1 Pump Retained.



1913 Council Store at Gas Entry
12/11/1942 to 15/5/1956 Charles Street, LANGHOLM.
15/5/1956 to Sept 1995 Albert Place, LANGHOLM. DG13 0AT.                                                               Photo
Sept 1995 to 11/10/1996 Temp Station Langholm Engineering, Drove Road, LANGHOLM
11/10/1996 to Albert Place, LANGHOLM. DG13 0AT.                                                               Photo


1959 Sub Officer M. Armstrong
1959 to 1990 Sub Officer John N F Reid (B.E.M.) (Awarded 1989)
1990 to 2001 Sub Officer Mick Ryan                   
2001 to Sub Officer William A Bell
2019 Watch Manager McCartney?



5/7/1871   "The Esk" Steam Fire Engine In service 42 years 
1913   A Barrow  
1939   Trailer Pump P
1963   Bedford Type B WrT received new
1964 XCS212 Bedford J5SZ3/HCB Angus Type B WrT received new
1980 SAG982J Bedford TK/HCB Angus WrT/L
1990 BSW646X Dodge G1313/Carmichael WrT/L
1992 D198SSW Dodge G13/Alexander WrT/L
1998 L612VSW Scania P93M-220/Emergency One FRT
2009 Y128WSM Volvo FL6H/Emergency One FRT
2020 July KY65OLT Volvo FL/Emergency One RP



<1871 Langholm Fire Brigade
1941 to 1948 National Fire Service
1948 to 1975 South Western Area Fire Brigade
1975 to 2005 Dumfries and Galloway Fire Brigade
2005 to 31/3/2013 Dumfries and Galloway Fire and Rescue Service
1/4/2013 Scottish Fire and Rescue Service




On the 5th July, 1871 the new steam fire engine arrived in Langholm. That evening, a huge bonfire which had been built on the Kilngreen was lit in the presence of a crowd of 2,000 persons. At a signal given by Mr. Dobie, the fire engine boiler was fired and in seven minutes steam was raised. Three minutes later the previous raging pile was reduced to a few blackened ashes.
“The Esk” – the name the engine received after its first trial – had the distinction of being the second fire engine in Scotland. A unique position of which the people of Langholm were justly proud.
(Jubilee Supplement to the 1972 Firemaster’s Report. Page 42.)

The Albert Place station was occupied 5/5/1956

In 1956 one of the first three DX call out systems was installed at Langholm.



Langholm Fire Station official opening, Friday, 11th October, 1996
Second town in Scotland to have its own fire engine


Langholm Fire Station
Official Opening
by Dennis Male
Dumfries and Galloway Council member for Langholm and Upper Eskdale
Friday, 11th October, 1996, 1300 hours.

<PHOTO> Dumfries and Galloway Fire Brigade – serving the Esk Valley from Langholm’s new fire station.
<PHOTO> Centre of page – Team briefing time in the new training room. Sub Divisional Officer Ian Anderson (centre left) and (on his left) Sub Officer Mick Ryan with Leading Firefighter Brent Thomlinson (third from right), Ally Bell, Roddy Jones, Steven Tweddle, Stuart Smith and Sandy Gill.
<PHOTO> The Esk – Langholm’s first fire engine, and second in Scotland, the Primary School can be seen in the background, for the station was then behind where the police houses are now in Albert Place.
The engine arrived in Langholm on 5th July, 1871 and remained in service for 42 years.
On 21st March, 1871 the ringing of the Town Hall bell give the alarm to the sleeping townsfolk that fire had broken out in the town.
It was the Rosevale Mill at the bottom of Laird’s Entry which was totally destroyed.
The Hall and Frater’s Factory was a large three storied building which had only recently been erected and within hours the fire, which had raged furiously, almost unhindered, had burned out and the fall of the west wall completed the destruction.


In five hours property assessed at the value of between £4,000 and £5,000 vanished before the eyes of the bewildered onlookers, with the bringing about of enforced loss of steady employment to a large number of workpeople
It was freely asserted at the time that had there been a fire engine in the town the factory might easily have been saved, for the new timbers were quite green and free from oil and the building was situated near the banks of the Esk with an abundance of water.
The E&L Advertiser of that week reported: “The devastating fire, which totally destroyed a large three storied woollen mill, was the means of rousing the inhabitants of Langholm to realise the imperative need of a fire engine.”
Within two weeks an advertisement appeared in the E&L, calling a public meeting of the inhabitants of the town “for the purpose of considering the question and, if resolved, adopting measures for providing a fire engine.”
The meeting in the Town Hall was well attended and it was unanimously decided to purchase a fire engine and a committee for this purpose was duly appointed.
On 5th July, 1871 the first steam fire engine arrived in Langholm and in the evening a huge bonfire which had been built on the Kilngreen was lit.
At a signal given by Hugh Dobie Esq the furnace was lighted and in about seven minutes the steam was raised. In three minutes the previous raging pile was reduced to a few blackened ashes.
The Esk, as the engine was named, had the distinction of being only the second fire engine in Scotland – a unique position of which the good folks of the Muckle Toon were justly proud.
In 1913 the Esk made its last appearance on the streets of Langholm drawn by a horse as it wended its way to the station.

