Old Photographs: Fire Brigade

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Bradford Waterworks opening 1883Bradford’s volunteer firemen turned out for the opening of Bradford Waterworks in 1883, formed part of a procession and demonstrated that the new water supply had enough pressure for them to direct jets from their hoses over buildings. The photograph was taken on the following day, because of heavy rain.

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Bradford Fire Brigade Here the brigade members are having a group photograph in the garden of Prospect House, Frome Road. Some are holding hydrants, hoses and nozzles and each man has a lamp and length of rope on his belt.

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Fire Brigade with ladder and pumpThese seem to be the same men and the photograph, now behind the Town Hall, may have been taken at the same time. They are seen with a long extending ladder on wheels and a horse-drawn engine incorporating a hand pump.

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Bradford Fire Brigade officersThe officers of Bradford Fire Brigade in a studio photograph.

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Bradford Fire Brigade 1897The members of Bradford’s fire brigade in 1897; probably a photograph for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. They are wearing odd flat-topped hats as part of their uniform and are demonstating their equipment.

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Bradford Fire Brigade outing 1914Here the volunteer firemen and others are seen on an outing by four-horse charabanc, outside The Green Dragon public house in Market Lavington, about as far as such a vehicle could go in a day, leaving time for a beer or two and lunch. The occasion was in the summer of 1914, not long before the Great War broke out.

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Kingston Mill Fire Brigade, Market Lavington 1902Another photograph taken outside the Green Dragon has come to light in Market Lavington Museum’s collection. The picture of the men and their horse-drawn charabanc bears the title “Bradford on Avon Kingston Mill Fire Brigade”, referring to the brigade that was based at the George Spencer, Moulton & Co rubber works. It has been dated to 1902. The tradition of the firemen’s outing continued to the end of rubber production in the 1990s.

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Bradford Fire Brigade, Carnival 1930s The 40 horse-power Martin fire engine and its crew taking part in a parade in St Margaret’s Street in the 1930s; the occasion may have been a celebration for the Silver Jubilee of King George V in 1935, or for the Coronation of King George VI in 1937. The motor fire engine had been purchased in 1925.

 

.Fire Brigade, 1930s paradeThis photograph may be from the same occasion as the previous one. The men and the fire engine are lined up outside the Three Horse Shoes public house in Frome Road prior to marching down St Margaret’s Street and across the Town Bridge.

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Bradford Fire Brigade funeral 1935In 1935 Deputy Commanding Officer Herbert E. Long retired with bad health and he died in the same year. The photograph shows his funeral procession in St Margaret’s Street, with his coffin carried on the Martin fire engine, accompanied by firemen from Bradford and neighbouring towns.

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National Fire Service, 1940sDuring the Second World War a National Fire Service operated all over the country. Here Bradford’s branch of the fire service are toasting the forthcoming marriage of members Nancy Tiley and Stan Green outside the Alexander Cinema (now St Margaret’s Hall). The wedding took place on 31st December 1944. The National Service was disbanded at the end of 1947.

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Bradford UDC fire engine 1937-8A Dennis Light Four fire engine was purchased by Bradford UDC in 1937. It was used during World War 2 by the National Service and in 1947 became part of the Wiltshire County Brigade. Eventually it was replaced and went to serve in a factory fire service. It was then bought by an enthusiast, but the intended restoration was never carried out.

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Wiltshire Fire Service, Bradford Brigade 1947After the war fire brigades were de-nationalised and were organised under the County Councils, officially beginning on 1st January 1948. Bradford’s continued to be crewed by volunteers, as it is today. Here Dick Dobson is seen with the Dennis fire engine, with Willson Moore at the wheel, in 1947. The fire station was one of the buildings opposite St Margaret’s Hall that were demolished in the early 1960s.

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Fire engine, 1949 Bradford CarnivalThe same fire engine and crew taking part in the Bradford on Avon Carnival in St Margaret’s Street in August 1949. They are following the coach of the Carnival Queen and standards of the British Legion.

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