1 Pump, Retained.


1937 to 1965

Old Lees Mill, High Street, COLDSTREAM.

1965 Market Street, COLDSTREAM.                               Photo



1913 Willie Cockburn
1939 William Murray (Section Leader William Rutherford OIC AFS)


Leading Fireman Bryson


Sub Officer Bryson


Sub Officer Nelson


Sub Officer Nicholls


Sub Officer Tait

1995 to Dec 2006?

Sub Officer Clark

Dec 2006? to Watch Manager Young




1914   Manual Pump P
1937   Coventry Climax or Victor Trailer Pump TrP
1945 GSH582 Austin Towing Unit and Major Trailer Pump No.17  
1965 CSG780C  Bedford Petrol Water Ladder   WrL
1980 TSG266R  Bedford Diesel Water Ladder   WrL
1987 A52EMS Dodge G13c/Mountain Range WrL
1990 E108MSC Dodge G13c/Mountain Range WrL/ET
2000 N304FSG Scania 93M-250/Emergency One WrL/ET
2007 SN04CMU Scania 94D-260/Emergency One WrL/ET



Late 1800s Coldstream 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 Leading Firemen
    9 Firemen

Establishment 2000





1 Water Tender Ladder

1 Sub Officer



1 Leading Firefighter

8 Firefighters


Coldstream had a call sign of 47 in Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service, this was changed to J27, the new National Call Sign on 3/5/2017.

The earliest records at Coldstream station start at 1/7/1945.


Actually, when Coldstream Fire Brigade came first into being, I just would not care to say, or even to hazard a guess, but it was in operation in the late 1800’s. I have heard my father say that a fire occurred at the premises of R. Carmichael and Sons, Grocers, etc, and this must have been in or about 1902. All that the firemen could do was to save the conflagration from spreading — and whisky and spirits were rushed out on to the High Street. There it flowed down the gutterings, at least most of it, for there were thirsty and wise souls who could not see this wastage, and they scooped it up into receptacles. Some of the firemen could not resist the chance of a free dram and quite a few of them got ‘unca fu’. I would be a lad of say twelve years of age, when I saw my first real fire, and that would be in or around 1913—14, when the contents of a large hay-shed were burned to the ground. The River Leet was close-by, but the ‘fire engine’ was unable to cope with the blazing hay. Those were the years when the volunteer crew of the Fire Brigade held a monthly practice in Lees Estate. It was grand fun for us youngsters to see the ‘Fire Engine’ being hauled out of its ‘resting place’ near the Drill Hall and with the tender, and ladders etc, thereon, proceed along the High Street! They were a motley crew of volunteers, and old Willie Cockburn, blacksmith, ‘captained’ the crew, taking his orders from Bob Kinghorn, Burgh Surveyor — cum water engineer — cum commander of the gas house, etc.
The fire engine usually took up its stance near the Lees Mill Lade, and the hoses were quickly laid out, and the engine set to do its work. This was by means of relays of the crew working the hand-pump — laboriously somewhat! When the water did eventually get through to the fire-nozzle, that was when the fun began for us youngsters. There were leakages galore in the hose-pipes and the efforts to try and stop these leaks were really hilarious.
Six or so lengths of second-hand hose-pipe had been procured from a local plumber, but proved pretty well useless on first trial. Let us step forward now to 1936—37. That was when a really destructive fire started — and strangely enough quite near to where our modern fire station now stands. The upstairs storey of this building in Market Square, and it was said that the fire was caused as the result of some fabric being put too near the heating arrangement, and it was left unattended. The local Fire Brigade were certainly soon on the job, but could only use water from stand-pipes. This gave insufficient height of water, and the firemen had to do their best to save the conflagration from spreading to an adjoining tenement. In this respect, some valuable work was done by Dod Pearson, — a local character known as the ‘Cat’. Height and walking on narrow ledges had no fear for Dod, and to see him ripping off slates and then throwing down burning rafters was something to be commended. One would suppose a good bucket of whisky would satisfy him after the fire. An urgent call was sent to Galashiels to send their Brigade down, but although they arrived quickly on the scene, the fire had done its worst, and unfortunately, many bits and pieces of furniture etc, — which had survived the highest recorded date of the flooded River Tweed in 1848, was lost in the fire. However, this dramatic event led to Coldstream Town Council thinking seriously of procuring an up-to-date fire tender, which could be towed behind a lorry. Eventually this was procured, and if memory serves alright, it was a first class pump unit, powered by a Coventry ‘Climax’, or ‘Victor’ engine. This unit was housed in the old Lees Mill premises. Within a year or so, came the 1939 war, and just before that an Auxiliary Fire Service was recruited, with Mr. William Rutherford as Section Leader, Mr. William Murray, Blacksmith, was in charge of the original Fire Brigade Section. Came September 3rd, 1939 and with it the first nationwide notes of the ‘Alarm’ sirens. The A.F.S. were housed in a garage of the Glenesk Motor Coy., and that was to be their headquarters for the biggest part of the war, always having to be ready for duty when the siren went. Then came the ‘blitz’ on Clydeside by the German bombers, and how eerie it was to listen to the drone of the engines. The odd stick or two of incendary bombs landed near Coldstream, and the A.F.S. had to turn-out on one occasion to deal with a farm-yard blaze at Whitsome Hill. There was no water available, and the best the A.F.S. could do was to pull the burning straw from the stacks, and let the stacks burn out. The premier section had been called out somewhere else. Fortunately the Service was given the use of another trailer fire-pump, with hose, etc. Practice drills were held on nearly every Saturday afternoon.
Eventually, fire services all over the country were merged into one Brigade in each area and came under bearing as the National Fire Service. There were many occasions when we had to attend the alert, during the A.F.S. in the war, and as we ‘stood too’, in our respective stations there were many humorous anecdotes. Two are perhaps worth recording. One, when one of our ‘messengers’ was going along to the parent Station. On leaving our depot he had lit up a cigarette, and when puffing at it going along High Street was accosted by an Air Raid Warden and told to ‘put that cigarette out —they will spot the light of it from the flames as they go over’. The night that the blitzes on Clydeside had reached their greatest crescendo, another of our ‘duty messengers’ had to go along and report to the Chief Air Raid Warden and ask any particulars of incidents of aerial attack on our area. The bewilderment of our messenger can be visualised when he entered the room at the Court House (H.Q. of the Air Raid Wardens). There he saw the Chief Warden and two of his subordinates kneeling under the table with their tin hats on. All that they could say was, ‘hush, hush, they will hear you speaking as they fly over.’ Nevertheless, it was a frightening experience to hear wave after wave of German bombers passing over, and then to hear them droning beck after discharging their lethal load of bombs.
With the conclusion of the war it could be said to begin the formation of a new Coldstream Fire Brigade, and over the years with the building of a new Fire Station in Market Square, and the installation of a modern fire fighting unit and equipment, it can now be said that Coldstream Fire Brigade is living up the Burgh motto of ‘Nulli Secundus’.
Hans Langmark
(Vulcan magazine No. 6, 1977. Page 23)



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


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