1 Pump, 1 Aerial Rescue Pump, 1 Major Incident Unit Wholetime.



1863 Sheds for the Fire Engines Green Street
1884 Riccarton Tollhouse + Green Street
1896 Calcutta Lodge + Riccarton Tollhouse + Green Street
22/11/1937 Tichfield Street                                                                                          Photo
25/3/1994 Campbell Street, Kilmarnock ,KA1 1HN                                                Photo



1876 to 1894 Superintendant James Yuille
1894 to 1905 Firemaster Hugh Martin
1905 to 1909 Firemaster Archibald McMillan
1909 to 1918 Firemaster Hugh Campbell
1918 to 1941 Firemaster David Inverarity
1941 to 1947 National Fire Service
  South Western Area Fire Brigade
1948 to 1953 Firemaster Peter Dunn, OBE, FIFireE
1953 to 1971 Firemaster Harry MacKay,  OBE, QFSM
1971 to 1975 Firemaster James Knowlton, CBE,  QFSM, FIFireE
  Strathclyde Fire Brigade
1975 to 1984 Firemaster James Knowlton, CBE, QFSM, FIFireE
1984 to 1991 Firemaster Clive Halliday, MIFireE
1991 to 1999 Firemaster John Jameson, QFSM, AIFireE, CIMgt
1999 to 2004 Firemaster Jeff Ord CBE QFSM OStJ GIFireE
2004 to Firemaster Brian P. Sweeney QFSM MA DipEFEng MIFireE



1863   Hand Hose Reels  
1884   3 Hand Hose Reels  
1893   Hand Pump  
1894   36 foot Ladder  
1911   Halley Fire Engine  
1926   Halley Fire pump with wheeled Escape (now 2 Halley appliances)  
1937   Dennis Wheeled Escape  
1957   1 P, 1 LtTrP, 1 TL, 1 WrTB, 1UV  
1975   WrT/L,  WrT,  WrE , TL, BA/RT  
1943 to 1960 GXA87 Dennis/Merryweather 100' TL


  First Second Aerial Retained BA/RT FoST MIU
1976 RCS6M TSD401N OSD558 OSD493H TSD311J    
1980 GGB121T YGE823S XGG732S OSD493H      
1983 EGD268X EGD270X XGG732S YGE823S      
1989 EGD268X EGD270X C812JGB YHS560S      
1990 G538PGE G539PGE C812JGB YHS560S      
1991 G538PGE G539PGE C812JGB A818XSJ      
1994 L719UGA L720UGA C812JGB        
1/1999 S263TSU L720UGA C812JGB        
2000 S263TSU L720UGA V757NGD        
2004 S263TSU L720UGA V757NGD     H516CGD  
2005 S263TSU L720UGA V757NGD       SF04TYU
2005 SF54NZK J172GUS V757NGD       SF04TYU
2006 SF06GBE SF54NZK V757NGD       SF04TYU
2007 SF07KOD SF54NZK         SF04TYU
2009 SF07KOD SF59CYG         SF05EWE
2016 Feb SF07KOD SL64MDO         SF05EWE
22/12/2022 SF07KOD SF71CHG         SF05EWE

The MIU is equipped as Mass Decontamination.


