On the 16th September, 1912 the Council decided on the Establishment of a Fire Brigade for the County of Renfrew and Johnstone.
The first Firemaster in 1912 was James Williamson a Merit Class fireman with the Glasgow Fire Brigade.
The West Renfrewshire Fire Brigade covered the Lower District of the County of Renfrew, the Upper District being covered by the East Renfrewshire Fire Brigade under Firemaster Angus.
In 1913 the Brigade consisted of a Firemaster, Deputy Firemaster, Motor Driver or Chauffeur, and three ordinary fireman with a Dennis Fire Engine housed in a new Fire Station at the Thorn in Johnstone. The wages were as follows :-

Chauffeur 30/- per week for first year  
Dep Firemaster 28/- per week for first year annual increase of 1/- per week to 33/- max
Ord Fireman 25/- per week for first year annual increase of 1/- per week to 30/- max

and a free house and taxes for all.
There were no applicants for the Dep Firemaster and the wage was increased to 34/- per week and max of 40/-
All members got a tunic, trousers, jersey, belt, boots, helmet and insurance.
Fires outwith the district (e.g. Greenock, Paisley who had own brigade) were charged as follows :-

  First hour Second hour Third hour Each hour thereafter
Firemaster £1      
Deputey Firemaster   & Chaffeur each 5/- 4/- 3/- 2/-
Firemen each 4/- 3/- 2/- 2/-
Motor Fire Engine £2 - 2/- £1 - 8/- £1 £1

Washing of hose and cleaning engine 10/-. Milage outwith boundary 1/9 per mile and 25% on the amount of the foregoing items for tear and wear of the engine and appliances.
When the WRFB was formed there was hose in Kilbarchan, Kilmacolm, and Lochwinnoch.
There were Auxiliary Firemen at Johnstone and in the villages of Inverkip, Wemyss Bay, Kilmacolm and Lochwinnoch.
Each station had four Auxiliary Firemen who were supplied with a helmet, belt, axe, coupling keys and boots.

The equipment at each station consisted of :-
400 feet two and three quarter inch canvas hose (bayonet couplings)
1     stand-pipe (double outlet)
1     3/4" branch pipe
1     branch stop nozzle
1     plug key
1     hand saw
1     large axe
1     crow bar
1     hand lamp
1     hammer
1     chisel
       leather washers for couplings

This equipment was kept in sheds, the one at Wemyss Bay in the Blacksmith's yard was painted bright red as was the one at Inverkip which was on a site belonging to Sir Hugh Shaw Stewart. Both of these sheds were erected at a cost of £10 - 10/- each. The one at Lochwinnoch was situated at the Police Station and painted dark green with bright red doors as was the one at Kilmacolm which was situated opposite the Police Station adjoining the Church wall.
Lord Inverclyde offered to lend his hose cart at Castle Wemyss to assist in case of an outbreak of fire in the neighbourhood.
Auxiliary Fireman got a Retaining Fee of £1 - 1/- per annum, 2/- for the first and 1/- for every hour after, 1/- for a drill. They drilled once a month for the first six months, then once every quarter.
5/12/1913 Fire at Kelly House Wemyss Bay, damage £15,000.




  1912 to 1928 Firemaster James Williamson
  1928 to 1936 Firemaster Andrew Brodie
  1936 to 1941 Firemaster John Craig



                                                  1912 to 1941                                                             3 Overton Crescent, Thornhill, JOHNSTONE.



  1913 HS569 Dennis Motor Fire Engine P
  1926 HS4150 Halley MP
  1926 HS? Albion (ExBus) M/Tdr
  1931 HS6300 Morris Commercial MP

In 1913 the Brigade had one Fire Engine.
In 1940 the Brigade had two Pumping appliances and one fire Tender.




Firemaster's Death

The death took place suddenly yesterday at the Fire Station, Johnstone, of Mr Andrew Brodie, firemaster, West Renfrew Brigade. Mr Brodie had 16 years association with the brigade.
A native of Kilbarchan, Mr Brodie is survived by a widow and son.
(Daily Record 13/3/1936)









<PHOTO> Firemaster Craig


County of Renfrew and Burgh of Renfrew Johnstone, Barrhead.

Fire Brigade Joint Committee.

County Council :
Convener of County, Sir Hugh Shaw Stewart, Bart, K. C. B.
Vice Convener, A. A. Hagart Spiers.
Sir Alexander Taylor.                           A. R. Austin.
Lt.-Col. J. Craig Barr.                            Joseph T. Grey
William Johnstone.