First station

The very first station was only a hundred yards from the new station, although later the town’s engine was to be housed at Gas Entry and later at the Co-operative premises, where Farmcare now stands.
On 15th May, 1956 the Fire Authority purchased the site in Albert Place which was being used as an engineers’ workshop and had previously been a tannery.
Over the last 40 years there have been numerous alterations to accommodate the different types of appliances require to move with the times.
And the present fire engine was even adapted to fit into the station.
When it went for service and a relief engine was set to the town, the ladders had to be taken off in order to get the appliance in the station!
Before a turn-out the crew had to quickly refit the ladders before attending whatever the incident.
And, says Sub Officer Mick Ryan it was even necessary to carefully check the entrance and exit when new tyres were fitted which lifted the engine higher than it had previously been.
Finally the building could take no more adaptations and was last year demolished in preparation for the new station.
The changes are vast and the men are naturally delighted.
Says Sub Officer Mick Ryan: “Personally it gives me great encouragement. You are warmer, dryer and have the facilities to do the job.”
In addition to improving their comfort level – “You don’t have to worry about green mould on your cap any more” – there are better facilities for the equipment storage and drill and the appliance room itself is a vast improvement with electric doors, rather than the former manual ones, and hygienic tiling, making for easier cleaning down after an incident.
The office and training room are also a great morale booster for the men, who have been among the last in Dumfries and Galloway to enjoy the benefits of a new station and all that it entails.
Most of the equipment is already well up to standard – now all the men are hoping for sometime in the future is perhaps one of the new Scania engines – and thanks to the new station they know it will fit in.
(Eskdale & Liddesdale Advertiser, October 10, 1996. Page 11)


Langholm Fire Station official opening, Friday, 11th October, 1996
Proud record for town’s firefighters

<PHOTO> Langholm’s retained and auxiliary firefighters in the National Fire Service during the Second World War. From left (back) Jim Little, Dan Johnstone, Inglis Murray, Tommy Little, John Little, Jock Reid and Murray Hyslop; (front) John Jeffrey, Pat Friell, James Simmons, Matt Armstrong, David Elliot.
<PHOTO> In 1964 Langholm got a new fire engine.
Passer-by Watt Milligan takes time out at Bessie Bells to have a closer look at the new pump drill with water tender issued to Langholm in February, 1964. Leading Fireman David Elliot shows him the main points while other personnel at the rear are Auxiliary Jake Reid, and Retained fireman Walter Borthwick and Irving Davidson.
One of the most destructive fires in Langholm was that the Langholm Woollen Mills, owned by Reid and Taylor on 1st August, 1933.
Within two hours the whole mill (bottom) had been destroyed and neighbours were forced to evacuate their homes.
The adjacent skinyards was also threatened, but in the event suffered mainly water damage.
Water was in plentiful supply, the Esk being in flood at the time – a far cry from Langholm’s most recent major call out.
For in August last year it was shortage of water which was the problem and for some time the firefighters, who had been joined by crews from as far away as Newton Stewart, were forced to return to some of the oldest methods of firefighting – beating (pictured below right) – as they attempted in vain to keep the moorland fire above Langholm under control.
On this occasion, however, high-tech came to the rescue in the form of a helicopter brought in from Yorkshire (inset).
But firefighting is only part of the vital role played by the Langholm crew.


