John Stewart                                                                                                                                                    Headquarters,

Grad.I.Fire.E                                                                                                                                                            Knowetop,

Firemaster                                                                                                                              MOTHERWELL, Lanarkshire

Telephone: MOTHERWELL 2224

All communications to be

addressed to

“The Firemaster”

Quoting Ref.         JS/MM                                                                                                                          31st March, 1966


Ian V. Paterson, Esq.,


Lanarkshire Fire Brigade Joint Committee,

County Buildings, Hamilton.



Dear Mr. Paterson,

Fire Cover in Lanarkshire


I have made a survey of the present fire cover arrangements in Lanarkshire and respectfully submit herewith my observations and proposals to the Joint Committee.

The Fire Service Act 1947 as amended requires the Fire Authority to provide sufficient fire cover in accordance with the standards laid down by the Home Office and the Scottish Home and Health Department. In dealing with this problem, experience has shown that fire cover can best be provided on a reasonably economic basis by dealing with the County geographically, without regard to Local Authority boundaries. The siting of any Fire Station has to be considered in relation to the fire risk category of the area to be protected and to the siting of other existing Stations in the locality.

Risk categories adopted in Lanarkshire are from “B” to “D”, i.e., from the fairly concentrated building area of the larger towns to rural risks. At the present time, the time limits laid down for the attendance of appliances at fires within the limits laid down by the standards of fire cover are as follows:-


                Risk Category       No. of Pumps        Approx. Time limits for Attendance (in minutes)

                                                                                1st. appliance         2nd. appliance        3rd. appliance

                                A                             3                              5                              5                              8

                                B                             2                              5                              8                              8

                                C                             1                              8/10

                                D                             1                              20

                                High Risk                                               Special Attendance as required.





Motherwell Fire Station


At Motherwell there are available one Water Tender with a 50 feet wheeled escape, two Water Tenders, one Emergency Tender and one Salvage Tender. 1 Water Tender is at present unmanned because of lack of volunteer personnel.

Present establishment is 1 A.D.O., 1 Stn.O., 6 Sub.O., 3 L/Fm and 33 Fm. and this is sufficient to man two appliances on at least 75% of occasions.

The area of fire cover includes the large Burgh of Motherwell and Wishaw (population 76,249 – area 6,218 acres), Bellshill, Mossend, Holytown, Newhouse, New Stevenson, Cleland and Newmains. Government owned industrial estates are located at Newhouse and Carfin.

Industries within the area include:


                Colvilles Ltd.,

                Stewarts & Lloyds (Mossend),

                Motherwell Bridge and Engineering Co.,

                Alexander Finlay and Co.,


                Morton Machine Co., Wishaw,

                Marshall Flemming & Co.,

                Clyde Crane and Booth Ltd., (Mossend),

                Marshall and Anderson,

                The Belmos Co. (Bellshill),

                Euclid. Works (Newhouse),

                Honeywell Controls Ltd., (Newhouse),

                A.E.I. (Motherwell),

                Dunlop Rubber Co. (Carfin),

                Millard Bros. Ltd. (Carfin),

                Vacuum Industrial Applications, Wishaw,

                Arbuckle, Smith & Co. Ltd., Carfin.


Travelling distances:

                Motherwell Fire Station to Cleland                                                   —            4½ miles

                Motherwell Fire Station to New Stevenson                                     —            3 miles

                Motherwell Fire Station to Newhouse Industrial Estate                —            4½ miles

                Motherwell Fire Station to Bellshill                                                   —            3½ miles

                Motherwell Fire Station to Wishaw                                                  —            2½ miles

                Motherwell Fire Station to Newmains                                              —            4½  miles


The main roads through Motherwell are invariably congested and speed is restricted to about 30 miles in the hour (See recommendation).


Coatbridge Fire Station


Coatbridge is classified as a two pump station maintaining a Water Tender with 50 foot wheeled escape and one water tender always available. The station is of modern construction. A special appliance, a Foam/Salvage Tender is alternately manned.

Present establishment is 1 A.D.O., 1 Stn.O., 6 Sub.Os., 3 L/Fm., and 36 Fm.

