1993 Appliance housed in rented accommodation
Dec 1994 LEVERBURGH, South Harris. Photo
|1921||Steam Fire Engine||P|
|?||N682BST||Mercedes 1124/Emergency One||WrL|
|2010 June||L319SAS||Mercedes 1124/Carmichael||WrL|
|2012 Sept||N683BST||Mercedes 1124/Emergency One||WrL|
|Sept 2016||SY06BHF||MAN 12-225/Emergency One||WrL|
|1921||Leverburgh 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|
Lord Leverhume presented the Steam Fire Engine to Stornoway in March 1921. The islanders realised Lord Leverhume wanted to industrialise the Isle of Lewis and basically the two fell out and he gave it to Leverburgh in June 1921. Leverburgh used to be Obbe but was renamed to Leverburgh.
1/93-3/94 Upgraded to mobile unit and received new LFA.
New Station went Operational November 1994 and was Officially Opened in December 1994. 1994.
1999/2000 Upgraded to Breathing Apparatus status.
With the new brigade structure introduced in the summer of 2003 the 3 Divisions were re-organised into 2 Commands North and South, Leverburgh was put into South Command. Call signs remained the same.
On 1st April 2005 along with 61 other units Leverburgh was upgraded to a Retained Unit, drilling one night per week and receiving a retaining fee.
Leverburgh had a call sign of B26 in The Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service, this was changed to U28, the new National Call Sign, when the Control at Inverness closed on 6/12/2016 and moved to Dundee.
STORNOWAY’S FIRE ENGINE GOES TO HARRIS
A REMARKABLE FEAT OF TRANSPORT
“Mr Flecther, Stornoway. – Lord Leverhume has agreed to
fire engine proceeding to Leverburgh. Please arrange to send there as early as
possible. – Wall.”
“Provost Smith, Stornoway. – Lord Leverhume agrees to our using fire engine at Leverburgh, and I will be glad if you will allow Mr Flecther to send it as early as possible by road. Wall.”
These were the messages received by Mr S. R. Fletcher and Provost Smith on Friday, 9th June, and immediately Mr Fletcher set the wheels in motion to make the journey from Stornoway to Leverburgh with the fire engine and equipment required for the purpose of the work there.
It was planned to take six horses from Stornoway to the top of Clisham Hill, two or more to pull as required to Ardvourlie, and the whole six to take the engine up hill.
A start was therefore made at 8-30 a.m. on Tuesday, 14th, with six horses and six men, in charge of Messrs G. Bishop and Mr S. Wickett, general foreman of the Lahwad Company. A horse lorry carried the fire engine equipment, food for the horses, and a supply of planks, ropes, jacks, and lifting tackle to prepare a temporary track for passing vehicles at narrow parts of the road, to negotiate difficult spots, and be prepared for mishaps on the way. The necessity of this will be appreciated in view of the weight of the engine, which is two tons two cwts. without driver, brakesmen, or other riders.
Mr Fletcher followed later in the day in order to catch the party before reaching Ardvourlie, which they did, after an easy journey, at about 6pm.
After a rest and feed by the way for the horses, and tea kindly provided by Mr and Mrs London at Ardvourlie Lodge, a trial was made to face the great hill.
Here it was found that the six horses could not be easily harnessed, and four only were tried, but as they were tired they did not pull well together. They succeeded in mounting the first incline, and making 100 yards around the first sharp bend. Horses and men were now thoroughly fatigued, and a heavy rain set in; therefore an invitation to rest the night at Ardvourlie was cheerfully accepted. The engine was backed off the road, made secure, and the horses and men trooped off to a well earned rest.
At 9 o’clock next morning all met at the foot of the hill, and the engine was cleared ready for the journey. This time, instead of attempting six horses only four were harnessed in, and in addition, a long drag rope from the wisely loaded lorry was fixed to the engine frame, and with a gang of 28 men, 14 on each side of the horses, the engine was moved off at a good speed, and by taking rests at chosen intervals and spots, the top was reached in half an hour. All the time while mounting the hill, two men walked at the back carrying solid blocks of timber ready to thrust under the back wheels at the moment the halt was called, while two men stood at the brake handles ready to operate the brakes at the same moment.
The way was now all clear for Tarbert, and the second day of the journey well began. A halt was called soon after midday to rest, and a lunch provided for the party from the Tarbert Hotel.
No difficulty was experienced at the sharp bend and hill near the Whaling Station, the horses being well rested and now pulling together. Tarbert was reached about 4-30 pm amid great excitement of the school children who had heard of the approaching fire engine, and who had all trooped behind into the hotel yard. Here, after the infants had dispersed, Mr Fletcher, with his well known consideration for children, lined up the boys, and having had the waterproof covers taken off the engine, gave them a short explanation of its parts and uses.
Horses received first attention, and having seen them comfortably in the clean stables of the hotel, the men proceeded to their own rooms for an evening meal, after which, one and all of the party took a walk out over the route of the morrow in order to see what difficulties had to be faced.
