S01 INVERNESS

2 Pumps, 1 Aerial, 1 Emergency Tender, 1 Foam Salvage Unit, 1 Water Carrier, 1 Control Unit Wholetime
1 Pump Retained.

Stations

  Building behind the Town Hall
1948 to 1958 Fraser Park (Wholetime) and Castle Wynd (Retained)
26/6/1958 Harbour Road, INVERNESS.                                                           Photo

 

Firemasters

 

 

Before WWII Firemaster Andrew S Don
1948 to 15/1/1964 Station Officer Andrew S Don (retired aged 65)

 

Appliances

1778 Two hand operated Fire Engines
1806 Manual Fire Engine (acquired from Aberdeen.)
1819 New Fire Engine
1890s Merryweather Steam Fire Engine  (still in use during the First World War.)
  Motor Fire Tender
1925 Fire Engine with a Fire Escape
1939 Dennis Light Six Turbine Fire Engine
1953 GST149          Commer QX/Carmichael        PE

 

  First Second Aerial   ET FoT CU WrC Retained
1990 F825RST F826RST DST999E UST321L D96DST KST960Y LAS160Y   G228TAS
1991 F827RST G228TAS DST999E UST321L D96DST KST960Y LAS160Y   H616HAS
1992 F827RST G288TAS J999EST UST321L D96DST KST960Y LAS160Y   H616HAS
1998 R122RST P142FAS J999EST K384LAS D96DST P519EAS LAS160Y B686GSS P140FAS
2000 V559JST V558JST J999EST K384LAS S770JST P519EAS LAS160Y K381NAS P140FAS
2001 V559JST V558JST J999EST K384LAS S770JST P519EAS LAS160Y K381NAS Y883VST
2003 SY52VCM SY52VCL J999EST K384LAS S770JST P519EAS P92ERS K381NAS Y883VST
2004 SY04CBU SY04CCA J999EST K384LAS S770JST P519EAS SY04CCD K381NAS Y883VST
2006 SY04CBU SY04CCA J999EST K384LAS S770JST P519EAS SY04CCD K381NAS SY06BHK
2006 SY04CBU SY04CCA J999EST K384LAS S770JST P519EAS SY04CCD K381NAS SY04CBV
2007 SY04CBU SY04CCA J999EST BN04BWG S770JST P519EAS SY04CCD K381NAS SY04CBX
2007 SY07CWR SY07CWT J999EST K384LAS S770JST P519EAS SY04CCD K381NAS SY04CBX
2009 SY07CWR SY07CWT J999EST K384LAS S770JST P519EAS SY04CCD SY09AWZ SY04CBX
2010? SY07CWR SY07CWT J999EST K374LAS L320SAS P519EAS SY04CCD SY09AWZ SY04CBX
12/8/   2010 SY07CWR SY07CWT J999EST K374LAS N683BST P519EAS SY04CCD SY09AWZ SY04CBX
3/12/2010 SY07CWR SY07CWT J999EST K374LAS N683BST R437SAS SY04CCD SY09AWZ SY04CBX
2011 Feb 7 SY07CWR SY07CWT J999EST K374LAS SY60BJU R437SAS SY04CCD SY09AWZ SY04CBX
2012 Mar 7 SY07CWR SY07CWT ST02GAU K374LAS SY60BJU R437SAS SY04CCD SY09AWZ SY04CBX
2013 Nov SY13AMX SY13AMV ST02GAU K374LAS SY60BJU R437SAS SY04CCD SY09AWZ SY04CBX
2014 Nov SY14AYK SY14AYL ST02GAU   SY60BJU R437SAS SY04CCD SY09AWZ SY04CBX
2016 Feb X991NSA ST52GYF ST02GAU   SY60BJU R437SAS SY04CCD SY09AWZ SY04CBX
2016 April KV65SZW KY65OLV ST02GAU   SY60BJU R437SAS SY04CCD SY09AWZ SY04CBX
5/52016 KV65SZW KY65OLV ST02GAU   SY60BJU R437SAS SY04CCD SY09AWZ KV65SZU

 