The area of fire cover includes the large burghs of Coatbridge (population 54,688 — area 3,513 acres) and Airdrie (population 34,911 — area 2,912 acres), Calderbank, Chapelhall, Tannochside, Baillieston, Glenboig, New Monkland, Caldercruix.

Industries within this area include:


Inverhouse Distillers Ltd., Moffat Mills,

Colvilles Ltd., Gartcosh,

Caterpillar Tractor Co., Tannochside,

Bairds and Scottish Stell, Gartsherrie,

Stewarts & Lloyds, Coatbridge,

William Bain & Co., Coatbridge,

Rivet, Bolt and Nut Co., Coatbridge,

Thomas Hudson Ltd., Coatbridge,

R.B. Tennant Ltd., Coatbridge,

Airdrie Electronics, Airdrie,

Jones Woodhead and Sons Ltd., Chapelhall,

Martin Black & Co. (Wire Ropes Ltd.) Coatbridge,

Rex Truiform, Coatbridge.


Travel distances:

                Coatbridge Fire Station to Coatbridge Boundary                           —            3 miles,

                Coatbridge Fire Station to Airdrie Boundary                                  —            3 miles,

                Coatbridge Fire Station to Calderbank                                             —            3 miles,

                Coatbridge Fire Station to Chapelhall                                               —            4 miles,

                Coatbridge Fire Station to Tannochside                                          —            5 miles,

                Coatbridge Fire Station to Baillieston                                               —            5½ miles,

                Coatbridge Fire Station to Glenboig                                                 —            5 miles,

                Coatbridge Fire Station to New Monkland                                      —            3½ miles,

                Coatbridge Fire Station to Caldercruix                                              —            6½ miles.


Hamilton Fire Station


At Hamilton there are available one Water Tender Escape with a 50 foot wheeled escape, one Water Tender and a Turntable ladder.

Present establishment is 1 A.D.O., 1 Stn.O., 6 Sub.Os., 3 L/Fm., 36 Fm.

The area of fire cover includes: the large Burgh of Hamilton (population 43,967 — area 3,238 acres) and extends to Bothwell, Uddingston, and Blantyre.

Industries within the area include:


                Belmos Co., Bothwell and Blantyre,

                Rolls Royce, Hamilton and Blantyre,

                Philips, Hamilton,

                Moffats Ltd. Uddingston,

                Simplicity Patterns Ltd., Blantyre,

                Lanarkshire Bolt and. Nut Co., Burnbank,

                Lucas Ltd., Uddingston,

                Ranco Ltd., Tannochside, Uddingston.


Travel distances:

                Hamilton Fire Station to Hamilton Boundary                                  —            2 miles,

                Hamilton Fire Station to High Blantyre                                            —            4 miles,

                Hamilton Fire Station to Bothwell                                                     —            2 miles,

                Hamilton Fire Station Uddingston                                                    —            4½ miles.


Rutherglen Fire Station


At Rutherglen there is available one Water Tender with a 50 ft. wheeled escape, one water tender and a turntable ladder.

Present establishment is 3 Stn.Os., 6 Sub.Os., and 38 Fm.,

The area of fire cover includes the large Burgh of Rutherglen (population 26,023 — area 1,219 acres), Carmunnock, Cambuslang, Flemington, Hallside, Carmyle and Shettleston and Springboig — the Northern boundary of Rutherglen borders on Glasgow and 1st attendance to fires is provided in the Toryglen and Castlemilk areas of the city.

Industries within the area include:

                Clydebridge Works, Cambuslang,

                Stewarts & Lloyds, Rutherglen,

                Redpath Brown, Cambuslang,

                Mavor and Coulson Ltd., Rutherglen,

                R.B. Dunlop & Co., Cambuslang,

                Hoover Ltd., Cambuslang,

                Clyde Paper Co., Rutherglen,

                S.C.W.S., Papermill, Rutherglen.

                British Ropes Ltd., Rutherglen,

                J. Todd & Sons Ltd., Rutherglen.


                Travel Distances:

                Rutherglen Fire Station to Glasgow border                                     —            2 miles,

                Rutherglen Fire Station to Carmunnock                                           —            5 miles,

                Rutherglen Fire Station to Cambuslang                                           —            3 miles,

                Rutherglen Fire Station to Flemington                                             —            3½ miles,

                Rutherglen Fire Station to Hallside                                                   —            4 miles,

                Rutherglen Fire Station to Carmyle                                                   —            3½ miles,

                Rutherglen Fire Station to Shettleston                                             —            3½ miles.


