B7 STRANRAER

2 Pump Retained.

Stations

1879 to Old Town Hall
1948 to 1960 Ashwood Drive, STRANRAER.
22/9/1960 to Lewis Street, STRANRAER. DG9 7AQ.               Photo

Lewis Street was occupied 19/7/1960 and Officially Opened on 22/9/1960. Ashwood Drive was vacated on 6/8/1960.

Firemasters

? to 1923 Firemaster Henry McPeak
1948 to 1966 Station Officer Douglas McPeak
? to 1990 Station Officer John McL Herron
1990 to ? Sub Officer Andy McCrorie
? to ? Watch Manager Andy McCrorie

 Station Officers were in charge of Retained stations but this was changed to Sub Officers in ?

Appliances

? to 1938   Manual Pump  
1938 to ?   Motor Pump  
1957 KSD98 Dennis F25/Dennis Type B WrT received new
1961 RCS724 4x4 Redwing Land Rover 108 HrT received new

 

  First Second
1980 OCS541H TSD402N
1984 VSM823V ESM821Y
1985 A954HSW A955HSW
1992 A955HSW B868LSW
1998 K54TSM R431RSW
2001 R430RSW R431RSW
2012 SK07EKY R431RSW
2014 SF14KGG R431RSW
2016 SF14KGG SF53GWC

 

OCS451H Bedford TK/Sun Fire Engineering Company  
TSD402N Bedford TK Jag 4.2/HCB Angus  
VSM823V    
ESM821Y    
A954HSW Dodge G12c/Mountain Range WrL
A955HSW Dodge G12c/Mountain Range WrL
B868LSW Dodge G12c/Mountain Range WrL
K54TSM Scania 93M-210/Emergency One FRT
R430RSW Scania 94D-220/Emergency One FRT
R431RSW Scania 94D-220/Emergency One FRT
SK07EKY Volvo FM9/GB Fire/Magirus Multistar (ex Central Scotland FRS) ART
SF53GWC Volvo FL6H-220/Emergency One FRT
SF14KGG Scania P280/Emergency One RP

Brigades

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

Notes

In 1938 Stranraer bought a Motor Pump to replace the Town's Manual.

The Lewis Street station was occupied on 19/7/1960 and officially opened on 22/9/1960.

Up until 1988 the Officer in Charge of a two pump retained station was a Station Officer. After 1988 anyone who became the Officer in Charge had the rank of Sub Officer. Station Officer John Herron was the last Retained Station Officer in Dumfries and Galloway Fire Brigade.

 

The South Western Fire Area Administration Scheme Order, 1948

  Equipment Retained
  2 Self propelled Pumps 1 Company Officer
  1 Large Trailer pump 1 Section Leader
  1 Light Trailer pump 2 Leading Firemen
  1 Towing Vehicle 17 Firemen

 

The South Western Fire Area Administration Scheme Order, 1957

  Equipment Retained
  4 Pump Appliances 1 Station Officer
    1 Sub Officer
    2 Leading Firemen
    16 Firemen

 

2000

  Equipment Retained
  2 Water Tender Ladders 1 Sub Officer
    2 Leading Firefighters
    17 Firefighters

 