Convener of Joint Fire Brigade Committee, Major D. K. Michie

Vice Convener of Joint Fire Brigade Committee, H. Alston Hewat.

Burgh of Renfrew:
Major D. K. Mickie
Andrew Mitchell
John S. Yuill

Burgh of Johnstone:
Hugh M. Keith
James Smith

Burgh of Barrhead:
G. C. McDiarmid
William Fitzsimmons



The West Renfrewshire Fire Brigade was instituted in June, 1913, and the first fire attended by the Brigade was on 20th June of that year, prior to the forming of this Brigade the only Brigade in the western area of the County, excluding the large Burghs, was a number of auxiliaries with a hose reel at Johnstone, their quarters being at the rear of the Police Office.
These auxiliary firemen were mostly all tradesmen and in the event of a fire occurring they had to depend on verbal messages from the Police, although good men and keen on their job, they must have felt within themselves what a hopeless task it was to run from their work to the Police Office and perhaps, on arrival there, to discover that the fire was in the Thornhill district, with no other means of getting there except by running with full equipment and dragging a hose reel.
st Auxiliary Fire Brigade for Johnstone Burgh. (8 men and equipment)
The members of the Johnstone Town Council at that time must have realised the inadequacy of their equipment owing to every fire of any consequence being nearly always a complete burn out, therefore they approached the Renfrew County Council as to instituting a Fire Brigade for the whole of the western area of the County with the Fire Station to be in Johnstone. The County Council took the matter up and the result was the forming of the West Renfrewshire Fire Brigade.
Firemaster James Williamson, who was a member of the Glasgow Fire Brigade, was appointed to take charge, and in a very short time he had  a very efficient service under his command.
The personnel and equipment at that time were: Firemaster, Deputy, and four firemen, with Dennis motor fire engine, complete with hose, ladders, etc., and a pumping capacity of 500 gallons per minute. I can almost hear the sigh of relief which must have been given by many persons in this area when they began to realise the prompt and efficient way that this small body of men when given the proper appliances could tackle and extinguish fires, saving thousands of pounds which had hitherto gone up in smoke.
Firemaster Williamson remained in charge up to September, 1928, when he had to retire through health reasons.
At that time, Mr. Andrew Brodie, who had been Deputy Firemaster under Mr. Williamson since 1925, was appointed Firemaster on 27
th September, 1928. He remained in command until 28th February, 1936, when he was taken suddenly ill and passed away on 12th March, 1936, and was interned in Abbey Cemetery, Johnstone, on 14th March, with full Brigade honours.
Mr. John Craig, who was Deputy Firemaster under Firemaster Brodie from 1928, was appointed Firemaster on 14
th January, 1937, and is still in command.
It is interesting to note that in the first year of the Brigade only 22 calls to fire were received, and for the year ending 15
th May, 1940, 122 calls were received and responded to, showing an increase of 100 calls; this can mostly be accounted for by the ever increase in population and buildings; also there is a vast amount of highly inflammable materials used at the present day compared with 1913.
It is interesting to note that the total distance travelled by the vehicles for Fire Brigade purposes was 2,721 miles, and various lengths of hose to the total of 16,500 feet were used for extinguishing fires during this year.
<PHOTO> West Renfrewshire Fire Brigade. Firemaster J. Williamson. (6 men in front of an appliance)
The fireman’s life is not just a matter of sitting in the fire station waiting on a call to fire. They have to be trained just as much as the sailor and soldier, to meet difficulties, and face danger, more so in the present day, owing to the amount of chemicals in different varieties which are now in production. He runs many grave risks of losing his life, and although it is his job, he never thinks of himself, but does it for the sake of his fellow man.
In conclusion, I should like to like to give some hints on what to do and what not to do in case of fire, and also the correct way to call on the Fire Brigade:-
Should you discover your house on fire, keep all doors and windows closed, do not waste valuable time by trying to extinguish it yourself unless it is only a small fire. Telephone the Fire Brigade immediately. If you do not know the telephone number of the nearest Fire Station, simply lift the receiver and ask the Exchange to put you through to the Fire Station. When you get through and should it be this Station, you will hear the fireman on duty say: Fire Station Johnstone. All you have to do then is to give as clear a message as possible, stating exactly what street and town the fire is in.
If you think you can cope with a fire yourself, do so by all means, but it is always safer to call the Brigade, even although you think the fire is out. Many a large fire has been the result of failing to do so.
In almost any fire there will be a certain amount of smoke, the amount depending largely on the material which is burning. Quite a small fire can produce a large amount of smoke in which it would be difficult or even impossible to remain unless the correct method were understood. Air near the floor will be comparatively free from smoke, and will be cooler. Therefore, in a room full of smoke, always crawl with the mouth as near the floor as possible. The air will be purer, one can see better, and there is not the same danger of falling over anything.
In the first place, I mentioned that all doors and windows should be kept closed. Never forget the value of closed doors and windows, it greatly holds back smoke and hot gasses and also restricts the movement of air currents, and without air a fire can only burn slowly.
If a fire has gained headway in a house and escape is cut off for the moment, you would be safer awaiting help in a room with a closed door than you would be in a passage or stairways. Passages and stairways act as a flue to the fire.
<PHOTO> The First Fire Brigade Committee. (6 Firemen and 10 committee in front of appliance in front of station.)