OSD558 Commer C7/Grade&Leigh/Magirus TL
TSD311J Land Rover 108/SWAFB BA/RT
RCS6M Bedford TK/NCB Angus WrT
TSD401N Bedford TK/NCB Angus WrT
OSD493H Bedford TK/HCB Angus WrE
YGE823S Dodge K1113/CFE WrL
YHS560S Dodge K1113/Fulton & Wylie WrL
XGG732S Shelvoke & Drewry/Carmichael/Magirus TL
GGB121T Dodge K1613/Fulton & Wylie WrL
EGD268X Bedford KG/CFE WrL
EGD270X Bedford KG/CFE WrL
A818XSJ Bedford TKEL/Fulton & Wylie Fire Warrior WrL
C812JGB Scania P92M/Angloco/Metz TL
G538PGE Scania 93M/Fulton & Wylie WrL
G539PGE Scania 93M/Fulton & Wylie WrL
H516CGD Mercedes 811D/Fulton and Wylie FoST
J172GUS Scania 93M-210/Emergency One WrL
L719UGA Scania 93M-210/Emergency One WrL
L720UGA Scania 93M-210/Emergency One WrL
S263TSU Scania 94D-220/Emergency One WrL
V757NGD Volvo FL10/GB Fire/Simon SS263 HP
SF04TYU Scania 114G-340/Saxon MIU
SF54NZK Scania 94D-260/Saxon RPL
SF05EWE Scania 94D-300/Saxon MIU
SF06GBE Scania P270/JDC RPL
SF07KOD Scania P310 CP14 6x2 RS /JDC/Vema 282 ARP
SF59CYG Scania P270/Polybilt/JDC RPL
SL64MDO Scania P280/JDC RPL
SF71CHG Scania P280/Emergency One (New Gen) RP





The South Western Fire Area Administration Scheme Order, 1948

  Equipment Wholetime Retained
  1 Self propelled Pump 1 Company Officer 2 Leading Firemen
  1 Turntable Ladder 2 Section Leaders 14 Firemen
  1 Towing Vehicle 4 Leading Firemen  
  1 Large Trailer pump 24 Firemen and Watchroom attendants  
  1 Light Trailer pump    
  1 Portable Power Pump    
  1 Salvage Tender    
  1 Pump Escape    


The South Western Fire Area Administration Scheme Order, 1957

  Equipment Wholetime Retained
  1 Turntable Ladder 1 Station Officer 1 Sub Officer
  4 Pump Appliances 2 Sub Officers 2 Leading Firemen
  1 Other Operational Vehicle 4 Leading Firemen 13 Firemen
    24 Firemen and Watchroom Attendants  



  Equipment Wholetime
  2 Water Tender Ladders 4 Station Officers
  1 Hydraulic Platform 4 Sub Officers
    ? Leading Firefighters
    ? Firefighters

Wholetime Firefighters operate a four watch system. (2 days, 2 nights, 4 off. Red, Blue, Green and White.)



  Equipment Wholetime
  2 Water Tender Ladders 4 Station Officers
  1 Hydraulic Platform 8 Sub Officers
  1 Foam Salvage Tender 12 Leading Firefighters
    60 Firefighters

Wholetime Firefighters operate a four watch system. (2 days, 2 nights, 4 off. Red, Blue, Green and White.)


The Foam Salvage Tender was moved to Kilmarnock from Dreghorn on the 20th March 2004 and it will be getting replaced by a Major Incident Unit. MIUs have to be put to 2 Pump stations as there is a greater amount of staff there.

When the new call signs were being implemented in the WEST SDA over a 7 week period beginning 31/8/2020 doing 1 LSO Area per week, Kilmarnock was changed from Q03 to G01.



1937 Permanent Staff appointed, Firemaster and six men.
The Fire Station in Tichfield Street was opened on 21/11/1937 to house six wholetime men and the Firemaster of the Burgh, together with their families.
The new Station in Campbell Street cost £1,488,271-21p
RSD182M Commer 1976 ??
Retained disbanded 1991 budget cuts.


1863 to 1941 Kilmarnock Fire Brigade
1941 to 1948 National Fire Service
1948 to 1975 South Western Area Fire Brigade
1975 to 2005 Strathclyde Fire Brigade
2005 to 2013 Strathclyde Fire & Rescue (Name change only.)
1/4/2013 Scottish Fire and Rescue Service