East Kilbride Fire Station


East Kilbride is classified as a one pump whole-time station manning a Water Tender with a 50 ft. wheeled escape.

The authorised establishment is 1 A.D.O., 1 Stn.O., 4 Sub.Os., 2 L/Fm., and 19 Fm.

The area of fire cover includes the small Burgh of East Kilbride (population 38,537 area 5,974 acres) with 68 manufacturing and servicing enterprises occupying 2½ m. sq. ft. of factory space. The appliance provides first attendance fire cover to Eaglesham and Busby.

Some of the leading firms occupying factories in East Kilbride are:

Sunbeam Co.,



Kraft Foods,

Waterlow and Sons,

Mavor and Coulson Ltd.,

Cincinnati Shaper Co. Ltd.,

Rolls Royce,

National Engineering Laboratories.


Travel distances:

East Kilbride Fire Station to Burgh Boundary                                 —            2 miles,

East Kilbride Fire Station to Eaglesham                                                           —            6 miles,

East Kilbride Fire Station to Busby                                                                   —            4½ miles.


Lanark Fire Station


Lanark is classified as a two pump station. The first appliance, a Water Tender with a 50 foot wheeled escape, is manned by a whole-time crew. The second appliance, a water tender, is manned by a part-time retained crew.

The authorised establishment for Whole Time Firemen is 1 A.D.O., 1 Stn.O., 4. Sub.Os., 2 L/Fm., 19 Fm.

One Part time retained L/Fm. and 9 part-time retained firemen man the second appliance.

The area of fire cover includes the small Burgh of Lanark (8,406 — area 1,651 acres), Carluke, Douglas Water, Thankerton, Carstairs, Carnwath.

Lanark is the centre of the farming and agricultural life of Lanarkshire with one textile mill, the New Lanark Mill. Over 4,000 persons are employed on agricultural work with over 200,000 acres under permanent crops. The sheep population exceeds 200,000 and there are over 30,000 cattle.


Travel distances:

                Lanark Fire Station to Carluke                                                            —            6 miles,

                Lanark Fire Station to Douglas Water                                              —            9½ miles,

                Lanark Fire Station to Thankerton                                                    —            8 miles,

                Lanark Fire Station to Carstairs                                                         —            5½ miles,

                Lanark Fire Station to Carnwath                                                        —            8 miles.


Bishopbriggs Fire Station


Bishopbriggs is classified as a one pump day manning station, i.e., the appliance, a water tender, is manned during the daytime by a crew of  whole time firemen and, at night, by a crew, of retained firemen.

The authorised whole time establishment is a total of 12.

The retained complement is one L/fm. and 10 Firemen. The area of fire cover includes the small township of Bishopbriggs, extending to the borders of Glasgow in the south and the Central Fire Authority in the north. 1st attendance fire cover is given to the Springboig and Milton district of Glasgow and the Kirkintilloch area of Stirlingshire.

The Scottish Wire Rope Co. is one of the larger industries located here while there is provision for storage of considerable amounts of’ whisky in modern constructed bonded warehouses.



Retained Fire Stations


The stations listed below are retained one pump stations and are located in the centres of the more rural areas of Lanarkshire. There are, however, one or two large industries such as:


                Cummins Engine Co., Shotts,

                Astoria Holding Ltd., Shotts,

                South Wales Switchgear Ltd., Moodiesburn,

                Triplex Ltd., Larkhall,

                S. Simpson Ltd., Larkhall,

                Falcon Products, Larkhall.



                Station                                   Establishment                                      Appliances

                Stepps                                    11                                                            Water Tender

                Shotts                                    11                                                            Water Tender

                Larkhall                                  11                                                            Water Tender

                Strathaven                             11                                                            Water Tender

                Lesmahagow                         11                                                            Light Pump and Hose Reel Tender

                Abington                               11                                                            Water Tender

                Biggar                                    11                                                            Water Tender

                Douglas                                 11                                                            Water Tender.