Incendiary Bombs

The pattern of incendiary bombs most likely to be used, on account of its effectiveness and weight, is the one kilo electron bomb.
The bomb consists of a thick tube 9 inches long and 2 inches in diameter, made of an alloy of magnesium with a proportion of aluminium. On the one end there is a tail or finn about 5 inches long to steady the bomb in flight. The tube is filled with thermite which is a priming composition. The bomb weighs about 2lbs. 2 ozs. and is fitted at one end with an igniter. There is no dead weight, the whole being incendiary material.
On impact, a needle in the igniter is driven into a small percussion cap which ignites the priming composition which burns at a terrific heat and serves to melt and ignite the magnesium tube. The molten magnesium burns from ten to twenty minutes and will set fire to anything inflammable within a few feet.
When we bear in mind that a large bomber can carry up to 2,000 of these light bombs, it will be realised by everyone that the Fire Brigades will pretty well have their hands full, and that it is really up to everybody to help beat this menace.
The following are some hints which will be helpful in dealing with incendiary bombs:-
Householders should keep every available bucket and basin always full of water to avoid a heavy draw from water mains during a raid, which would greatly hamper the Fire Brigades.
Do not throw a bucketful of water on a bomb: this would cause violent explosions. Apply the water with a fine spray. This does not extinguish the bomb, but causes an accelerated combustion, allowing the bomb to burn out much quicker and also damps the materials in close proximity. If no water or stirrup hand pump is available, dry sand can be applied effectively with a long handled shovel, partly smothering the burning magnesium, when it should then be quickly raked up, dumped in a bucket with some sand in the bottom and thrown into the backyard, where it can be left to burn itself out.
To completely control the bomb and the resulting fire, about five to six gallons of water are generally required. However, to relieve the water mains when a raid occurs, it is better always to have a good reserve to fall back on. Remember, you are saving your own home, which it has taken years to build up. The Brigade will do there utmost to cope with the fires, but there is a limit, and a helping hand from everyone will be greatly appreciated.
Remember, you will assist the Brigade if you draw your water now, not after a raid. Every drop of water in the mains will be required by the Brigade.

                                                                                                                John Craig,

<PHOTO> Funeral of Firemaster Andrew Brodie being led by Firemaster Craig (HS5190)

Personnel and Equipment

The personnel and equipment comprises of: Firemaster, Deputy, and six men are the normal staff, today, however, owing to the war conditions, there are also 18 auxiliary firemen (whole-time), and 145 auxiliary firemen (part-time). The regular staff are on 24 hours’ duty, with one day off in eight. Actual active working hours are from 7a.m. to 5p.m. Fire engines (2), pumping capacity 350/400 g.p.m., fire tender (1), canvas hose in feet, 4,400.
Owing to hostilities Firemaster Craig has had a very busy time, organising the auxiliary fire brigades, training new men to their work, and arranging for their duties to work in with the regular staff. There are thirteen auxiliary fire service stations which he is responsible for, and it entails a tremendous amount of work and responsibility. The thirteen auxiliary fire stations are:-

16            Elderslie                 Connelly’s garage

17            Johnstone             Clyde garage

18            Johnstone             headquarters, Thornhill

19            Linwood                Paper Mills

20            Johnstone             Flax Mills

21            Millikenpark          Paper Mill

22            Kilbarchan             Marshall’s Yard, Ewing Street

23            Howwood              Midton House, garage

24            Lochwinnoch        Football Clubhouse, off Calder Street

25            Bridge of Weir      Bank Head, Houston Road

26            Houston                Houston House, garage

27            Bishopton             Langa, Old Greenock Road

28            Kilmacolm              McGarva’s garage


Burning of Stewart’s Mill

(One of Johnstone’s Fire Disasters).