If the Corporation, took a long time to decide upon the erection of a new Fire Station, it must be acknowledged that the magnificent building which was officially opened on Monday is in every respect worthy of a town of the size and importance of Kilmarnock. The inadequacy of the premises in Green Street had been long apparent, but the Town Council had other schemes on hand which were deemed of greater urgency, and the question of a more adequate service for fire extinguishing was repeatedly shelved. Once tackled, however, the job was thoroughly and effectively overtaken, and now the burgh can fairly claim to have one of the best equipped fire stations in the provinces of Great Britain.
Besides the imposing building in Titchfield Street, the Town Council has appointed a permanent fire brigade of six members, who will be resident on the premises, and therefore ready to proceed to duty immediately on receiving a call. With a purely auxiliary brigade, there was inevitably a good deal of time lost in summoning the men either from their places of employment or from their private homes in the case of a fire alarm being sounded. Though the auxiliary system worked in a remarkably successful way, it was recognised that the time had come when a permanent staff should be appointed, and provision made for their accommodation at headquarters.
The official opening ceremony was performed by General Sir Charles Fergusson, G.C.B., G.C.M.G., D.S.O., M.V.O., LL.D., Lord Lieutenant of Ayrshire, who, in the course of his speech, congratulated the Town Council on its “wisdom and prescience” in providing such a splendid fire station and such efficient equipment for dealing with fire, of which “there is always great risk of outbreaks in a busy industrial centre like Kilmarnock.”
Following the opening ceremony, interesting demonstrations were given of rescue work and of coping with incendiary bombs in the spacious courtyard behind the fire station, and afterwards in the recreation room, handsome gifts were presented to Sir Charles Fergusson, Provost Wilson, and ex-Bailie Lamont, convener of the Streets and Watching Committee. The Town Council later entertained their guests to tea in Messrs D. Lauder & Son’s restaurant.


The new fire station has been erected on a central site in Titchfield Street on the main Kilmarnock-Ayr road. Four storeys in height, it is built of rustic brick, with white stone facings, while the windows are of the modern steel casement type, and the roof is fiat, so that it can be utilised for drilling purposes.
The ground floor consists of the Firemaster’s office, a watch room, and an engine room which provides standing space for three machines, with washing space behind. The doorways in the main building are recessed, and by this means very convenient egress is provided for the lire engines. There is a separate entrance door for each fire engine, and the doors of the engine room can be opened directly from the driver’s seat of the engines themselves, and they may be opened either individually or simultaneously. Adjoining the engine room is the watch room, Firemaster’s office, a spacious store for fire appliances, a change room and bathroom — complete with shower bath and lockers for the use of the men on their return from a fire — drying room, and suitable lavatory accommodation. The engine room and all the apartments on the ground floor are heated with low pressure hot water. All the call bells and pilot lights can be rung and lit respectively from the control room, and the master clock, which controls all the clocks throughout the building, is also operated from this room, The walls of this apartment are finished with faience in colours and the floor laid with red tiles.
Situated on the first floor is a five-apartment dwelling house for the Firemaster. Entrance to the house is obtained by means of a separate staircase from the street. Adjoining the Firemaster’s house is a large recreation hall and a kitchen and cloak room for use of the firemen. At a suitable point near the stairway and recreation hall is a sliding pole which will give the firemen quick access to the engine room in the event of a call.
