POLLOKSHAWS FIRE BRIGADE
1795 to 1908?
1795 Little Slate House north side of
1834 Greenbank, Harriet Street.
1826 Thomas Auld
1834 Mr Baird
1826 Fire or Water Engine
1858 Manual Fire Engine
In the early days of the Community there was a fire brigade in the village; but whether it was established by the newly constituted authority is not quite clear. In 1795 there is a reference# to the “little slate house some time ago built by the inhabitants of Pollokshaws… for the purpose of keeping the fire engine”. It measured eleven feet in front, and stood on the north side of the Shaw Bridge, between the main street and the road leading to the river Cart, which, about a century and a half earlier, was forded at that place.
#Inventory of the title deeds of the property belonging to the Community of Pollokshaws, 1810.
(Pollokshaws: Village and Burgh 1600-1912. Page 49?.)
THE FIRE BRIGADE
The Town Council of the Burgh of Barony were not behind the Town Council of the Community in protecting the property of the inhabitants against the danger of fire. They possessed a fire-engine, sometimes in the official records called the water engine, and though there was no regularly constituted fire brigade it may be supposed that when an outbreak occurred there was no lack of willing workers. The cost of maintaining the engine was trifling—in 1826 Thomas Auld, engineer, was allowed £2 for keeping it in repair—but small though the outlay was the Town Council did not think that they should bear the burden alone, and the insurance companies doing business in the Burgh were invited to contribute a proportion of the expenditure. A fire brigade was not established until 1856, and two years later a new engine was purchased from Mr. Herkless, Glasgow, for £65, less £10 received for the old article. Towards this heavy outlay the owners of public works as well as the insurance companies were asked to subscribe. The engine, a manual one, requiring over a dozen men to work effectively, was the object of genuine admiration at the time of its appearance, and for a long period it did much useful work in the Burgh and neighbourhood, for the Pollokshaws Fire Brigade were willing to answer any call from whatever quarter it came. When the Town Bell sounded the alarm, the firemen hurried to the fire-station, and there they learned the situation of the fire, employing horses for the conveyance of the engine if the place was distant, and dragging it along, with the embarrassing assistance of the populace, when only a short journey had to be accomplished. Occasionally when a fire occurred during the day it was difficult to get all the men, some of whom might be working outside of Pollokshaws, collected, and great delay took place before the brigade was ready to start for the conflagration. Throughout the night there was less delay, though the time occupied in awakening the firemen must have been considerable. One night a building some distance from Pollokshaws went in a blaze, and a horseman was dispatched in hot haste to summon the brigade. The messenger was a man of more than ordinary resource, and when he reached the fire-station he decided that it would be folly to waste a valuable half-hour waiting until all the firemen were informed that their presence was urgently required. So with the scanty assistance available he burst open the door of the shed which housed the engine, yoked the horse, and returned at top speed to the place from which he had come, confidently believing that there would be a sufficient number of people there to work the pump. He was right in his belief, and the only thing that prevented the success of his commendable daring was that he had forgotten to bring the hose and nozzles. The introduction of steam pumps to fire engines rendered the Pollokshaws machine obsolete. A proposal to purchase a “steamer” had to be abandoned, the expense being too great, and when big fires raged assistance had to be procured from the Glasgow Fire Brigade, who never failed to respond to a call. Many years passed before an efficient fire extinguishing system was introduced, and it was accomplished under the Local Government (Scotland) Act, 1908, which enabled the Town Council to arrange with the District Committee of Upper Renfrewshire for the services, within the Burgh, of the Fire Brigade which was established by that authority. The Brigade, consisting of a motor pump, and a permanent staff, with certain auxiliary men, was accommodated in the tenement built by the Town Council in Factory Street. Mr. Charles Angus, late of the Edinburgh Fire Brigade, was firemaster. This arrangement for the extinction of fires existed until the incorporation of the Burgh in the City.*
*The County Fire Brigade continued to occupy the Factory Street premises until the completion of the new fire station at Darnley in1915.
(Pollokshaws: Village and Burgh 1600-1912. Pages 67&68.)
In 1911 Renfrewshire Fire Brigade occupied a Station in Factory Street which had been built by Pollokshaws Burgh Fire Brigade (Greenview Street? Nowadays), this was replaced by a station at Darnley in 1915 after Pollokshaws became part of Glasgow under the Glasgow Boundaries Act 1912 and the station was converted into houses.
In 1941 an improvised Fire Station was opened at 65 Ashtree Road, Pollokshaws, S3 when a building was converted into a Fire Station. This became Pollokshaws Fire Station in the Glasgow Fire Service in 1948 and remained in service until the present Pollok Fire Station was opened in 1962.
Pollokshaws Burgh Fire Brigade members were informed that their services were no longer required from 15th ult.
(Renfrewshire Council Minutes. 7/6/1911)
We said “farewell” during the year to the old war time station at Pollokshaws which came under the demolisher prior to the site being utilised for housing purposes in the new Pollokshaws Development Plan.
(Report of the Firemaster of the City of Glasgow, 1962.)
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