A tragic episode in the history of Johnstone was the burning of Stewart’s cotton mill, an event which was described at the time as “one of those dreadful occurences at which humanity turns pale.” Between the hours of three and four o’clock on an afternoon in January, 1828, Stewart’s mill, which stood on the Mill Brae, where now is Finlayson’s thread factory, was discovered to be on fire, and, in an incredibly short space of time, the whole structure was reduced to a heap of ashes, six persons losing their lives and many others receiving dreadful injuries in the catastrophe.
The fire broke out in the picking room, but how exactly it originated was never known. It was conjectured that a piece of iron had been in the cotton wool, and had come into contact with the teeth of the picker, a machine used for separating the wool and which revolved at a high speed. A spark resulting from the contact set fire to the inflammable wool, and so caused the conflagration. The alarm being given, a number of men rushed into the room where the fire was, and did everything in their power to stay its ravages, but all to no purpose, and in a few moments the whole place was in flames. The picking shop was on the basement of the building, which was three storeys high, and each storey being connected by a broad wooden staircase, the flames soon fixed on the staircase, and, assisted by a strong current of air, made their way upward with astonishing rapidity. If the workmen who had first observed the fire had had the presence of mind to at once warn the workers in the upper flats, all injury or loss of life might have been averted, but, in the excitement and agitation of the moment, this simple duty was overlooked, and the first intimation that those in the second and third flats received of the building being on fire was the presence of smoke. At once all was hurry and alarm, every one seeking safety in instand and precipitate flight. During all this time the engine was going, and ten persons were working away in the garret totally oblivious of the fact that the building below them was a devouring furnace.
On smoke being observed coming through the floor, they with one accord made a rush for the door, only to be met by clouds of smoke and sheets of flame. In a moment it was apparent that escape in that direction was an impossibility. A window was opened, and several of the workers got onto the roof, but even there they could not wait long for the heat was intolerable and smoke was rising in choking clouds. Below was a great crowd, in which were fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters of workers in the mill, and pervading the crowd was the greatest misapprehension as to the number of persons in the burning building. The agonising shrieks which greeted the appearance of such as escaped to the roof when they became visible through the murky clouds that enveloped it, will, said an eye witness of the scene, ring long in the ears of those that heard it.
<PHOTO> Steam Engine in use up to 1910.
One girl leaped from a skylight window, and, landing on her head, was instantly killed. Another a mere child and an orphan, flung herself from the roof and was also killed. Other two boys and two girls likewise threw themselves from the burning building and were grievously injured. In all the frenzied excitement only one small boy in the garret retained his presence of mind, and thereby saved his life. Hugh Shearer effected his escape unhurt by passing through a window and climbing on to the roof of an adjoining tenement. He entreated the others to follow his example as the only means of saving their lives, but they were too far gone in stupefaction and terror to be capable of action of any sort. Of the ten persons in the garret Hugh Shearer was the only one to escape without injury; six perished by fire or by jumping from the roof, and three were grieviously injured.
It is recorded that the managers and workers of Messrs. Brown, Malloch & Co.’s mill over which there was brought the fire engine of that establishment to the spot and made strenuous exertions. It is also recorded that the town fire engine was early on the spot, but was extremely inefficient, a condition in which it remained until a year or two ago, when, on the initiative and largely at the expense of the County Authorities, the present up to date establishment was erected at The Thorn.
Mr. John Fraser was in the crowd that witnessed the burning of Stewart's mill, and, at a Co-operative soiree, held in the Town Hall in 1870. he declared that never would he forget the heart-rending- sight.
<PHOTO> An old Manual Engine. (At a fire with men around pumping it)
Mr. Robert Stewart, the owner of the mill, was a highlander, and many highlanders were employed in his factory. "Many old and frail of the same race," said Mr. Fraser, "worked outside the factory at various occupations connected with the cotton trade." Robert Stewart loved his race, and he was to them in this district a kind of nursing father. He was the first cloth merchant in Johnstone, and conducted his business in a most upright and honourable manner and, as his reward, died a pauper in the South of Scotland.
The late ex-Provost Nisbet Thomson was also a witness of the burning of Stewart's mill, and on one occasion recalled the interesting fact that a boy who escaped from the burning; building became afterwards a distinguished clergyman in the person of the Rev. Neil Livingstone, D.D., of Stair.

