2 Pumps Retained.


1855 Engines probably housed in the Horsemarket.
1914 Equipment housed in Bowmont Street, KELSO.
1939? Bowmont Street, KELSO
23/10/1980 Eschiehaugh, KELSO.                                                          Photo




1880 to ? Captain Murdison
1980 to ? Station Officer J. Dalgleish
2002 Station Officer George William Cockburn, Queen's Gallantry Medal (there 1993)
2009 to 2015? Watch Manager Thomson
2016? Watch Manager Gary Lees




1855   Manual Pumps, Water Tub  
1914   Hose Barrow, 21ft Ladder  
1938 KS8120 2 Ton Morris Commercial closed Fire Engine and Tr Pump ATV
  GLR831 Austin K2/Home Office/SEAFB HrT
  GXA797 Austin K4/Home Office/SEAFB PE
  GYR297 Fordson/Home Office (Bedford QL?) WrT A
  HSG404 Commer QX/Whitsun WrT
1951 JFS373 Commer/Carmichael WrT
1962 2000SF Bedford TJ5S/HCB Angus WrT
1966 FFS527D Bedford TKEL/HCB Angus DP


  First Second
1984 WSG113W USX582R
1990 E106MSC WSG113W
1998 K961DSC E106MSC
2003 R886FSC K961DSC
2005 SK02ULN R886FSC
2012 SK07BKJ SK02ULN

First runs as WrL/ET and second as WrT. (2005)

USX582R Dodge K1113/Fulton and Wylie WrL
WSG113W Dodge G1313/Carmichael WrT
E106MSC Renault G13c/Mountain Range WrT
K961DSC Scania 93M-250/Emergency One WrL/ET
R886FSC Scania 94D-260/Emergency One WrL/ET
SK02ULN Scania 94D-260/Emergency One WrL/ET
SK07BKJ Scania P270/Emergency One WrL/ET




1938 Kelso Fire Brigade
1941 to 1948 National Fire Service
1948 to 1975 South Eastern Area Fire Brigade
1975 to 2005 Lothian and Borders Fire Brigade
2005 to 2013 Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service
1/4/2013 Scottish Fire and Rescue Service



The South Eastern Fire Area Administration Scheme Order, 1948

  Equipment Retained
  1 Tender and Large Trailer Pump 1 Section Leader
  1 Water Tender 2 Leading Firemen
    17 Firemen

Establishment 2000





2 Water Tender Ladders

1 Station Officer



1 Sub Officer



2 Leading Firefighters



11 Firefighters


Kelso had a call sign of 46 in Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service, this was changed to J28, the new National Call Sign on 3/5/2017.

Awarded Queen's Gallantry Medal. (Supplement to the L/G. 53720, 1st July 1994, pp.9471.)
George William COCKBURN, Retained Station Officer, Lothian and Borders Fire Brigade.
For services in rescuing four injured crew members and attempting to rescue a fifth from a fire tender almost completely under water. On the way to attend a fire, the fire appliance was forced off a bridge by oncoming traffic and plunged approximately 40 feet into the river where it rested on its side.
Retained Station Officer Cockburn was in the front of the water tender when it plunged into the fast flowing river but managed to extricate himself. Hearing shouting from inside the rear section of the tender, he went immediately to the crew's assistance. Although the door to the cabin was initially jammed, he managed by sheer strength to force it open and succeeded in extracting four crew members, helping them onto the side of the tender which was just above water level. He then repeatedly dived into the bitterly cold, largely flooded main cab and by reaching through a partition he tried to help the driver trapped in the front section of the cabin which was under water. These efforts were unsuccessful as, unknown to Officer Cockburn, the driver was trapped by the steering wheel and the compaction of other parts of the cabin.



There is a long history of fires and firefighting in Kelso, there having been a number of disastrous fires in past centuries. Means for fighting fire were made available in the early 19th century and came about due to a wave of "incendiarism" which greatly concerned the population. Thus "an establishment of fire engines was procured, including a great tub on wheels to transport water". The fire raiser was later discovered, tried and banished for life.
However, the equipment was kept and apparently used on a number of occasions. One of the more notable of these being in May 1885 when fire broke out in a carter’s premises in Roxburgh Street. The fire developed so quickly that in three hours, ten houses "were reduced to a heap of smoking ruins". In all, thirteen houses were destroyed leaving twenty five families homeless. Strong winds, thatched roofs and stacks of hay gave the firefighters little chance but a report at the time commends their efforts-"the engines were wrought by a formidable phalanx of willing hands and stalwart arms".
At this time the engines were probably housed in the Horsemarket but were merely available for pumping water, there being no fire brigade. The formation of a brigade was prompted by a serious fire in a large tenement in the Coal Market on May 6th, 1880. Attempts were made to contain the fire while the engines were turned out but this time the press were less complimentary. The report states "a considerable time elapsed before they were got into play, the hose being sadly out of order". This resulted in considerable discussion by the Commissioners on the merits and demerits of having a Fire Brigade, the main objection being cost. Those in favour won the day and in October 1880, 100 years ago, the Water Committee laid out proposals for the fire brigade a brief extract of which is as follows:-
The Brigade to consist of six men