DST99E ERF/Fulton and Wylie/Simon SS263 HP
UST321L Range Rover/Carmichael L6P
KST960Y Ford Transit/HIFB FoT
LAS160Y Ford Cargo/Wilcox-Seadyke CU
B686GSS Dodge G16/Claymore/HIFB WrC
D96DST Leyland Sherpa/Fulton and Wylie ET
F825RST Mercedes 1112/Fulton and Wylie WrL
F826RST Mercedes 1112/Fulton and Wylie WrL
F827RST Mercedes 1112/Fulton and Wylie WrL
G228TAS Mercedes 1112/Fulton and Wylie WrL
H616HAS Mercedes 1112/Fulton and Wylie WrL
J999EST Mercedes 2225/Bronto Skylift/Angloco/F & W ALP
K381NAS Leyland DAF 70 WrC
K384LAS Land Rover Defender 110/HIFB L4P
L320SAS Mercedes 1124/Carmichael Temp ET
N683BST Mercedes 1124/Emergency One Temp ET
P92ERS Scania 94D-220/Multilift/HIAB PM
P140FAS Volvo FL6-14/Emergency One WrL
P142FAS Volvo FL6-14/Emergency One WrL
P519EAS LDV Convoy/HIFB FoC
R122RST Volvo FL6-14/Emergency One WrL
R437SAS LDV Convoy/HIFB LFA (on run as FoT)
S770JST Leyland DAF 45 ET
V558JST Dennis Sabre/HIFB WrL
V559JST Dennis Sabre/HIFB WrL
Y883VST Scania 94D-260/Emergency One WrL
ST02GAU Volvo FM12/Bronto Skylift F32HDT/Angloco ALP (Ex TFR)
SY52VCL MAN 14-264/Emergency One WrL
SY52VCM MAN 14-264/Emergency One WrL
BN04BWG Isuzu Rodeo/HIFB GPV/Fogging Unit
SY04CBU MAN 14.285/Whittlich/Emergency One WrL
SY04CBV MAN 14-26/Whittlich/Emergency One WrL
SY04CBX MAN 14-26/Whittlich/Emergency One WrL
SY04CCA MAN 14.285/Whittlich/Emergency One WrL
SY04CCD VW Transporter CDi/Explorer CU
WX54VVP MAN TG-A 26-363 FDLRC 6x4/Marshall SV PM (New Dimension)
SY06BHK MAN 12-225/Emergency One WrL
SY07CWR Scania P270/ISS/Emergency One RPL
SY07CWT Scania P270/ISS/Emergency One RPL
SY09AWZ DAF LF Whale Tankers/HIFRS WrC
SY60BJU Scania /PGF/Emergency One MRT
SY13AMV Volvo RPL
SY13AMX Volvo RPL
SY14AYK Scania P280/Emergency One RPL RTA 2016
SY14AYL Scania P280/Emergency One RPL RTA 2016
KV65SZU Volvo FL260/Emergency One RPL
KV65SZW Volvo FL260/Emergency One RPL
KY65OLV Volvo FL260/Emergency One RPL

 

At present (Sept 2003) P92ERS is a Prime Mover with a lorry Pod, but it is supposed to be getting a Control Unit Pod.

July 2009    New Dimension Pods Environmantal Protection, Mass Decontamination, USAR.

 

Brigades

1819 Inverness Fire Engine Establishment (funded by The North British Fire Insurance Company.)
1846 to 1941 Inverness Burgh Fire Brigade
1941 to 1948 National Fire Service
1948 to 1975 Northern Area Fire Brigade
1975 to 1983 Northern Fire Brigade
1983 to 2005 Highland and Islands Fire Brigade
2005 to 2013 Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service
2013 to Scottish Fire and Rescue Service

 

Notes

The Northern Fire Area Administration Scheme Order, 1948

  Equipment Whole-time Retained
  Fraser Park    
  1 Pump Escape 1 Company Officer  
  1 Turntable Ladder 2 Section Leaders  
  1 Towing Vehicle and Large Trailer pump 2 Leading Firemen  
  1 Water Tender 16 Firemen  
  2 Light Pumps    
  Castle Wynd    
  1 Self Propelled Pump   2 Leading Firemen
  1 Towing Vehicle and Large Trailer pump   10 Firemen