The second and third floors contain six three apartment dwelling-houses for the use of the permanent firemen. Three houses are provided on each floor. These dwelling-houses each contain a living room, two bedrooms, bathroom, kitchenette and coal cellar. In the main entrance lobby to each house space has been set aside for the provision of a pram locker. The houses are laid out on modern lines, with outside landings at the back, and on each floor, at a convenient position, dust chutes leading to bins in the courtyard have been provided for the easy disposal of refuse and ashes. The houses are served by a staircase at the south end of the building, and each house has a separate entrance from a balcony which runs the full length of the building.
Behind the main building there is a large paved courtyard which will be used for drilling and training, and at the end of the courtyard there is a brick-built tower, 75 feet high, for the combined purpose of hose drying and wet drill. Also situated in the courtyard is a workshop where repairs to the engines and other Corporation vehicles will be carried out, a small joiner’s shop, a store, a battery charging room, and lockup accommodation for four cars.
The Town Council have abandoned the former system of having only auxiliary firemen and have appointed a permanent staff. The numerical strength of the Kilmarnock Fire Brigade is now 17, made up as follows:—Firemaster, deputy firemaster, motor mechanic-driver, and 4 firemen (permanent staff), and 10 auxiliary firemen. The auxiliary firemen will be trained at the Fire Station by the Firemaster. Electric call bells will be connected from the Fire Station to the homes of the auxiliary firemen, and these men will be available when required in the event of serious fires. The permanent men are all tradesmen, and when not engaged in attending fires or fire drills, they will carry out certain repairs work and other duties for the Town Council at the Fire Station. Their duties will include the maintenance of all the Fire Brigade equipment and fire engines and the repair and maintenance of Corporation motor vehicles.
The appliances and equipment belonging to the Fire Brigade department now consist of:- (1) A ‘six-cylinder 75 h.p. engine fitted with turbine pump of a capacity of 500 gallons. This engine carries a 30-feet extension ladder, 2500 feet of canvas hose, and all necessary hand appliances, and has accommodation for ten men. It was purchased in 1911 from Halley Motors, Ltd., Glasgow. (2) A four-cylinder 60 h.p. engine fitted with turbine pump of a capacity of 600 gallons. Purchased in 1926 from Halley Motors, Ltd., Glasgow, this machine has also accommodation for ten men, and carries 60-feet fire escape and 3000 feet of canvas hose in addition to the usual hand appliances. (3) A six cylinder 95 h.p. engine fitted with turbine pump having a capacity of 750 gallons. The body of this engine is enclosed and it has accommodation for ten men. The machine carries a 60-feet fire escape, 4000 feet of canvas hose, and all necessary hand appliances, and is fitted with a powerful searchlight of 3000 candle-power This engine was purchased in 1937 from Messrs Dennis Brothers of Guildford. (4) A six-cylinder 18 h.p. Singer saloon car, purchased in 1934 from Messrs Dick Brothers (Motors), Ltd., Kilmarnock, for general utility work in the department.
The new Fire Station has been erected from designs by Mr Gabriel Steel, O.B.E., F.R.I.A.S., and the estimated cost of the various works is £14,000. The measurer, for the work was Mi Robert Armour, F.S.I.
The following were the contractors :—Digger, mason, and brick works, A. A. Stuart & Co. Ltd., Glasgow; reinforced concrete work, James :Barclay, Kilmarnock; carpenter and joiner works, Alex. M. Inglis, Kilmarnock; plumber work, Thomas Wylie & Son, Kilmarnock; slater work, James Cochrane & Son, Irvine; plaster end concrete works, G. & W. Rome Kilmarnock; tile work, Toffolo, Jackson & Co. Glasgow; glazier work, George G. Kirk, Ltd., Kilmarnock; painter work, John Paton & Sons, Kilmarnock; heating installation, Samuel Gibson, Kilmarnock; electric lighting work, James W. Andrew, Kilmarnock.