Yearly Salary

One Superintendant


One Sub Superintendant


Four firemen at 1 each


Brigade to meet at the engine house first Saturday of each alternate month to clean, oil and test the apparatus, and to be, without warning, called out three times yearly for exercise.
Men engaged

John Robertson


Goerge Turnbull


James Ferguson


James Scoon


John Rogers


Mr Murdison to act as Captain and take charge of the hose
The proposals went on at some length detailing responsibilities and fire fighting duties, one other point being that a charge of 7/6d per hour was to be made for each engine when in use.
The Brigade still depended on assistance from the public to work the engines as it is noted that for their efforts at a fire in the Horsemarket in September 1893, sixteen people were paid 2/6d and twenty two paid 2/-.
There were few changes over the years, except in payments and charges although on numerous occasions, proposals were made for obtaining new engines but never materialised.
In April 1914, the condition of the engines came under discussion by the Water Committee who concluded that "as the pressure of water (in the mains) is sufficient for the the extinction of fire in any part of the town, it is resolved to recommend that the fire engines be disposed of ". This left the Brigade with a hose barrow with various items of equipment and a three section 21 foot ladder which was housed in Bowmont Street.
The situation appears to have continued until 1938 and in April of that year, it was decided to purchase a "closed fire engine with a Jennings body" for 425.15.6d. A trailer pump and a considerable quantity of equipment was also purchased at a cost of 773.12.0d. It is interesting to note that this was subject to the Edinburgh Firemaster being satisfied that it was in accordance with specification. In addition, the Kelso Firemaster was to to be sent to Edinburgh for two weeks training. This considerable expense was added to in September 1938 when it was agreed by the Council to erect the Fire Station in Bowmont Street at a cost of 1,833.19.10d, a move which proved fortuitous with the onset of the Second World War as accommodation was readily available for the strengthened fire fighting force when the National Fire Service came into being. Kelso then came under the command of  Fire Force Commander W. B. Muir who was responsible for Edinburgh and the South East of Scotland.
After the war, the Fire Services Act 1947 was introduced by Parliament to transfer the fire fighting functions from the National Fire Service to Fire Brigades maintained by Local Authorities.
Under this Act, Scotland was divided into eleven fire areas and Kelso became part of the South Eastern Fire Brigade in accordance with the Fourth Schedule of the Act. The whole of this area came under the command of Firemaster A. B. Craig until he retired in 1962; it then passed to Firemaster F. Rushbrook who subsequently retired in 1970 and then onto Firemaster J. Anderson who retired early in 1980. Since then the Brigade has been under the command of Firemaster W. M. G. Kerr. After regionalisation in 1975, the Brigade changed its name to the Lothian and Borders Fire Brigade, responsible for approximately the same area and is under the administration of the present Fire Board.


Kelso Fire Station is sited in Eschiehaugh Park on the east side of the town. Bounded on it south side by the Ministry of Defence Recruiting Office, it has open ground to the east and north and direct access onto Edenside Road, a main arterial route into Kelso town centre. The open areas to the east and north may eventually be developed for housing. The actual siting of the Station also take account of the future re-alignment off Edenside Road which will complete a further section of the Kelso Ring Road.
The philosophy behind the design of this Station is a combination of several factors, all of which have influenced the end result. Being a Retained Station the building is unoccupied for the majority of the time hence the external fabric contains the minimal amount of traditional glazing and, in fact, the material used is not glass but is derived from plastics and has double the strength of conventional glass. The building did however require as much daylight as possible to enhance and light the internal spaces and this is obtained by the continuous clerestorey light at roof level. The building keeps a low profile, has a simple plan formation and has colours chosen to blend in with its adjacent surroundings.
The construction of the building should require minimal maintenance with concrete floors, mostly tiled, traditional brick cavity walling, farifaced externally and plastered/tiled internally and a straight-forward flat roof which is finished with high performance felt. The surrounding grounds of the building are grassed with several trees and shrubs being sited at strategic points and a Cyprus hedge to complete the front elevation and disguise the security fence.
The building contains the standard requirements for a Two Bay Retained Station which can cater for a maximum of twenty personnel and comprises the following:-

Appliance Bays

Watch Room

Muster Bay

Switch Room


Lecture/Recreation Room


Dirty Area

Drying Room

Shower Room/Toilets

Ladies Toilet


Heating is by a low pressure hot water system heated by a gas boiler and supplemented by a quick response system of fan convectors to the Appliance Bays and Lecture Room.


Station Officer J. Dalgleish
Sub Officer T. Fairbairn
Leading Fireman C. Gray
Leading Fireman G. Lees
Fireman J. Cassie
Fireman G. Cockburn
Fireman W. Cowe
Fireman D. Gillies
Fireman J. Goodfellow
Fireman W. Lauder
Fireman L. Notman
Fireman W. Thomson
Fireman W. D. Thomson

(From the Official Opening Brochure of Kelso Fire Station, 23/10/1980)





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


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