 

 

Establishment 2000

 

                                                                Equipment                                             Wholetime                             Retained

 

                                                                3 Water Tender Ladders                     4 Station Officers                                

                                                                1 Aerial Ladder Platform                     4 Sub Officers                       1 Sub Officer

                                                                1 Emergency Tender                            16 Leading Firefighters       2 Leading Firefighters

                                                                1 Foam Tender                                      52 Firefighters                       8 Firefighters

                                                                1 Water Carrier

                                                                1 Control Unit

 

The wholetime establishment is split over 4 watches, working a 2days, 2 nights on and 4 days off rota which averages 42 hours per week. Minimum crew is 13 manning WrL 5, WrL 4, ALP 2 and ET 2. If more then 2 on FoT or WrC. If minimum crew and FoT is required it is manned by the 2 off the ET and the 2 for the ALP man the ALP & ET. If the ET is out then the retained will man the FoT.

 

1994/1995               The watch strength was increased to eighteen personnel  and this will for the first time allow two appliances and specialist vehicles to be primary manned.

With the new brigade structure introduced in the summer of 2003 the 3 Divisions were re-organised into 2 Commands North and South, Inverness was put into South Command. Call signs remained the same.

Inverness had a call sign of A1 in The Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service, this was changed to S01, the new National Call Sign, when the Control at Inverness closed on 6/12/2016 and moved to Dundee.

 

A SHORT HISTORY OF THE INVERNESS FIRE BRIGADE

by Firemaster DUNCAN MACDONALD Inverness

A photo of a horse drawn engine with caption. Driver John MacDonald; Mechan; Tindell; Gordon; Malone-Standing on machine. Craigan; Wicks; Goudie; Cumming; Lewis; Treasurer; Ross; MacAskill; Wylie and MacKenzie. Taken on Canal Bank, Muirtown, 1897.