With the A7 trunk road running through the town they have to be firmly in touch with all methods of coping with traffic hazards, and on numerous occasions have to turn their pumps to taking away water rather than pouring it on, as the area has suffered from flooding.
No one has noticed the changes over the past years more than Jock Reid.
For Jock followed in his father‘s footsteps into the Brigade and between them they had 60 years’ service.
Father John joined before the war when volunteers worked alongside Town Council employees, manning the appliance. The Esk had been replaced by a barrow which had two great wheels and was pulled along by two men. It was kept in the Council store where the public toilets are now at Gas Entry.
At the outbreak of the Second World War the barrow was replaced with a trailer pump which was somewhat more mobile.
In those days the callout came with the sounding of the siren and a whole town would be alerted to the need for men to man the pumps.
In the early 80s personal alarms were introduced, although there were teething problems, admits Jock, who by the time had worked his way up to Sub Officer.
Thanks to other modern technology mobile phones keep the men in touch with their headquarters although Jock says it is not so long since he was forced to leave the crew to get to the nearest phone, somewhere in the wilds and later find open space to enable him to radio for additional help, for communications in the Eskdale Valley have taken some time to catch up with the rest of the world.
In spite of several major incidents, Langholm has been a lucky station, with no major accidents.
The most traumatic incident for many of today’s firefighters and for Jock was the Lockerbie disaster.
They were not turned out immediately, but went during the night and were horrified as the day dawned on the massive crater on which they were still playing water.
For Jock, however, it is an unspeakable incident, pushed to the back of his mind to be replaced by happier memories of his time in the service.

Good record

For the Muckle Town lads have a very good record of service, with a very low turnover.
It is, says Jock, the comradeship which has been enjoyable, as he remember some of the pranks they have played on each other at time.
Other retired Firefighters who will be at the new station tomorrow will include Irving Davidson who was able to retire at 65. Today the retirement age has been reduced to 55.
And while Jock would like to have been able to carry on longer you can at least heave a sigh of relief on Simmer Fair Night and the Common Riding.
As E flat bass in the Langholm Town Band he was always worried just what he would do with his instrument if the call out came during a parade.
Then the thinkable happened one Simmer Fair Night, but luck was on his side, for they were playing right outside the band room at the time and he was able to get someone to put the bass in for him as he dashed off to the station.
Jock tomorrow has the honour of unveiling a plaque to commemorative the men who have given their valuable service to the area and even beyond over the years.
(Eskdale & Liddesdale Advertiser, October 10, 1996. Page 12)


Langholm Fire Station official opening, Friday, 11th October, 1996
Better environment for Langholm’s firefighters

<PHOTOS> The old station nearly gone and Sub Officer Mick Ryan surveys the site, where today a bright up-to-date station stands.
The framework of the new station as it finally begins to take some shape… but there is still a fair way to go.
Langholm firefighters in their breathing apparatus on drill night. The new station now boasts a room specially for the life-saving equipment in which it can be housed and tested.
The tower is the one feature that has remained in place over the past year, although even that has seen some improvements with the installation of improved floodlighting.
Sub Officer Mick Ryan (seated) and Leading Fireman Brent Tomlinson at work in the new office.
With a huge variety of chemicals, many of which require different treatment and handling, it is crucial that the firefighters have the very best of facilities in which to draw for such eventualities, whether they be presented at a fire or road traffic accident spillage.
The new breathing apparatus and appliance rooms enable the local firefighters to get the very best of practical training.
Langholm’s firefighters could not have had a more dramatic time to move on from their old premises.
For the men had spent hours fighting the moorland fire high above the town. Their task on the hill must have seemed endless for the fire continued for several days, and when they returned to their old station they had the task of packing up and moving to their temporary premises on Drove Road.
But that particular incident must have spurred them on all the more to get into new premises, for the old ones didn’t have any shower facilities and even the toilets were across the yard.
For the last year, however, conditions were even worse as their appliance was temporarily housed with Langholm Engineering.
The Langholm retained firefighters meet every Tuesday evening to drill.
To date this year they have turned out to 44 incidents – one short of last year’s total – the most serious being a house fire in the town.
They cover a wide area from the English Borders up to Eskdalemuir, where they have back-up from a small auxiliary team.
With the new station opening tomorrow the Brigade is now planning an open day sometime in the near future to enable the public to see for themselves the excellent facilities provided in this £320,000 facility which has been built by Langholm firm Tom Grahams with additional sub contract work from other local firms and companies from further afield.
It has been built to a proven design and standard, similar in many respects to other stations in the Brigade.
(Eskdale & Liddesdale Advertiser, October 10, 1996. Page 13)