Volunteer Stations


A volunteer Leading Fireman and crew man a light pump at Leadhills.


On receiving a call within the area of a retained fire station, one appliance from the nearest Whole time station is immediately turned out to assist in the fire fighting operations.





It can be said that Lanarkshire is undergoing a second industrial revolution. The virtual closing down of the coal industry has meant that many new, modern and diverse industries, each with their own new fire problems, are rapidly coming into the County. Housing and industrial development has progressed quickly since the approval of the Development laws by the Secretary of State in 1958, as amended in 1962. The County Council plan comprehensive re-development in the districts of Blantyre, Carluke, Bellshill, Uddingston, Strathaven and Cambuslang, and the large Burghs within the County are, without exception, seeing the expansion of old industries and the introduction of many new factories. Old property is being demolished and extensive sites are being prepared for the construction of comprehensive new town centres, multi-storey flats and planned housing development. It is obvious that the County is expanding fairly rapidly and at the present time Lanarkshire is the third busiest Fire Brigade in Scotland (coming after Glasgow and Edinburgh). Therefore, it is essential to ensure that adequate fire cover, both of men and appliances, is available to keep step with the new development.

In formulating the following recommendations, I have had discussions with H. M. Inspector of Fire Services in Scotland, Mr. A.D. Wilson, who has freely given me the benefit of his wide experience, particularly in the field of standards of fire cover, and we both agree that if these recommendations are accepted they will meet the immediate needs of strengthening the establishment of the Brigade because I must add at this juncture that, at the present time, I am greatly concerned —

a).            because of the increase in the number of fire calls, and

b).           because of the lack of reserve man power available, e.g. the average daily manning figures of whole-time Firemen available varies from 46 to 50 per day. This means that if we get two or three simultaneous fires our resources are stretched to the utmost.

H. M. Inspector of Fire Services is of the same opinion as myself that these recommendations will be entirely without prejudice to any future development in the County.




The administrative headquarters of the Brigade will be moving away from Motherwell Fire Station, probably in July, 1966, to occupy the new Headquarters building at Hamilton Fire Station.

Motherwell Fire Station is over 40 years old and has really outlived its usefulness. It is badly situated for present day road traffic conditions and, as the appliances on returning from a fire must of necessity be reversed into the appliance room, considerable difficulty and a certain element of danger is experienced in reversing the appliances across the stream of traffic on this fairly busy main road.

I have had talks with the Town Clerk of Motherwell regarding earmarking a suitable site for a new Fire Station in the Motherwell area and I have been given to understand that a suitable piece of land, approximately, 300’ x 200’, can be made available to the Joint Committee at West Academy Street, Wishaw. I consider this to be a good site and recommend that an immediate approach be made to Motherwell and Wishaw Town Council for this site.

The whole time establishment should be increased by 9 men to allow for the manning of the Emergency Tender.




At present Bellshill has a population of 21,789 and, with the expansion of industry and development of housing, is likely to increase rapidly. Because of the fire cover required for the industrial sites at Newhouse, New Stevenson, Carfin and Bellshill, and of the need to provide immediate reinforcements to Motherwell, Hamilton and Coatbridge, I consider that immediate priority should be given to obtaining a suitable site at Bellshill for the provision of a new Fire Station to be manned by one whole-time pump supported by one part-time retained pump in the first instance and, in the light of the industrial development, progressing eventually to a whole-time 2 pump Station. At the present time, I consider that the lack of a suitable Fire Station in the Bellshill, Uddingston, New Stevenson Area is a serious gap in the fire defence of the County. This would require an immediate establishment of 27 whole-time men and 12 part-time Retained Firemen to which must be added a new pump escape and water tender.




The appliances from Coatbridge cover both large Burghs of Coatbridge and Airdrie with a joint population of 89,599, together with the additional responsibility of the industrial estates in the landward area. In 1965, this Station attended 745 incidents and it is reasonable to expect that these numbers will continue to rise. At the present time, it is not considered necessary to provide an additional Fire Station but the situation will require constant review. However, I do consider that it is necessary to provide an extra appliance with the required additional man power now, in order to improve the standard of fire cover. This would mean an additional pump escape and 16 whole time Firemen.