Any endeavour to trace the genesis and development of the Fire Fighting in Inverness from the primitive neighbourly helpfulness to the present discipline and equipment are not exactly easy. Our local historians, sharing the unjust outlook of humanity in general, have dealt very sparingly indeed with the many startling stages intervening between the hectic excitement of the populace enmasse with their buckets and the advent of the ever ready motor engines, with turbine pumps, water towers and mechanical fire escapes of today.
It has been recorded that the Inverness Fire Engine Establishment was instituted in the year 1819 by the liberality of the North British Fire Insurance Company, now know as the North British and Mercantile Insurance, who solely, at their own expense, placed an excellent Fire Engine in this town. This was the only Fire Engine kept in the North of Scotland, and was found to be of the utmost utility on several distressing emergencies in the North, though it at first was an institution of purely voluntary character, kept up from funds raised by public subscription. Among these subscribers were the Town Council, many of the leading merchants of the town, and several Fire Insurance Companies. These annual subscriptions were continued until 1850, when the Fire Establishment was placed under the management of the General Commissioners of the Police and Burgh, who were then a popularly elected body quite distinct from the Town Council.
The public water supply at this time was pumped from the River Ness to a storage tank which was situated at Old Edinburgh Road and thence by gravitation throughout the town. In the year 1834 the Town Council agreed to put in a number of branches or off-sets of such construction as would suit for attaching Fire Plug Cocks. In 1883, a water by gravitation was introduced into the town from Loch Ashie, and the Council put down a number of additional Fire Hydrants to keep pace with the growth and necessities of the Burgh. This supply serves the town to this day.
The destruction and danger from fire was early appreciated by our early fathers, and, no doubt, fires of a more or less serious nature must have occurred in Inverness to have caused such precautions being taken.
The equipment of the Brigade was for the time fairly complete, comprising of three manual engines, suction buts, ladders and all other necessary appliances at this period. The number of men at the formation of the Brigade appears to have been 18, all of whom followed their regular occupation, which was that of slater, joiner and plumber, etc. In summoning the men, if a fire occurred during the night, it was the custom for the policemen to go round among the fireman's houses and blow whistles, but, since 1860, alarm bells have been installed in each fireman's house. These bells were controlled from the Police Station.
Passing over a few years of the Brigade's existence, the General Police Act for Scotland was passed. Among the changes incurred by this Act, the Magistrates and Town Council were appointed to act as Police Commissioners of the Burgh, and the Fire Brigade became by Statute a part of the Police Establishment, the expense of its maintenance being put on the rates.
If the fire happened to be of a serious nature, and the water supply was poor, members of the public were called out to assist in carrying water with canvas buckets and working the engine. If the fire occurred during the night, all the men who assisted the Brigade paraded at the Police Office in the morning to be paid for their services, and on frequent occasions the Firemen had to be called in to identify the genuine cases. But a considerable amount of ill feeling arose. This difficulty was overcome by a system of checks. Every man who assisted at a fire received a check after the fire was extinguished, and , on returning it to the Police Office, received his respective allowance.
Prior to the last 20 years, the arrangements as regards the horses for hauling the manual pumps were of a rather primitive description. The Fire Brigade had to depend on taking the horses that could be got most readily, and it often happened that carters and cabmen who had their stance at the Exchange would unyoke their horses on the street and proceed to the Fire Station to take out the fire machines.
We now come to the time when the general apparatus of the Brigade was considerably enlarged and improved, the chief articles being a manual pump (horse drawn) and 200 feet of leather hose. The new pump was operated by 16 men.
It was early apparent that the Fire Engines which were worked manually by the firemen, were to prove unsatisfactory, as we read in the Minutes of the Town Council of 18th June, 1883, that it was agreed to call on Mr Bryson, Chief of the Glasgow Fire Brigade, to inspect and report on the equipment of the Fire Brigade. On October 3rd, Mr Bryson reported that he had inspected the fire equipment, and found that it was deficient in quantity and badly kept. The large manual engine could be made efficient, if repaired, but the small engines were useless. The hose was in fair condition. He suggested the overhaul of the water supply and the introduction of ball hydrants. Also the purchase of a Fire Escape, approximately 50 feet; 300 feet canvas hose, 300 feet leather hose, four standpipes, six branch pipes, with nozzles, 150 feet of rope, and eight hatchets. The report was accepted, and the Town Council agreed to purchase the necessary equipment. On 31st January, 1884, the Fire Committee agreed to accept an offer by Mr J Campbell, Church Street, amounting to £141, for the extension of the building behind the Town Hall for the storage of additional fire appliances. In due course the town purchased a Merryweather Steam Fire Engine, which was tested at the river and proved very efficient. During the year 1893 the Burgh Police Act, 1892, had come into operation, and the Town Council were the Commissioners.
The Brigade continued to add new equipment for subduing fires. It is interesting to recall some of the more notable fires which broke out in Inverness and district during this period. In 1898 such a fire occurred on the east side of Church Street on premises owned by Mr Donald Groat. Shortly after this another serious fire took place in the Music Hall, the total exceeding £10,000.
It is also interesting to recall that on two occasions during the last war the Brigade chartered a special train for the purpose of transporting the Steam Fire Engine and the men to distant fires. The first was at Dunrobin Castle, the Duke of Sutherland's residence approximately 90 miles away. The other was at Rothiemurchus, approximately 10 miles away, where a serious forest fire was raging, and threatening both farms and houses. On both occasions great praise was extended to the Firemaster and his men on their efficiency and valuable help. A few years later the Town Council agreed to purchase a Motor Fire Tender and dispose of the Steam Fire Engine, which had done valuable work in the Brigade. During 1925 an up to date Fire Engine was purchased at the cost of £1050, including a Fire Escape.
Arrangements were made whereby people in the surrounding district received the services of the Fire Brigade on the payment of a small retaining fee, plus the expenses of the Brigade in turning out.
In 1938 a very alarming fire, with total damage amounting to over £157,000, was attended with great loss at Beaufort Castle, the home of Lord Lovat. While the Brigade were speeding to answer this call, one of the firemen, George McDougall, fell from the engine and was fatally injured.
A year later, the Town Council decided to purchase a modern Fire Engine, and, after careful consideration of the various types of vehicles, considered a Dennis Light Six Turbine Fire Engine, with pumping capacity of 600 gallons per minute, and an all weather body. All metal parts were chromium plated. Including a 50 feet wheeled escape, the total cost of this machine was £1975.
An agreement was made with the Inverness County Council whereby for the sum of £680, the Inverness Town Council undertook to perform the usual fire extinguishing services within No. 1 and 2 Districts of Inverness County Council. This was the principle adopted under the Fire Brigades Act, 1938, and meant that the Brigade answered all calls to these districts without charges for each call. Any ratepayer within these two districts had the same privilege as a ratepayer of Inverness Burgh of calling the Brigade, when required, without question as to responsibility of payment, and the Brigade accepted the calls and answered same without delay.
Recognising conflagration engendered by enemy action as the worst peril that can confront the civilian population, the Home Office issued to every Fire Brigade Authority and every principal fire officer in Great Britain, a memorandum on emergency Fire Brigade organisation, and so the Auxiliary Fire Service came into being.
The National Fire Service came into being in 1941, when the Fire Services throughout the country were nationalised, proving in practice that standardisation was necessary, particularly during the Blitz, when many fire machine arrived at the scene of fire with non standard equipment, thus causing great confusion.
The National Fire Service was organised into eleven regions, Scotland being the eleventh. Area Training Schools were set up, and the men were given tuition in Fire Service work. Those who were successful in becoming instructors then put to use their knowledge in training others. The result was that by 1942 the Service was very efficient.