Fire-Fighting Services During Peace-Time and War

The auxiliary fire brigades that are being-formed in all parts of the United Kingdom, are defined as civilian organisations for the protection and preservation of civilian life and property. Free from anything approaching class or political distinction they are solely directed against the ravages of a common enemy fire, which destroys life and property, without selecting its victims.
Fire is admittedly a good servant but a terribly bad master. Official figures of direct losses from outbreaks of fire in Great Britain and Ireland during the period of 1933-1937 inclusive, show the total to be more than fifty millions pounds sterling.
Bear in mind that this represents actual direct loss by fire. When consequential losses are taken into account, such as stoppage of trade, loss of wages and other indirect results, the figure becomes almost incalculable.
Millions of pounds, however, are as nothing when compared with the loss of human life. Children, women and men, are killed by fire in appalling numbers; and, a world wide total would show a frightful example of the disasters which people of all politics and beliefs combine to resist.
The official figures now available show that no fewer than 8,080 human beings were burned to death in the period 1932-1936 inclusive in England, Scotland and Wales.
On an average, 585 children under the age of five years are annually killed by fire in Great Britain. Besides these dead. there are thousands of people maimed, disfigured and incapacitated.
<PHOTO> Present day personnel of West Renfrewshire Fire brigade, Johnstone.
<PHOTO> West Renfrewshire’s First Fire Engine.


Can any stronger reason be advanced for the formation of auxiliary fire brigades? Anything which can be done to lessen the wastages of life and excruciating suffering of fire's victims should surely have the support and encouragement of every man in every degree of life.
Another line of reasoning is found in the fact that fires occur at intervals and that losses of life and property are spread over periods.
An ounce is appreciable a part of a ton. but, by itself, its weight is not great: 35 thousand ounces (or to say one ton) in one parcel constitute a different matter.
Equally well, if a year's (or even a month's) fire loss of life and property occurred in a few minutes, or even a few hours, it would be a gigantic disaster and the terror and dreadful suffering would be beyond thought.
However, intervals occur between accidental fires, and although our losses are terrific when considered over a period of years, the series of major and minor disasters caused by fire during one's lifetime are generally forgotten, unless oneself, a relative or some friend has been involved.
A little thought, however, brings to mind ghastly newspaper reports of death by fire suffered by innocent children, invalids, women and others incapable of helping themselves, when the panic fiend, who works hand in hand with fire. has also contributed to the death total.
No civilised people can sit still and allow fire, or any other controllable menace to work its will without restraint. Fire prevention and fire extinction are, therefore, branches of defence which commend themselves to all humanitarians.
It would, therefore, require no further demonstration to prove the necessity for all citizens of this country to interest themselves in the organisations now being formed in the principal towns and cities, whereby every fit person can have the opportunity to learn modern methods of fire-fighting.
Fire-fighting experts say that, it is the first few seconds that count of any fire, and that every outbreak is due to human imprudence.
Every fire has to make a start, and if the right person is nearby and knows what to do, an incipient outbreak can be prevented from developing- into a conflagration.


Promptitude and coolheadedness combined with a little training in rescue work, will preserve life and save property, which includes the weekly pay-packet.
"Fire consciousness" or the understanding of the dangers of fire, would, if thoroughly appreciated by everyone, render legislation redundant in regard to kitchen fire guards in the home, complicated compulsions in public buildings and factories, and elsewhere, because fire precautions would be undertaken naturally and without legal pressure.
It may also be claimed that knowledge of fire-fighting and certainly fire prevention, should form part of each efficient citizen's mental equipment, exactly as first-aid training to deal quickly with physical injuries is now becoming general.
Early records of Chinese civilisation show that fire-fighting organisations were recognised as necessities centuries ago, while in the medieval times in Europe and elsewhere, evidence of fire extinguishing activities can be traced. We are therefore pressing no new thing but are merely following on lines laid down by our predecessors.