The company present at the formal opening ceremony met in the courtyard behind the fire station, and then proceeded to the central engine bay inside.
Among those resent were Provost Wilson; Bailies Hood, Bowman, Gold, and M’Taggart; Treasurer Carnie; Councillors Lamont, Sym, Wark, M’Gowan, Wallace, Brown, M’Murray, Bryson, M'Cubbin, M’Minn, Walls, Hannah, Walker and Clark; Mr Norman J. Campbell, Mr W. L. Walker, Mr J. L Jones, Mr James A. Scott, Mr William Dunbar, Chief Constable Roy, Mr Robert Fyfe, Dr Nisbet, Mr A. M. M. Connell, Mr W. Thomson, Mr J. M. Colliston, Mr R. W. Lamont, Mr Adam Borland, Mr David Inverarity, Mr J. D. Wylie, Mr W. J. M’Carroll, Mr J. W. Macnaughton, Mr F. C. Oddy, Mr Frank Boyd, Mr W. W. M’Kenzie, ex-Bailie Tannahill, ex-Treasurer Blackwood, ex-Councillor Guthrie, ex-Bailie John Orr, ex-Bailie David Orr, ex-Bailie Peter Munro, ex-Bailie Edgar, Rev. D Hamilton, Mr Hugh Douglas, Mr Gabriel Steel Mr Robert Armour, Mr Andrew Aitken, Kilmarnock; Earl of Glasgow, convener of the county; Bailie Adam Hart, Mr Robert Paterson, firemaster, and Mr Galloway, ex-firemaster, Ayr; Mr W. Taylor, firemaster, Greenock; Provost Calderwood, Darvel; Provost Strachan, Galston; Provost Neil, Newmilns; Provost Hopperton and Mr Peter Dunn, firemaster, Ardrossan; Provost M’Kinlay and the Town Clerk, Irvine; Provost Kerr, Bailie Russell, and Mr John Hamilton, Town Clerk, Stewarton; Provost Wilson and the Town Clerk, Troon; Mr A. P. Carmichael and Mr Gilchrist, firemaster, Kirkcaldy; Mr Alex Ramsay, Glasgow; and representatives of the various contracting firms. Everyone present was supplied with a handsome brochure prepared by Mr Norman J. Campbell, Town Clerk, containing a description of the buildings, with a number of excellent illustrations.
Apologies for absence were intimated from Lord Rowallan, Mr Kenneth Lindsay, M. P.; Sir Neil J. Kennedy, Cochrane – Patrick, ex-Provost Henry Smith, Dean of Guild Bryce, Bailie Cairns, Councillor M’Callum, Mr John Craig, Mr D. C. Lawrence; Mr J. R. Lockie. County Clerk; Mr Thomas Boyd, Kilmarnock ;Mr James Kidd, Dundee; Mr Colin M’L. Bodie, Stewarton; the Town Clerk, Ardrossan; Mr Reid, Town Clerk, Galston; Mr Young, Town Clerk, Darvel; Mr Mair, Town Clerk, Newmilns.
Provost Wilson, who was wearing his chain of office, said they were very fortunate that day in having with them Sir Charles Fergusson, the Lord Lieutenant of the County, and he had great pleasure in calling upon him to open their new fire station. (Applause.)
Sir Charles Fergusson said he looked upon it as a great privilege in being invited to be with them that day. It was a most interesting occasion. He had been reading the brochure giving the history of Kilmarnock’s fire fighting services and it was very interesting to compare the equipment in 1889 with the magnificent equipment they saw before them that day. In reading the brochure he had also been impressed by the great care that had been taken in arranging for the accommodation of the Fire Brigade and of the men who were going to live there. It showed their