For all printing. Consult Highland Herald Ltd. 1 Friars’ Street Inverness. Printers of this Magazine.
Pencil note at top of Page 11 "Article written 1952".
(Typed from a pages eleven & twelve of an unknown magazine.)

 

 

NEW FIRE BRIGADE H.Q. AT INVERNESS

Officially opened by Minister of State

OLD DAYS RECALLED

 The new £45,000 modern fire station, the headquarters of the Northern Area Fire Service, which has been erected on the Longman Estate, Inverness, was officially opened on Thursday by Lord Strathclyde, Minister of State for Scotland.
This up to date building, which incorporates the latest in fire fighting equipment and the utmost comfort for the fireman stationed there, replaces the collection of huts at Fraser Park, Inverness, which have housed the Fire Service headquarters since the early days of the last war.
At the opening ceremony, which took place in the specious appliance bay which has four large glazed doors electrically operated for quick get-away of fire fighting vehicles, was a large gathering of committee members, representatives from local authorities, their wives, officials, firemen and members of the firemen’s families. Lord Strathclyde was accompanied at the official table by Treasurer W. J. Mackay, chairman of the Northern Area Joint Fire Committee, Provost and Mrs R. Wotherspoon; Mr F. W. Walker of Leys, County Convener, and Mrs Walker; Mr J. D. McNicol, Firemaster Mr J. Cameron, Town Clerk, who is also clerk to the Joint Fire Committee, and Mrs Cameron, and others.
Treasurer Mackay, who presided, said it was a real pleasure to preside that day and he meant real because the committee realised how much the new building meant to those men who had to fight fires and to the staff who had to administer the service. He said the building was primarily the headquarters of the Northern Area Fire Service, which administered to the whole 11,000 square miles of the area. That meant they had to look after an area which extended from Ballachulish in the South to Unst in the Shetlands, which would give some idea of the vast territory which the headquarters had to control.

FUEL OF THE HIGHLANDS

He also needs reference to the underfloor system of electric heating in the building, and pointed out that when estimates had been received it was found that oil heating was the favoured form because it was cheaper, but fortunately for the North along came the Sues crisis and oil became scarce. So the Scottish Home Department agreed that the Committee should use the fuel of the Highlands-Hydroelectricity.
Before introducing Lord Strathclyde, he referred to the previous headquarters which, he said, were housed in a heap of huts, but that day the firemen were in a building of which they could justly be proud.
The new fire station was then dedicated by the Rev. Frank J. L. MacLauchlan, minister of the Inverness Old High Church.
Lord Strathclyde said they were taking pert that day in the latest chapter of one of the longest stories in the history of fire fighting in Scotland and he was delighted to have been given the opportunity to participate.