The Fire Brigade

Why is humanity so illogically unjust in its sense of values? Generals who devastate countries and soak the soil with the blood of thousands are rewarded extravagantly with titles, riches and statues. Yet how paltry comparatively is our recognition of medical science for preserving the lives of millions. And for those benefactors, who are alike the saviours of legions of lives, and of their homes and means of livelihood, their reward is to be "unwept, unhonoured and unsung." Such is the Fire Brigade—Humanity Silent Service. So unobtrusive is social life that its mighty part in safeguarding civilisation is seldom recognised.
Generally speaking, people are proud of their city or town, but is it ever considered how it is based on the eternal vigilance of their Fire Brigade. Failing them. a spark from a defective electric main, or a negligently discarded live cigarette butt, would be ample to blot out West Renfrewshire in less than a single week. Therewith thousands of human lives might be lost and the survivors rendered panic stricken and homeless, without food and the means of earning it.

"A little fire is quickly trodden out,
"Which, being suffered, rivers cannot quench altogether."

Our picture of West Renfrewshire's risk of erasure is "not altogether fantastic. Frequently in history whole quarters, and even entire cities, have been so eliminated. Apart from human life, too, it is lamentable to note how much of the records of art, literature and science in the past has been so lost to posterity. Today these vital risks are safeguarded against, so far as West Renfrewshire is concerned. by that ever vigilant of the West Renfrewshire Fire Brigade.
Simultaneously too, the Silent Service's link with our local life, every moment of the day and night, is even more intimate. During the year ending 1938 there were 95 calls and in 1939 122 calls, and instantaneously acceded to, which number is a record for this Fire Brigade. Frankly it is one of the amazing wonders of our modern social organisation how this gallant little company of men of this Fire Brigade never failing ominipresent Life Guards.
Any endeavours to trace the genesis and development of fire-fighting in West Renfrewshire, from the primitive neighbourly helpfulness to the present discipline and equipment are not exactly easy. Our local historians. sharing the unjust outlook of humanity in general, have dealt very sparingly, indeed, with the many startling stages intervening between the hectic excitement of the populace en masse with their buckets and the advent of the watch-towers, the ever ready motor engines with turbine pumps, the water towers, gas masks, and 100 ft. fire escapes of to-day.



Prinicipal Fires attended to by the

West Renfrewshire Fire Brigade



21st June, 1913                      Old Mains, Inchinnan                                                                                         £250
                                                Caused by children playing with matches.

24th June, 1913                     Caldwell Bricks Works                                                                                        £350

20th July, 1913                      South Mains, Houston                                                                                       £250

27th July, 1913                      Blackstoun Brickworks                                                                                       £800
                                                Spark from flue.

6th September, 1913             Townhead Farm, Kilmacolm                                                                               £250
                                                Children playing with matches.

5th December, 1913              Kelly House, Wemyss Bay                                                                                £15,000
                                                2,200 feet of hose was used as we had to continually
                                                pump water into the fire for 12 hours. We were
                                                called to this fire at 5.39 a.m. which was not subdued
                                                until l0 p.m.

14th February, 1914              Empress Works, Mary Street, Johnstone                                                        £6,000

11th August, 1914                27 Church Street, Johnstone                                                                              £500

14th June 1915                      Joiner’s Yard, Millbrae, Bridge of Weir                                                            £1,500
                                                Quantity of machinery destroyed, fire prevented
                                                from reaching gas works and tenements near by.

25th June, 1915                     Main Street, Bridge of Weir                                                                               £350

23rd December, 1915            68 High Street, Johnstone                                                                                  £600
                                                Hot ashes from stove.

30th December 1915             Blackland Mill Dye Works, Paisley                                                                   £250

12th January 1916                 West Fulton Farm, Kilbarchan                                                           ‘               £400
                                                Dropped light.

10th February, 1916              7 High Street West, Lochwinnoch                                                                    £300

16th May, 1916                     Lilyvale Bishopton                                                                                               £350

2nd September, 1916             Roebank Print Works, Lochwinnoch                                                                £450
                                                Body of man found, supposed to be that of a man
                                                named Peter Stewart, a vagrant.

17th October, 1916               Blackland Mill Dye Works, Stanelv, Paisley                                                   £35,000
                                                Paisley Fire Brigade, Blackland Mill Works Brigade
                                                and Glenfield Print Works Brigade assisted in
                                                putting out fire.

27th March, 1917                  Greenhill Farm, Elderslie                                                                                      £250
                                                Cause of fire a dropped light.