New Fire Station officially opened 

<PHOTOS> Firemaster Andrew Russell presents a plaque to Denis Male, picture with Ken Cameron, Sir Hector Monro and Jock Reid.
<PHOTO> Former Sub Officer Jock Reid presents his successor Mick Ryan with a plaque bearing the names of the current team who are looking on with Sub Divisional Officer Ian Anderson. From left Sandy Gill, Leading Fireman Brent Tomlinson, Stephen Tweedle, Kevin MacCartney, Colin Barnfather, Stuart Smith, Roddy Innes and Ally Bell.
<PHOTO> A family affair. Eskdalemuir volunteers who train at the station on a regular basis. Husband and wife Alan and Pamela McLean with her father Angus Hoggart
<PHOTO> One hundred and seventy years’ service among them – retired fireman Wattie Borthwick, Billy Ray, John Graham, Dennis Barker, John Haldane and Irving Stuart and in the foreground the oldest of them all Irving Davidson congratulated on his service by former Sub Officer Jock Reid.
Langholm’s £320,000 fire station was officially opened on Friday as the town’s firefighters past and present, along with their wives looked on.
Former firefighter and now Chairman of the Police, Fire and Public Protection Committee, Ken Cameron spoke of his pride in the Dumfries and Galloway Fire Service and of the men and women who were part of it.
He said it was very much thanks to MP Sir Hector Munro that the Brigade was still in existence, for it was he who had fought attempts to take it into Strathclyde.
He also introduced the new Chief Constable Willie Rae.
Former Sub Officer Jock Reid spoke of the close relationship that always existed between fire and police in the town, the latter on several occasions having been given the responsibility of looking after the appliance when work was being carried out on the old station to improve and extend it.


Councillor Dennis Male, who carried out the unveiling and official opening, also spoke of the improvements carried out over the years yet still it was only eight years ago that he had been horrified at the conditions under which local auxiliary crew were working, particularly the toilet block, which he said, anywhere else would have been condemned.
He praised former Firemaster Barry Stiff and Councillor Cameron for their efforts in putting together the program of improvements and new building throughout the region.
He and Sir Hector spoke of the impressive new training facilities which had been opened the previous day in conjunction with the ICI and of the dedication of the retained and volunteer fire crews at Langholm and Eskdalemuir.
Sir Hector said he had fought several battles to retain the Brigade, but he was proud of the fact that Dumfries and Galloway could boast first class Fire and Police services.
Firemaster Andrew Russell said the new station had been long overdue and thanked the Council for their support of the Brigade.
He presented commemorative plaques to Councillor Male and Mr Reid, who in turn had presented a plaque to the Stations current Sub Officer Mick Ryan bearing the names of the present team.
Among the retired fireman at the event was one of the oldest, Irving Davidson, who joined the brigade in 1949, retiring in 1978.
Now 83, Irving looked around the new station and noted that one of the biggest changes was in the equipment.
The most important strides had been in the introduction of breathing apparatus, which is now stored in a dedicated room.
When Irving joined the equipment was pretty basic with a glorified wagon and a rack for hoses and a trailer pump.
But there were fewer callouts during his time that there are nowadays.
The biggest fire he attended was that Milligan’s Hall (now Baird’s Auction Rooms) and he also recalls the fires at the Store Bakehouse and Westerhall, where the entire wing was destroyed.
(Eskdale & Liddesdale Advertiser, October 17, 1996. Page 3)





Official Opening: New Fire Station, Langholm

Langholm was the final part of a strategy to provide three new stations in the final three years of the Regional Council at a cost of £320k and provides much improved accommodation for the town’s retained personnel.
The old station which occupied this site at Albert Place was a converted workshop acquired in 1955 and adapted into a temporary single-bay station. These premises lacked many of the basic facilities required for a modern day fire service. Particularly notable was the absence of proper training facilities and the remote ablution block.
Work commenced in September 1995 at the existing site at Albert Place
and the new single-bay fire station was officially opened on Friday 11th October 1996 by Mr Denis R Male the Dumfries and Galloway Council member for Langholm and Upper Eskdale. The opening ceremony was well attended by Members, Officials, Guests and firefighters past and present along with their partners.
Following the opening ceremony, during which Mr K Cameron the Chairman of the Police, Fire and Public Protection Committee welcomed guests and Mr Male unveiled a commemorative plaque, the guests were shown around the station’s equipment and facilities.
I would take this opportunity to express on behalf of the Brigade my appreciation of the work done by all those who have been involved in this project and whose combined efforts have provided the Brigade and the people of Langholm with a modern, well designed station of which they can be justly proud.
Dumfries and Galloway Fire Brigade 1996/97 Annual Report. Page 14.)

Station occupied September 1966.



The South Western Fire Area Administration Scheme Order, 1948

  Equipment Retained
  1 Self propelled Pump 1 Leading Fireman
  1 Light Trailer pump 9 Firemen


The South Western Fire Area Administration Scheme Order, 1957

  Equipment Retained
  2 Pump Appliances 1 Sub Officer
    1 Leading Fireman
    8 Firemen


  Equipment Retained
  1 Water Tender Ladder 1 Sub Officer
    1 Leading Firefighter
    8 Firefighters

If you know of any mistakes in this or have any additional information please let me know.


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