STRANRAER FIRE BRIGADE

Fire was always a hazard in the town in the early days, but it was not until 1878 that the council seriously considered setting up a voluntary brigade. In the following year a suitable fire engine was obtained and stored in the Old Town Hall in what had been the former exchange or market.
A raging fire in the Reformatory in 1878 found the hoses inadequate and the water supply insufficient. Workshops were destroyed and the houses opposite were threatened.
Among the first volunteers for the service was Mr Henry McPeak who gave over 40 years’ service to the brigade as did his two sons, John and Douglas, and the latter, like his father, became Officer in Charge of the Stranraer Station.
Bellevilla House, then occupied by Peter McClean, Duchra, was burned, fortunately not seriously in 1880, in a year of outbreaks which included a warehouse in Bridge Street and Meikle’s Hotel in George Street, and following a fire in a bakery in Castle Street, the firemen, a voluntary body, started to practice. Considerable damage was done to Sheuchan Mill and the Academy in 1894.
Additional hydrants and a four wheeled manual fire engine were purchased in 1905. Mr Wm. Downie was appointed firemaster at a salary of £5 per annum. The brigade was still accommodated in the store under the Old Town Hall. A serious outbreak in 1913 in the King’s Arms Hotel, Stranraer, tested the equipment which was found wanting and again a fire at the Greenvale Laundry in Greenvale Street showed the inadequacy of the preventative measures.
The council committee examined one of the places which had been burned and another which had been so much damaged as to be a danger. The owner of the damaged property, John Hood, was hard to convince so the committee gave him “a few shillings so that he could get it sorted himself.”
A new convener, in 1928, elected to test the efficiency of the Brigade and staged a practice in a house in West End. When the engine and apparatus arrived, however, the men were so exhausted by the haul that the convener decided the “fire” was out of control and suggested that the town and county get together and purchase a mobile unit.
An unsuccessful attempt was made in 1937 to have the brigade housed in more suitable premises but all that transpired was the purchase of a new tender and in 1939 the two councils came to an agreement that the Stranraer Brigade would attend outbreaks in the landward area of the Rhins as well as in the town; this was not an agreement reached without some dissentients. The brigade had moved to Ashwood Drive.
Subsequently more up to date equipment was purchased by the Joint Fire Brigade Committee when, in 1957 all firefighting equipment came under regions, though when the firemen moved to their new premises in Lewis Street, formerly the old jail and police station, in 1960, they were still a voluntary body.
(From History of Stranraer  by Stranraer & Dist. Local History Trust.  Pages 69 & 70.)

 

Fire Station Opened at Stranraer
On Site of Former Jail and Police Buildings
 

 <PHOTO> Firemen giving an exhibition at the Drill Tower after the opening
Stranraer’s first permanent fire station was opened on Thursday by Mr David McHarg, Kirkland, County Council representative on the South Western Fire Area Joint Board. The station, built at a cost of £23,000, replaces the temporary building erected by the National Fire Service at Ashwood Drive during the war.
Situated on the site of the old county jail and former police headquarters, the premises are planned on the most modern lines.
During the official opening ceremony, which was attended by upwards of a hundred people, a number of whom were connected with the Joint Fire Service district which extends from the Kilmarnock headquarters through the counties of Ayr, Dumfries, Kirkcudbright and Wigton, several references were made to the long association of the McPeak family of Stranraer.
Provost W. S. Lanham, chairman of the board presided and welcomed the company, among whom was Provost R. F. Caughie, Stranraer, to whom the chairman extended good wishes for his future as civic chief.

Public Enemy Number Three

Provost Lanham said the interest shown in the new station augured well for its future in Stranraer. Its provision marked another milestone in the history and progress of the fire service in Scotland, and in particular, in the South-west area.
It was an important day for the people of the burgh for there was now in their midst some of the latest fire fighting equipment, suitably housed and efficiently manned which could effectively deal with any outbreak in the district.
Fire was public enemy number three. Crime and juvenile delinquency and the measures taken to try and combat these evils were well known. The traffic problem and the trials and tribulations of those who used the highways, were matters with which everyone was conversant, but little in comparison was heard of the terrible devastation caused by fire. Yet last year nearly a thousand people died as a result of fire. Many more thousands were injured.
Damage to property in Great Britain amounted to £44,000,000, compared to £29,000,000 in 1958 when a record figure was suffered. Already, for the first quarter of this year, £20,000,000 worth of damage had been caused by fire. The terrible waste of life was to be deplored and few could appreciate the suffering of those who were injured by fire, or who lost their belongings or life savings through the property destroyed.
Though no doubt, much of the £44,000,000,worth of damage caused was recoverable from insurance, it was a fantastic loss to the national revenue.

War Time Changes

That was the background of the fire service. They would appreciate therefore the importance of the task of bringing their fire fighting services up to date to combat this evil. Prior to the last war there was operated in the country a thousand different fire brigades under the control of a similar number of fire authorities. Many of these were reliable and very efficient. During the period of the war for the purposes of dealing with the unusual circumstances, the Government took over complete control. They all recalled with pride the contribution made to final victory by the National Fire Service. (Applause.)
After the war, the Government undertook to return to local authorities, the fire service and set up various regions in the country to administer the service. One of these was the South West Area Joint Board of which he had the honour to be chairman. The looked after the matter of the fire extinguishment and prevention in the counties of Ayr, Wigton, Dumfries and the Stewartry, and included the three large burghs of Ayr, Kilmarnock and Dumfries. The board took over in 1948 and found there was a great deal to do and a great deal of money was to be spent.
New premises were needed, up to date equipment had to be provided, and suitable personnel had to be recruited. They had done their job to the best of their ability and when they looked at the new station and the unit which would operate it, he felt sure they would agree their forces were well disposed, well deployed and well equipped, and capably manned. They felt they were able to cope with and outbreak in the South West district