13th April, 1917                     Wester Fulwood Farm, Houston                                                                       £350

4th March, 1918                    Hatton Farm, Bishopton                                                                                     £800

3rd May, 1918                        Sailors’ Orphan House, Kilmacolm                                                                   £12,000

3rd June, 1918                        William Street Johnstone                                                                                    £800

9th May, 1919                       Barrodger Farm, Lochwinnoch                                                                          £450

4th June, 1919                       1 Norwood Place, Bridge of Weir Road, Kilmacolm                                       £600

3rd July, 1919                         Johnstone Football Clubhouse                                                                         £350

2nd December, 1919              Royal Army Ordnance Depot, Georgetown                                                     £1,500

23rd January, 1920                Pattern Store, Laighcartside Street, Johnstone                                               £2,500

14th May, 1920                     62 High Street, Johnstone                                                                                  £250

12th July, 1920                      15 Collier Street, Johnstone                                                                                £300

29th September, 1920           Railey Farm, Houston                                                                                          £250
                                                1,700 feet of hose used.

14th December, 1920            Burnbank Chemical Works, Elderslie                                                                £4,000

9th June, 1921                       Southbar Mansion House, Inchinnan                                                              £72,000
                                                Firemen on duty 4.p.m. till 9.35 p.m., 3 days
                                                taken, water being pumped into fire for 40 hours.

13th June, 1921                     North Hillington Farm, Cardonald                                                                     £1,500

9th July, 1921                        Tandlemuir, Lochwinnoch                                                                                  £800

17th July, 1921                      Clippens Farm, Linwood                                                                                     £250

21st August, 1921                 Midton Cottage, Howwood                                                                               £350

22nd September, 1921           Kilallan, Duchal Road, Kilmacolm                                                                     £1,500
                                                Water pressure poor.

27th September, 1921           East Yonderton Farm, Bridge of Weir                                                               £300

21st December, 1921             Motor Car near St Brides, Howwood                                                                £250
                                                Back fire.

28th December, 1921            Motor Car, Greenock Road, near Aerodrome, Inchinnan                              £300
                                                Escape of petrol. Passenger’s cut by broken glass,
                                                first aid rendered to the injured by Fire Brigade.

28th December, 1921            Motor Car, Beith Road, Lochwinnoch                                                              £250

21st May, 1922                      West United Free Church, Church Street, Johnstone                                    £2,000
                                                Wilful Fire Raising. Organ and woodwork of pulpit

27th May, 1922                     Cartside Mills, Milliken Park                                                                              £250

6th June, 1922                       Meadside, New Street, Kilbarchan                                                                    £450
                                                Hot ashes.

9th July, 1922                        The Bakery, Ogston Place, Inverkip                                                                 £350

18th April, 1923                     Paper Mills, Linwood                                                                                          £500
                                                20 Tons waste paper destroyed.

19th April, 1923                     Davidshill Hospital, Dalry, Ayrshire                                                                 £500
                                                Spark from chimney.

6th June 1923                        Ladyland House, Kilbirnie, Ayrshire                                                                £350

29th June, 1923                     Orphan Houses of Scotland, Bridge of Weir                                                   £3,000
                                                Spark from chimney, patients taken to safety.

2nd July, 1923                        Burnside Place, Kilmacolm                                                                                 £350

12th September, 1923           Midtonfield Bleach Works, Howwood                                                             £3,500
                                                2,500 feet hose used.

9th October, 1923                 United Free Church, Gourock                                                                            £20,000
                                                Assisted Greenock and Gourock Fire Brigade.

16th December, 1923            “Sand Point,” Kilmacolm                                                                                    £350

23rd December, 1923            Barretts Land, Milliken Sreet, Houston                                                            £500

25th June, 1924                     Castle Semple House, Lochwinnoch                                                                £3,000

24th September, 1925           Kilmacolm Hydro Pathic                                                                                     £1,200

11th July, 1926                      Motor Bus on Greenock Road                                                                           £500
                                                Bus completely destroyed.

30th July, 1926                      Banktop Works, Campbell Street, Johnstone                                                  £15,000

27th October, 1926               36 Highbarholm, Kilbarchan                                                                               £600

8th December, 1926              4 New Street, Kilbarchan                                                                                    £800
                                                Block of buildings.

19th January, 1927                Calder Glen Mills, Lochwinnoch                                                                       £15,000

21st February, 1927              Greenock Road                                                                                                     £1,200
                                                Two buses on fire, one death.