The new Fire Brigade Headquarters at Bothwell Road, Hamilton, should be completed in July, 1966, and the facilities being provided there should fulfil a long felt want in the Brigade. On the operational side, it will be necessary to increase the establishment by 9 Firemen to man the new Snorkel appliance.

On the administrative side at Headquarters, additional staff will require to be engaged to meet the cleaning needs of the premises. 3 Boilermen handy-men will be required to work on a shift system for looking after the central heating plant and maintenance of the grounds, and I would recommend that a window cleaning contract be entered into for the cleaning of all the windows on the premises.

There is no doubt that with the shorter working week for Fire Stations, less time is available for the necessary cleaning that must be done and, in my view, it is certainly more important that training of the Fireman must be given priority. I have had talks with the Fire Brigade Union regarding this and they have suggested that they would like to see Male Janitors or cleaners employed. However, in my experience, women cleaners who may well be employed on a part-time basis are ideal for this sort of work. In assessing the numbers required, I think allowance should be made for cleaning the main parts of the operational Fire Station in addition to the Headquarters building. This would certainly relieve the operational men from some of the cleaning duties and would certainly mean more time for training. However, I must make it clear that, of necessity, the men must clean and service the appliances, equipment, uniforms, etc.

Because of the number of vehicles attached to Headquarters, consideration should be given to the employment of one man for car washing and routine greasing and maintenance.




The Fire Station at Rutherglen is of temporary construction built during the last War and is in urgent need of replacement. It has been suggested that a new Station at Cambuslang would meet the needs of Cambuslang and Rutherglen. I have had a series of test turn outs and the experience gained from these test turn outs shows that it is extremely unlikely that appliances from a new Fire Station at Cambuslang could provide the standard of fire cover as laid for Class “B” fire risks in Rutherglen, that is, within the stipulated time limit of five minutes for a first attendance (see Appendix I) In 1965, Rutherglen attended 606 incidents within its area and, as Cambuslang is obviously going to continue to develop both its industry and housing, a strong case is made for reinstating the one pump station at Cambuslang. Therefore, I recommend that the site earmarked for a Fire Station at Clydeforth Road, Cambuslang, be used for a part-time retained Station with an establishment of 12 part-time retained firemen. A site should be procured for a new two pump and special appliance station at Rutherglen and the building of this station given some measure of priority. The site should be within the Burgh of Rutherglen and as near as possible to the site of the existing Fire Station.


East Kilbride


The new town of East Kilbride is progressively developing and the population at the present time is approximately 39,000, and it is reasonable to presume that this expansion will continue. A town of this area requires fire cover to be increased to not less than two appliances within the Burgh boundary.

In addition, the extra pump and crew will make a considerable contribution to reinforcing Rutherglen and Hamilton and in the provision of relief crews elsewhere. This would require an additional Water Tender appliance and 16 whole time Firemen.




Lanark is the centre of a large rural district and I consider that the present arrangements for fire cover are satisfactory.




Carluke at the present time has a population of over 8,000, just about the same as that in the Burgh of Lanark. However, Carluke is scheduled as a development area and the population is expected to increase to over 20,000 in the next few years. Therefore, I consider that a two pump Retained Station should be set up at Carluke and Richard A. Moira, A.R.I.B.A., 12 Inverleith Road, Edinburgh, 3, who is the Architect responsible for preparing the Carluke Town plan, has been in communication with me and I have asked him to ear-mark a site, approximately 180’ x 180', at the junction of Hosier Street and Stewart Street, Carluke. This he has done and I would recommend that the necessary arrangements be entered into to obtain this site with a view to building a Fire Station in due course. The establishment should be 20 retained firemen.




The present system of day-manning at Bishopbriggs is considered a satisfactory method of providing fire cover in that area and as the negotiations are at present proceeding to acquire a site amounting to 2.05 acres of land at Hilton Road, Bishopbriggs, for the erection of a fire station a dwelling house, I recommend that this be proceeded with at the earliest opportunity.




The Stepps unit has proved to be of considerable advantage, attending a considerable number of incidents in this area and providing reinforcements to Bishopbriggs and Coatbridge and, in addition, they provide part of the first attendance to the Millerston District of Glasgow. The premises are considered sub-standard and the provision of a new Station is necessary. A site for a new Station will require to be provided in Stepps.