McPeak Family’s Service

He has been interested to read in the local newspaper recently the long history of the fire service in Stranraer and particularly of the very fine service rendered by the McPeak family. (Applause.) That service which was very much appreciated was being carried on by Mr Douglas McPeak, their Station Officer and his brother. (Applause.)
There might be a question in some minds of the necessity for such a station in Stranraer where, after all, there were fortunately no big fires. But there had been 66 calls on the Brigade during the last year, an average of more than one a week, so there was a very real need for the fire service of outstanding quality in their area. (Applause.)
As in many other spheres of modern life, prevention was better than cure, with regard to fire. Fire was a preventable hazard – it was not an act of God. It was caused in many cases through ignorance and in many others through neglect and carelessness.
Members of the fire service were at their command to give advice on fire prevention. That advice was open to all, particularly to the housewife, because 75 per cent of fires occurred in the home.
When they considered the opening ceremony of the new station, they had unanimously agreed that the most suitable person to carry out that honour was Mr David McHarg, their local representative. Mr McHarg had been a member of the board since its inception and had given willingly of his time and advice and experience and no one was more suited to carry out that function. (Applause.)

Universal Menace

Mr McHarg said during the course of human history fire had ranked as one of the greatest destructive forces with which man had to contend. Not only was it a universal menace today, threatening and destroying life and property alike, but the nightmare possibility of hurricane fires in this atomic age could not be overlooked or underestimated.
Each year the national fire loss figure continued to rise: they had heard the astronomical total it had reached last year. Though the financial aspect of the picture was serious, there was a worse side – the human aspect. The terrible toll in Scotland each year, amounted to a hundred people. The suffering of those rendered homeless could not even be imagined.
The members of the South Western Fire Area Joint Board appreciated the responsibilities placed on them under the Fire Services Acts, to maintain an efficient fire service for the protection of life and property in this part of Scotland and they had embarked on an extensive programme for the replacement of obsolete fire engines and equipment, and also for the provision of modern fire stations.
The proportion of these things payable by Wigtonshire and the burghs in the current year amounted to £12,166. After allowing for equalisation and general grants, that was scaled down to about £3,600 which was equal to about 2/6 per head of the population. Surely that was a very small sum for the protection they were given by the firemen.

Credit to Board and County

The Joint Board would continue its efforts until the whole of the fire area was adequately protected and equipped. There they saw a fine example of a modern fire station, which, without doubt would be a credit to the Board and to the county and one of which he was sure the local firemen too were very proud.
Before carrying out his official duty, he wished to pay tribute to the architects, Messrs M. Purdon Smith and Partners, Dumfries, and to the building contractors, Messrs Mackenzie and Partners, Stranraer for the high degree of planning and workmanship disclosed by the new station and he would also take the opportunity of thanking the Provost and Town Council for their collaboration and help in the planning stages.
He could not forget the enormous amount of work carried out by the board’s officials at every level and the preparatory work for this opening ceremony, by the local voluntary fire brigade under Station Officer Douglas McPeak, whose record it would be very difficult to beat in any part of the country. (Applause.)
In officially declaring the new station opened, he knew he was entrusting its efficiency to one of the most capable and efficient part time crews in the service, anywhere. (Applause.)