Great Wisdom and Prescience

in recognising that Kilmarnock, a flourishing town, must be properly served so far as its Fire Brigade was concerned. This was a great industrial centre and there was an enormous amount of wealthy interests involved. It was good foresight to provide the necessary protection for all that money which was invested in their burgh. A great deal of foresight had been exhibited in the planning of the building, and he wanted to draw their attention to one particular bit of foresight. Evidently it was recognised that there must be a future generation of firemen to take the place of those who were now serving there, and they would observe that in each flat a place had been provided for prams. (Laughter.) Obviously these were for the recruits for the new brigade to take the place of the present men. He would like to think of these young, embryo firemen amusing themselves from their early days by sliding down the slippery poles. (Laughter.) They were sure to be well trained. He congratulated Councillor Lamont, the convener of the committee, the Council, the contractors and all who had been connected with this scheme both in its inception and in carrying it out. They had a fine building there, they had magnificent equipment and he thought the citizens of Kilmarnock could sleep in their beds even more soundly than before, knowing that they were in every way well protected. He had much pleasure in opening the new fire station. (Applause.)
Sir Charles Fergusson then pulled a cord and the centre doors of the station slid open smoothly.
Rev. Dr Hamilton dedicated the new building in an impressive prayer.

Interesting Demonstrations

The company afterwards witnessed an interesting series of demonstrations by the members of the Fire Brigade under the direction of Firemaster Inverarity.
The alarm bell rang and in an instant all was bustle and activity. The motor of the fire engine sprang into life, the firemen took their alloted places, the station door slid open, and in little over half a minute the engine was dashing down Titchfield Street. It was an impressive example of the speedy manner in which the Brigade can turn out when its members are living on the premises, and was duly appreciated by all present. The engine returned to the courtyard at the rear of the station, and demonstrations were given by the firemen of rescue work by means of the fire escape and sling, and jumping from a high window into a tarpaulin held by firemen. There was also displayed the power of the turbine pump fitted to the most recently purchased engine, the column of water pumped through the hose easily rising higher than the 75 foot tower erected in the courtyard. In view of the present activity with regard to air-raid precautions, possibly the most impressive demonstration was that dealing with incendiary bombs. A miniature bomb was set alight on a wooden board one inch thick and in thirty seconds the flames, which were accompanied by showers of sparks, had burned right through the board. Another bomb was lighted and efforts to extinguish it with water showed that this method served only to increase its destructive effect. A third bomb was set off and the Firemaster revealed the proper method of dealing with this menace by extinguishing it with fine dry sand, at the same time emphasising the fact that to be effective the sand must be absolutely dry.


Following the demonstrations the company had an opportunity of inspecting the building, and afterwards proceeded to the Recreation Hall, where cake and wine were served and an interesting series of presentations took place.
Ex-Bailie Lamont, who presided, said that he was glad to see so many representatives, from other Local Authorities present and also representatives from other Fire Brigades, and he gave them all a hearty welcome. He considered that Kilmarnock was now in the forefront with its Fire Station, and he trusted that some of them would learn a little from their visit that day. They were fortunate in having with them Sir Charles Fergusson, the Lord Lieutenant of the County. (Applause.) Sir Charles had had a long and honourable career in the public service, and had devoted a good many years of his life to Government work. He (Mr Lamont) had had the pleasure of visiting New Zealand about two years ago, and he heard very good reports of the work Sir Charles had done while he was Governor-General of New Zealand for five years. (Applause.) He was very highly respected and esteemed, and Lady Fergusson was affectionately and well known throughout the north and south Islands as Lady Alice. He would like to thank Sir Charles for coming to Kilmarnock and opening their new Fire Station, and he asked the company to drink to the health of the Lord Lieutenant of the County. (Applause.)
Sir Charles Fergusson, in acknowledging the toast, said that he was particularly touched by ex-Bailie Lamont’s kind reference to his wife and her work in New Zealand. They had a happy time there, New Zealand being largely peopled with Scotsmen and Scotswomen. It was delightful to come there that day and see the result of efforts being made to improve the efficiency of a great town, something which had been thought out with such courage and such prescience. All of them had been delighted with what they had seen and amazed at the careful forethought with which the whole thing had been planned out. He thanked them for their kind welcome. (Applause.)
Mr Gabriel Steel said that when those who had designed and erected that building heard that such, a distinguished soldier and administrator was coming to open it they were very pleased. They thought they would like to give him something as a souvenir of the occasion. The customary thing to give was a key, but as they had seen that day a key was not required for the opening of the doors of the fire station, and after all a key was not of any more use to the person receiving it. They decided to give Sir Charles a silver cigar box, and he had pleasure in asking him, to accept it on behalf of the architect, measurer and contractors. (Applause.) Proceeding, Mr Steel said that they knew that the Provost had been newly elected, and he thought they should congratulate him on attaining his high office. (Applause.) He was sure Provost Wilson would carry out his duties as worthily as did his late father, who held that office for some years. He believed that this was the Provost’s first public function since his election to the chair, and on that account they felt that they would like to give him a little gift. He had pleasure in asking the Provost to accept a silver quaich. (Applause.) Continuing, Mr Steel said that he had yet another presentation to make and that was to the very enthusiastic convener, ex-Bailie Lamont. He was so very enthusiastic that he almost took the place of a clerk of works. (Laughter.) His interest was all inspired by his desire to have a fine building and to have it built quickly, and he hoped the convener had not been disappointed in the building now that it was completed. He knew that ex-Bailie Lamont had had a great deal of worry, but he thought he had got over that, and his step seemed lighter that day. (Laughter.) He had pleasure in asking him to accept from the architect, measurer and contractors a silver salver as a memento of the occasion. (Applause.)
Sir Charles Fergusson, in returning thanks, said that he was most grateful for the magnificent gift presented to him. He noted that the Provost had got a qunich and he (Sir Charles) would be quite willing to exchange a cigar for the contents of the Provost’s quaich. (Laughter.) Provost Wilson said that it was most embarrassing to receive such a handsome gift on his first public appearance as Provost of Kilmarnock. He deeply appreciated the great, kindness of the architect, measurer and contractors and their thoughtfulness. He would like also to express to them all his sincere thanks for their good wishes to him in his capacity as Provost. There was an old saying in Scotland—” He is all right, but he will never be as good a man as his father.” (Laughter.) He would, do the best he could and he trusted that he would succeed in the end. (Applause.)
Ex-Bailie Lamont thanked Mr Steel for the beautiful salver he had presented to him. He could assure them that nothing was required to remind him of the work which he had put into the new Fire Station. He had worked hard in order to get the best results, and the fact that he was satisfied with the building as finished was sufficient reward for him. (Applause.)
Before leaving the Fire Station most of the company signed the visitors’ book.