17th October, 1927               Gateside, Ludovic Square, Johnstone                                                              £350

5th December, 1927              Shillingworth Farm, Bridge of Weir                                                                   £1,000

11th October, 1928               Over Johnstone Farm, Millikenpark                                                                  £600

28th February, 1929              .John McDowal Eng. Works, .Johnstone                                                        £800

7th March, 1929                    Peockland Mills, High Street, Johnstone                                                         £600

4th July, 1929                        Loudon Bros., High Street, Johnstone                                                             £10,000

24th September, 1929           Motor Bus, Main Road, Bishopton                                                                  £1,000

25th March, 1930                  Glenside, Glenburn Dv., Kilmacolm                                                                   £1,100
                                                Fire caused by spark from chimney; roof and top
                                                flat destroyed.

20th July, 1930                      Walkinshaw Street, Johnstone                                                                          £750

16th November, 1930           Pattern Stores, Ellerslie Street, .Johnstone                                                      £10,000

10th August, 1931                Neukhouse, Gleniffer Road, Paisley                                                                 £2,000

6th November, 1931             Bank House, Canal Street, Johnstone                                                              £5,000

10th June, 1932                     Empress Works, Mary Street, Johnstone                                                        £400

22nd December, 1932            Hareshaw Farm, Bishopton                                                                                £500

4th January, 1933                  Gardener’s Bothy, Castle Wemyss, Wemyss Bay                                         £800

5th June, 1933                       India Tyre Factory, Inchinnan                                                                           £1,500

12th January, 1935                Priestside Farm, Kilmacolm                                                                                £1,500
                                                Large stock of live stock destroyed.

14th June, 1935                     Firelighter Factory, Linwood Road, Elderslie                                                  £1,500

20th June, 1936                     Burnbank Chemical Works                                                                                 £5,000

3rd December, 1936              Laighpark, Park Road, Johnstone                                                                      £1,800
                                                Girl and boy rescued, both being trapped on balcony.

27th April, 1938                     Town of Inchinnan Farm, Inchinnan                                                                £700

25th August, 1938                Ryefield, Dalry, Ayrshire                                                                                    £12,000

7th September, 1938             Motor Lorry, Walkinshaw Brickworks, Inchinnan                                         £300

12th September, 1938           Griers Land, Main Street, Inverkip                                                                    £600

26th October, 1938               Lochside House, Lochwinnoch                                                                         £1,000

12th November, 1938           2 Muriel Street, Barrhead                                                                                    £1,985

15th February, 1939              Sandholes Farm, Brookfleld                                                                               £400

16th May, 1939                     Howwood Road Housing Scheme, Johnstone                                                £350

6th July, 1939                        Gas Works, Kilbarchan                                                                                       £300
                                                Gas Works.

17th July, 1939                      Thirdparthall Farm, Howwood                                                                           £1,000

23rd October, 1939                The Gourock Rope Works, Port Glasgow                                                        £8,000
                                                Assisting Greenock Fire Brigade.

20th November, 1939           Royal Ordnance Factory, Bishopton                                                                £330
                                                Petrol Store.

22nd January, 1940               Hillhouse, Tandlehill Road, Kilbarchan                                                            £400

3rd February, 1940                Bridgend Farm, Elderslie                                                                                     £350

14th May, 1940                     64 High Street, Johnstone                                                                                  £500

29th May, 1940                     R.O.F. Depot, Bishopton                                                                                    £2,000



Fire Marks

Relics of 100 and 170 years ago

It was the practice during- the later half of the 18th century from about May,1767, in Scotland, until the early part of the 19th century, for a Fire Insurance office to affix the ''Mark" on the building it insured. Some of these still remain.
They were small metal plates, the earlier kind in lead or cast iron and the latter in copper, tin or other metal sheeting.
They were usually painted in various colours and some were gilt, though but little of the colouration now remains on the surviving specimens.
They were attached by screws and nails to the central part of the front buildings at a height of some twelve feet or more by the Fire Insurance Company soon after the issue of its policy on the building or its contents.
Each fire office had its own "Mark" or plate distinguished by the emblem or insignia or motto of the Committee, and often in the earlier "Marks" the number of the policy was imprinted on the "Mark."
Moreover, each fire insurance office had its own private Fire Brigade and when a fire broke out, the various private teams of firemen with their apparatus rushed to the scene and were at once guided by the "Mark" as to the fire office which was concerned in the endangering of the building.
It was usually only the Company interested in the building which remained to fight the fire, unless of course it became very threatening.
These "Marks" fell out of use, when later various fire insurance offices had each a share in the buildings of larger size and when each fire brigade, and still later, public and municipal brigades attended fires generally.





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


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