FIRST FIREMASTER

“Its a long time since James Patton was appointed as whet I might call the first firemaster, in 1778, I believe, and steered his first fire engine through the street. of Inverness,” he stated. One hundred and eighty years ago the fire risk in this community must have been very considerable indeed, but with this new fire station you are given an assurance that, in no time since these early days, have you been better protected against the risk of fire. I congratulate the Joint Committee in so successful an outcome of their endeavour.”
“This is a station to be proud of,” he declared. “even if owing to the limitations on capital investment some of the committee's original plans had to be modified. It contains first class recreational facilities for operational and also for recreational needs.”
Lord Strathclyde then made further reference to the vast area covered by the Northern Area Fire Service. “It is not generally realised that it is probably the biggest area in the whole of Britain,” he said. “Eleven thousand miles is a very large responsibility and the. long distances, the sparse population, the difficulties of the terrain all add greatly to the task of dealing with the emergencies that the Firemaster and his staff have to be ready to meet.
“Strang as it may seem to those not familiar with the Highlands, one of these problems is the provision of water. One might have thought, looking around one today (it was raining heavily as he spoke) that there was plenty of water in these parts, particularly in winter time! The. difficulty is getting it in sufficient quantity in the right place at the right time. I understand that the brigade are embarking on a programme of purchasing water tenders, each of which will carry over 400 gallons of water, and I think they are wise to do so.”
The Minister of State then said he wished to pay a tribute to one who had a good deal to do that efficient development of the Brigade in the area. The new station was, in itself, a memorial to the late Mr A. D. Macdonald, for it was be who initiated it and it was he who, more than anyone, was responsible for the fine standards attained by the men who manned it.
He then told the gathering they were fortunate in their new firemaster. Mr J. D. McNicol was well known to those in St Andrew’s House, Edinburgh, for, during the National Fire Service days he worked on the Fire Inspectorate and later became Commandant of the Fire Service Training School. Mr McNicol had inherited a good staff; they, in turn, were fortunate in having a first class chief.
He also made a brief reference to the Auxiliary Fire Service which, he said, was an essential part of the civil defence service. “I am sorry to see that so few people in this area have hitherto realised the need to take the opportunity of getting the minimum amount of training that a member of the A.F.S. would require,” he added. “With this new station in the area is it to  much to ask people to come forward and offer a little more of their time in this way! I hope that people in all walks of life will come forward to devote an hour or two of their spare time to training that, in an emergency, would protect themselves, their homes and their community.”
He concluded by saying: “I wish every good fortune to those who serve in this new station, either as a member of full time staff or of the A.F.S.”
Immediately Lord Strathclyde had finished speaking, a fire alarm bell sounded; one of the huge doors silently opened and the firemen members of one crew rushed to an engine and were driving down the main road at speed in a matter of seconds.
Those present at the opening ceremony were then shown round the new building by members of the staff and all were agreeably surprised by the fine brightly decorated building and its modern equipment. The recreational, dining and dormitory accommodation were also greatly admired.

GIFT OF SILVER AXE

Six of the ten firemasters in Scotland attended the luncheon held after the opening ceremony in the Caledonian Hotel, presided over by Treasurer W. J. Mackay, convener of the Northern Fire Area Joint Committee.
The Vice Chairman of the committee, Mr G. S. M. Cumming, handed over a fireman’s axe to Lord Strathclyde saying he hoped that he would find a suitable place for it in his home to remind him of the happy day he had spent in Inverness opening the new fire station.
Provost Robert Wotherspoon, in proposing the toast “the Fire Service” gave an enlightening address on the progress of the service from 200 years ago till the present time.