Now the Clisham faded into insignificance as a thing already accomplished, and two fearsome inclines, one immediately on leaving Tarbert, and another about three miles out, the so called “Devil’s Elbow” were seen, and plans to negotiate them were slept on.
On the third day an early start was made. The rested horses were hitched to the engine in the main road before the hotel. This time there was to be no trying of different methods. The scheme had been agreed on overnight, so as soon as all was ready, off went the horses, at first a walk, then a gallop, men scampering alongside, until the task became to hard, the pace slackened, and the brakesmen and blockmen did their duty.
Now again the wisdom of the attendant lorry and its load manifested itself, and before interested spectators had had finished wondering and exclaiming that it could never be done, the long drag rope was secured through a convenient aperture in the wall at the top of the hill, a set of differential blocks lashed at the lower end, and a sling with a hook around the fore carriage of the engine. Horses were unharnessed and led away to feed on the bank, horsemen manned the chain, and with a “Heave-o,” up went the heavy weight, inch by inch, foot by foot, and with occasional shortenings of the cable, another “insurmountable obstacle” was overcome, and amid the congratulations of the onlookers, the smiling party climbed aboard, horse leaders took their places, and away through the hills began the third stage, “Devil’s Elbow” awaiting them.
Here it was horse work all the time, and only a gang of skilled horsemen, under a man of patience and experience, could have accomplished it. Even those who know this road cannot appreciate the feat without going away out there, dismounting from gig, cycle, or car, and stopping to think of moving a horse drawn vehicle weighing over two tons up that twisting, steep, and fearsome hill.
In the men’s own parlance, Clisham was a “fleabite” for here no chain blocks were possible, but to the top of the hill they went, yard by yard, horses and men panting, perspiring, and trembling with the strenuous efforts of the most difficult obstacle of the whole journey. Words of praise are all too little, and congratulations to Messrs Fletcher, Bishop, and Wickett, fall flat as compared with what must be their own pride in accomplishing such a feat.
Another rest, this time a long one, and the last eighteen miles before them, the party “carried on.” Travel the road, reader, and think all the way, at every twist, and every steep, at every stretch of narrow and yielding track of that journey. Bright sunshine and dry roads fortunately prevailed – given rain and a broken road, and the many gloomy prophets would have had their full of satisfaction, for all the skill in the world would not have seen the feat accomplished if the upper crust of some parts of that road had broken and the wheels sunk in.
At about 9pm Mr Howarth, of Leverburgh, and Mr Fletcher, who had now gone forward to prepare for the arrival, met the party at Northton, and an arrangement was made to call a halt at the foot of a steep incline about a mile further on, to leave the engine there, and lead the tired horses to Kyle Lodge. Here, after the animals were stabled and fed, Mrs Howarth kindly provided food and tea for the whole party, after which they were taken to the Rodel Hotel, the hardest of the three days finished.
On the morning of the fourth day, Friday, the last stage was begun and finished with all the village out to see the sight. The last five hundred yards alone provided a spectacle alone no to be resisted by the most conscientious workmen. The new road to the harbour is in the course of construction and although a bottom of stone is laid, no surface yet covers it. Over this road, with four horses at the gallop, Mr Bishop and his drivers running beside, Mr Fletcher and Mr Wicket hanging onto the platform at the back, the Stornoway fire engine rattled onto its longest “turn out” and was finally brought to a stop by the back wheels sinking to the axles at the finish of the bottomed part of the road.
It was the work of less than half an hour to raise it and stand it on heavy timbers to prevent it sinking, and to lay a runway to the site of its intended work.
Now all smiles, the horsemen unhitched their beasts, and without more ado prepared to start on the return journey, this time mercifully light, leaving nothing more to be done but to formally hand over the engine to Mr Howarth and to explain to his mechanic its mechanism and manner of operation. This being duly accomplished during the afternoon, Tarbert was reached about 7 o’clock, the horses coming in an hour later.
Saturday morning saw the returning party on the road with a weekend’s rest before them, and every man with a sense of satisfaction at having succeeded in accomplishing a feat of transport which had been confidently proclaimed by many as impossible.
It would not be fair to let this account pass without naming the horsemen, for their skill in handling the horses, and their consideration for them during the work of the day, and in seeing to their comfort at night, are all worthy of the highest praise. These men are – Messrs J. Nicolson, F. Morrison, R. Ross, J. Maciver, J. Morrison, and A. Mackay.
(Stornoway Gazette And West Coast Advertiser, Thursday, June 22, 1921. Page 4.)
The above article was also in Highland News, Saturday,
June 25, 1921. Page 6. with this additional piece in brackets at the end of the
(The story was current in Stornoway that the engine was hopelessly bogged somewhere in the neighbourhood of the Clisham, but evidently Dame Rumour has been living up to her reputation of being "a lying jade!")
If you know of any mistakes in this or have any additional information please let me know.
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