers.

1933 - Tulketh St was re-modelled; a loan of £6,160-3s-0d was sought from the Ministry of Health.

1934 May 24 - The remodelled station was officially opened by Councillor Wilkinson, strength now 20 personnel

1938 - The site of a house ‘The Woodlands’ was acquired for a new Police, Fire station and Courts.

Aug 18 - WC resolved the tender from Dennis Bros for an 800/1000 gpm motor engine at a cost of £1,600 be accepted subject to an application to the Ministry of Health for sanction to borrow this sum.

1939 Jan 06 - WC approved estimates of £109,366-10s-0d from Tysons (Contractors) for the new fire station and £1,600 for a new fire appliance

Feb 22 - HC announced a plan for a separate fire brigade at the new Woodlands site comprising 19 full time Fm & 6 part time personnel.

Apr 20 - Dennis Big 6 motor pump delivered.

Sep 02 - On the outbreak of war the Council confirmed their intention to change to a professional FB separate from the Police.
Sep 21 - Chief Constable reported that on Sep 01 the 19 part time Police firemen had been transferred to whole time duties.

1940 July 01 - The new Central fire station on Manchester Rd was now operational and a regular full time brigade with an establishment of 19  - just 15 staff, for now all ex Police. The married men were allocated the 14 new brigade dwellings built next to the station. 4 vacancies so 2 policemen to work part time ‘for now’ the Chief Constable M J Egan and  A Brooke.

1941 Aug 18 - The new station, passed to the NFS for the duration along with use of a section of the yard.

1948 Apr 01 - The establishment of the new County Borough Brigade was 52+16 retained.

1950 Oct 28 - RSPLFF medal awarded to StnO Hoyle for a rescue.

1956 Nov 08 18.25 hrs - Fm Maurice Evans of 216 Duke St was killed when the 85’ TL he was on in the station yard broke during a water tower drill for the visit of HMI Thomas. He died 2 hours later in hospital. Evans who was aged 30 had joined the brigade in 1951. The ladder had a history of twisting and had gone to the LFB Workshops for repair. On that morning winds of 40mph were recorded, while these dropped to 30 mph by the early evening they remained above the level recommended in the FS Drill Book for ladders to be used for drills. Evans landed on the TL bodywork he had been climbing up the ladder when water on was ordered and so was not hooked on, he fell from 60’.

Manchester Road, 1974.
Manchester Road, 1974.
1968 - Strength 49+5 retained, also 19 men for ambulance duties, Southport was the only remaining combined Fire & Ambulance Service in the UK

1974 Mar 31 - CFO Perkins who had held the post since 1948 retired, the following day Southport became station N7 of the new Merseyside County FB.

1 Newspaper report

2 Newspaper report

3 Bootle FB also had a Hall engine

4 J Robertson incorrectly reports this as a steam engine

5 Corporation Minutes

6 Dr George Pilkington was elected as the Borough’s first MP this year

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