EARLY INVERNESS RISKS

During the earlier period to which he referred he remarked that Inverness was once one of the imaginable. Houses were constructed of wood and had thatched roofs.
It was 100 years ago that the first fire brigade was formed and 10 years since the Northern Area Committee was set up. “We now have one of the finest fire stations in Scotland.”
In reply Mr A. D. Wilson, H.M Inspector of Fire Services, told the gathering “the greatest progress in the fire service has been made here in the Northern Area.”
The present firemaster, Mr McNicol, had now come to grips with some of the greater problems which confronted him in the area, which was one of the most difficult in the country, if not in the whole of the United Kingdom. He had been ably helped by members of the Committee and the Chairman, Treasurer Mackay.
Scotland, he said, had made a great deal of progress with its fire service which had brought with it a considerable amount of economy.
He thought it was fair to say that at no time in the past than at present was there a higher standard of efficiency in the fire service.
Mr Wilson paid tribute to the volunteer firemen who gave their time and energy unstintingly to the service.
Treasurer W. J. Mackay proposed the toast “The Queen” and “Welcome to our Guests.” The Rev. William Macleod, Convener of Sutherland County Council, wittingly replied to the latter.
(Highland News and Football Times, Saturday, June 28, 1958. Page     .)

 

 

NORTH’S NEW FIRE STATION OPENED

Minister of State at the Longman 

There was an unexpectedly realistic note at the official opening of the new Northern Area Fire Station at the Longman, Inverness, yesterday when, just at the close of a speech by Lord Strathclyde, the Minister of State, who performed the opening ceremony, the fire-alarm sounded, and, in the space of a few seconds, the electrically operated doors were opened and a fully manned fire engine was on its way. The call was a “bogus” one, however, which had been arranged as part of the ceremony. Lord Strathclyde, who was introduced by Treasurer W. J. Mackay, Inverness, chairman of the Northern Fire Area Joint Committee, who presided, said that he regarded it an honour to be present at the opening of another chapter in the history of fire-fighting in Scotland. The Northern Area had never been so well protected against the risk of fire as it would be with this new station, which was the ninth full time station to be built in Scotland since the end of the war, and was something of which they could be really proud.

WATER PROBLEMS

The Northern Area, Lord Strathclyde continued, was one of the biggest in Britain and had many difficulties of terrain which the Fire Brigade must always be ready to meet. One of the problems, curiously enough, was water. One would have thought that there was plenty of that commodity in the North of Scotland (Laughter) but somehow there never seemed to be enough of it in the right place at the right time. He understood, however, that the Northern Area Fire Brigade were arranging for tenders capable of carrying 400 gallons of water.
Paying tribute to Mr D. M. Macdonald, who had been Northern Area Firemaster from 1950 until his sudden death in 1956, Lord Strathclyde said that it was Mr Macdonald who had been largely responsible for the fine standards which prevailed in the Northern Fire Service. They were lucky, indeed, to have as his successor so able a man as Mr McNicol.

MORE VOLUNTARY FIREMEN NEEDED

Emphasising the fact that the Fire Brigade was always ready and willing to give advice on fire prevention to all who needed it, Lord Strathclyde appealed for more people to come forward to be trained as voluntary firemen. It was disturbing, he said, to see so few people taking the trouble to get even the minimum of training required to enable them to protect themselves, their homes, and the community in time of emergency or war.

GIFT OF ORNAMENTAL FIREMAN’S AXE

Later at a lunch in the Caledonian Hotel, Inverness, at which Treasurer W. J. Mackay also presided. Mr G. S. M. Cumming, Strothe, a member of Ross shire County Council and vice-convener of the Northern Fire Area. Joint Committee, presented Lord Strathclyde with a fireman’s ornamental axe in token of the Fire Service’s appreciation of his visit.
Treasurer Mackay welcomed the guests in a pleasantly humorously speech to which the Rev. William Macleod, Convener of Sutherland County Council, replied, and the toast, “The Fire Service,” to which Mr A. D. Wilson, H.M .Inspector of Fire Services, replied, was proposed by Provost R. Wotherspoon, Inverness. In an interesting speech, the Provost outlined the difference between modern methods, of fire-fighting and the methods of an earlier day.