Plaque Unveiled

After a prayer of dedication by Rev. Russell Walker, Mr McHarg proceeded to the control room and sounded the alarm bell to signify the station had been formally brought into operation.
A commemorative plaque was unveiled by the chairman.
Mr A. F. C. Clark, Under Secretary of the Scottish Home Department, congratulated the board on its enterprise in providing such a fine new station, another proof of the manner in which it tackled its responsibilities under their Firemaster, Mr Mackay. Stranraer had also to be congratulated in having a first class up to date station which would add greatly to the resources of the Brigade in dealing with local fires. They were now provided with a proper safeguard. Their local unit under Mr McPeak had a high reputation for efficiency and keenness and he was sure the new station would encourage them to go on from strength to strength. (Applause.)
Mr J Richmond, vice chairman of the board, thanked the speakers, Mrs Howie for the floral decorations, and Mrs Streight for providing excellent refreshments.
Before the company dispersed there was a display on the drill tower by the fireman. Firemaster H. R. Mackay, O. B. E., gave a running commentary of what was taking place. Many townspeople witnessed the display from the roadside.
There are eighteen firemen in the unit. The full complement is twenty.
The station is a three bay building occupying and area of 1,935 square yards and designed  to accommodate two first line appliances, one other vehicle and a part time retained staff of twenty, in addition to auxiliary fire service personnel. The service which it will provide will be of distinct advantage both to the burgh and the adjoining country areas.

Features of the Station

In the official description of the new station, it is stated the appliance room is constructed of pre-cast concrete frame, with cantilever pre-stressed roof beams carrying pre-stressed concrete roof slabs, with asphalt covering. The cantilever was formed so as to provide a large covered wash to the rear of the station where vehicles can be hosed down under cover on return from fires prior to entering the appliance room. The concrete frame has been faced externally with a biscuit coloured facing brick and this treatment has also been applied to the interior of the appliance room. The floor is finished in quarry tiles, with terrazo infill panels and covered skirtings. Doors are of the folding type to allow quick opening and all lighting in this section of the premises is of the fluorescent type.
The administrative block is constructed of hollow cavity brickwork with the outer skin built of biscuit coloured facing brick and a contemporary as well as a sentimental aspect has been added by the provision of a stone built wall, using stone from the old jail which previously occupied the site, between the muster bay and the lecture and recreation room. The flooring throughout gives the maximum wear with the minimum of upkeep and varies from adamantine tiles with covered terrazo skirtings to Alamac wood blocks and Accatile.
Walls and ceilings are plastered throughout and the extensive use of bright and cheerful colours has been employed to add interest to the general scheme.

Appliance Room

The appliance room, which is the principal feature of the fire station, can accommodate three appliances and electrical fittings are provided to keep the vehicle batteries fully charged and the engine warm under all conditions. Doors front and rear in each engine bay give ready access for turn out to fires and for exercising in the drill yard as the case may be. A hose reel, connected up to the town’s mains, is provided to assist in cleaning operations and for replenishing water tanks of the appliances on return from fires.
The control room is sited between the appliance room and the main entrance to the station and the construction and layout gives an excellent view to the attendant of the movement of all vehicles entering and leaving the building.
Sited in this room is the control panel for telephones, fire bells, lighting and loudspeaker systems, etc., and this, together with the Alamac wood block floor and general finishings, present a very pleasing appearance.

Lecture Room

Modern fire service training demands much technical instruction and a room is provided primarily for lecture purposes. It will, however, also be used as a club room where the firemen can meet socially at any time. There is also a well laid out kitchen communicating with this room by a large serving hatch.
A hose room is provided adjacent to the appliance room so that, on return from fires, an appliance can be quickly replenished with dry hose. The hose room is also convenient to the station store and workshop where all repairs etc. to the hose are carried out. A drying room fitted with electrical air warmer is also provided for dealing with wet clothing or for finally drying off hose which has been taken down from the drying tower in the yard.
A 50ft. drill tower with three working elevations is situated in a corner of the drill yard to the rear. In addition to providing adequate drill facilities, the tower will be used for drying up to 32 lengths of hose at any one time and houses the electric siren on top for calling out firemen.
The project was first conceived in 1955, was begun in 1959 and has now, in just over one year, been finally completed.
Valuable assistance was received from the Scottish Home Department, from the Planning Authority and from the officials of Wigtown County Council and Stranraer Town Council.
Mackenzie and Partners were the main contractors while plumbing and sanitation work was carried through by S and M Davidson, Stranraer; painter work by Adam Hannah, Innermessan; and the electrical installation by J. K. Cowden, Stranraer.
(Galloway Advertiser and Wigtownshire Free Press, Thursday, September 29, 1960. Page 6.)

 

 

 

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

 

MAIN INDEX                         1975 INDEX                         DUMFRIES & GALLOWAY INDEX