This Fire Station is located in a garage leased from the Office in Charge, Sub Officer Mackie and, while suitable for housing the present appliance, falls very far short of the desirable standard of Fire Station. There are practically no facilities for cleaning and care and maintenance of equipment or training. In addition, the egress from the Station leads onto a very narrow roadway which presents difficulty both in turning out and reversing the appliance. I am at present endeavouring to obtain a suitable site in Lesmahagow with the help of the County Planning Officer and I consider it imperative that a new one-pump Retained Fire Station be provided at Lesmahagow at the earliest opportunity.




The existing Station at Larkhall meets the present needs of the Community but, in the event of any expansion of industry and the population, consideration will require to be given to providing a new Fire Station.

I consider the fore mentioned proposals will meet the immediate needs of meeting and strengthening the fire cover of the County. It follows, of course, that, with additional development or the setting up of new towns, the question of fire cover would require to be reviewed in the light of any new development.


Proposed Building Programme


I, estimate that a capital outlay of approximately £600, 000 will be necessary to implement the immediate and outstanding requirements for new Fire Stations and the completion of the existing Fire Stations at Coatbridge, East Kilbride and Lanark which are incomplete. I am purposely suggesting a five year programme in an endeavour to try and overcome the arrears of building work and, if we are to keep pace with industrial development, we must speed up the rate of building of new Fire Stations. Furthermore, as contained in Fire Service Circular No. 13/1966, which deals with the report of the working party on fire ground procedure, the recommendation is that there should be a greater number of smaller Fire Stations in the larger centres of population. This is because it is becoming increasingly apparent that road traffic is the major factor in retarding the attendance of appliances at fires.


                Year Building Starts                          Fire Station

                1967                                                        Bellshill, Cambuslang, Hose and drill tower, etc., Coatbridge.

                1968                                                        Rutherglen, Lesmahagow, Hose and drill tower, etc., Lanark.

                1969                                                        Motherwell and Wishaw, Hose and drill tower, etc., East Kilbride.

                1970                                                        Bishopbriggs and Carluke.

                1971                                                        Stepps.


In submitting these proposals for your consideration, I realize full well the implications of them as far as cost is concerned but, as Lanarkshire is a development district and expanding rapidly in the industrial field, it is essential that the standards of fire cover must be maintained. Allied to this is the shorter working week now being worked by Firemen, i.e., 48 hours per week, and, as we are providing a Service to the Public, it follows that as the hours of duty reduce more men and officers must be employed to maintain that standard of cover. In Appendix 2 and 3, I have sumarised the proposals for increased establishment, together with an approximation of the cost per annum to the Brigade.


                                                                                Yours sincerely


                                                                                John Stewart





Appendix I


Shows travel times and distances from Fire Stations to districts. (I didn’t copy this) Pages 57 and 58.


Appendix II


In considering the additional personnel required to strengthen the Brigade establishment, one must remember that because of the 48 hour week it is necessary to employ four men in order to do the work of one. This must be to do so in order to preserve continuity of fire cover over the 24 hours of each day.


                Hamilton Fire Station                           9 men                                      to man new Snorkel appliance

                Hamilton HQ Control Room               2 firewomen                           Control Room duties

                Motherwell Fire Station                      9 men                                      to man Emergency Tender

                Coatbridge Fire Station                       16 men                                    to man third appliance

                East Kilbride Fire Station                    16 men                                    to man second appliance

                Bellshill                                                  27 men                                    to man new Fire Station

                Cambuslang                                          12 Part Time Retained          to man new Fire Station

                Carluke                                                   20 Part Time Retained          to man new Fire Station

                Brigade HQ                                           Civilian Staff, 3 boilermen/Handymen, 1 Car Washer,

                                                                                Cleaners (5 female), (2 Firewomen Control Room duties)


If approval is given to above proposals, the extra cost to the Brigade would be approximately £91,000 per annum which would cover wages and salaries, insurance, uniform and equipment, etc.




Typed from Lanarkshire Fire Brigade Joint Committee Minutes 1966, pages 47 to 59.

Mitchell Library Ref C01/11/4.