THE PRIMITIVE PAST

In the early 18th century, he said, fire precautions, according to the old Town Council Minute Books, were primitive, and seemed to have been the responsibility of the owner of the house. At that time houses in Inverness were for the most part built of timber, and thatched with straw or turf. Only a small number of the houses were stone-built and many of those were also thatched with straw. When fire broke out, therefore, everyone turned out to help, as it was realised that the whole town would be in danger if the fire spread. Buckets of water from the River Ness were poured on the fire and on the adjoining buildings in order to obviate the danger of sparks, and the thatches were dragged from the burning buildings by means of long poles with iron hooks and chains. “Burn Drawers” – men who carried water from the River in large casks strapped to the sides of ponies – were the principal water suppliers in times of fire and were paid for their assistance by the Town Council.
It was recorded in the minutes, the Provost continued, that at 3 o’clock on the morning of October 1709, a fire broke out in a timber house which, in addition to rendering several families homeless, had resulted in the loss of the commissary records, the wording of the minute being:-
“More particularly the Sheriff and Commissar Records were wholly burnt to ashes to the great loss of the lieges in general.”
After that, continued the Provost, the Town Council ordered that timber houses and shops should, in future, have slated roofs, and each heritor within the Burgh was ordered to have a good ladder “hanging upon his close.” Later on, ladders, 1eather buckets, and poles with hooks and iron chains were purchased by the Town and looked after by the Jailers.

TOWNS FIRST FIRE ENGINE

In 1778, the Provost continued, a fire engine was purchased for £102 7s 6d, and the man appointed to take charge of it was paid two guineas per year, in return for which he had to attend fires at all times, and keep the fire engines and leather buckets in repair. It was not until 1846 that the Town Council had completed arrangements for the equipment of a Fire Brigade and appointed a superintendent, and it was about 100 years later – in 1948, to be precise – that the Joint Committee of the Northern Fire Area was constituted in terms of a scheme made by the Secretary of State under the 1947 Act.
The Provost also paid tribute to the late Firemaster, Mr Duncan Macdonald, who, he said, had carried out his duties in a most exemplary manner and was admired by all with whom he came in contact.

FIREMASTERS IN ATTENDANCE

Many representatives of local authorities in the North of Scotland were present at the opening of the Fire-Station and at the lunch, and among fire service representatives present were the following firemasters:- J. D. Davidson, K.irkintilloch; A. H. Nisbet. Lanarkshire: A. Craig, Edinburgh; H. Mackay, Kilmarnock; J. Gibson, Angus; A. Masson, Perth and Kinross. Mr D. A. Palmer. Commandant of the Scottish Training School, Gullane, and Mr D. Macbeth, Divisional Officer of the Northern Area, and Mr J. Chisholm, Assistant Divisional Officer, were also present.

WELL PLANNED BUILDING

The station has been planned to provide for the utmost efficiency but decor and comfort have not been forgotten and the members of the fire service who are housed in the building will be in the most modern of surroundings. The entire building is heated by the electric underfloor heating system which was pioneered in municipal houses by the Inverness Burgh Architect, Mr Jack Blackburn, who also planned the fire station.
Another innovation in the construction is that the wall cavities are filled with pelleted fibre glass insulation which will conserve the heat and all the windows have been provided with double glazing which also gives added heat insulation.
The station stands back from the main road and has a spacious courtyard, one side of which is the huge engine bay which can house four firefighting appliances. There are four multiglazed doors which are operated electrically, to the front and rear, allowing rapid movement to the machines when called out to a fire while the rear doors open out on to another large courtyard where the vehicles can be cleaned and washed down.
A spacious dormitory is partitioned off so that two beds can be set out inside each partition, each with it. own bed light. Partition walls are papered with various bright patterns of wallpaper. A delightfully coloured tiled floor sets. of the contemporary wall decoration scheme and there is accommodation provided for 12 men to sleep there at one time.
The new station was dedicated by the Rev. P. J. L. Maclachlan, M.C., M.A., Old High Church, Inverness, and a few hours after its official opening an engine sped to answer a call from Drumnadrochit. It was, however, only a chimney fire which was soon brought under control.
(The Inverness Courier, Friday, June 27, 1958. Page

 

 

 

Harbour Road station was opened before 1963. Read 1963 Inverness Couriers and no mention of station opening but station was mentioned as being open.

 

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

 

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