Following the proceedings at the Fire Station the members of the Town Council and their guests adjourned to Messrs D. Lauder & Son’s Restaurant, King Street, where high tea was served under the chairmanship of Provost Wilson.
The Chairman, after proposing the toast of “The King” said that it was a great pleasure to have with them the Rt. Hon. the Earl of Glasgow, Convener of the County. He trusted that Lord Glasgow had found he ceremony that day interesting, and he was sure he found the equipment and the new station thoroughly up-to-date in every way. (Applause.)
The Earl of Glasgow, in proposing the toast of “The Town Council of Kilmarnock,” said that to his mind Ayrshire was one of the best and most progressive counties’ in Britain. (Applause.) He had to thank the Provost for his courtesy and kindness in asking the Convener of the County to come into that burgh stronghold. It had been a very great pleasure to him to see the progress of Kilmarnock so far as the fire to station was concerned. He agreed with Sir Charles Fergusson that the equipment was extraordinarily good, the accommodation for those who had to live there was very good, and the splendid building was worthy of the town. (Applause.) When he passed through Kilmarnock he saw wide streets, traffic lights, well dressed and comfortably dressed policemen—especially in the summer—(laughter)—and he saw amazing public buildings. He was informed that they had not yet got a swimming pool,. but they were proposing to erect one, Cumnock had

A Swimming Pool

and were one up on Kilmarnock in that respect. He hoped the swimming pool would pay when they got it, because he was told that it was not a very paying proposition, He had been told that the Cumnock swimming pool washed its face. (Laughter.) It was perfectly evidently, passing through Kilmarnock, that it was well and truly governed. He, of course, met in the County Council representatives of the burghs, including the Burgh of Kilmarnock, and he would like to say what a satisfaction it was to him to realise during the past year that the burgh lion had lain down with the landward lamb. (Laughter.) They all knew that they had had a little trouble a short time ago about water. He must admit that he supported the County Council at that time because be had an idea that if they pooled their resources water for drinking and for other purposes might be made cheaper. That was over now, however, and there was no bitterness left behind. He wished to thank the Town Council for their hospitality that day, and to ask the company to drink to the toast of “The Town Council of Kilmarnock.” (Applause.)
Provost Wilson, in responding to the toast, said he had to thank Lord Glasgow for the kind things he had said about the Town Council. He had referred to the difficulties and differences of opinion that had sometimes arisen between the County Council and the burghs. It was his (Provost Wilson’s) sincere desire that during his term of office at least a new liaison might be created between the County Council and the burghs, and he could assure Lord Glasgow that it would always be his earnest endeavour to do all he could to work hand in hand with the county authorities, and he thought he was speaking on behalf of his colleagues when he said that. After all, they belonged to Ayrshire, they were all more or less rowing in the same boat, and he was quite sure that if the County Council studied anything that was proposed by the burghs they would find that the propositions had been well thought and well considered. In local government it had always been the aim of Kilmarnock Town Council to keep abreast of the times and to legislate in a practical way-for the wellbeing of the

Population of the Town,

a policy which, he was glad to say, would always be firmly adhered to by the present Council and, he felt sure, by future Councils. Proceeding, the Provost said that in Kilmarnock they had built 3000 houses, which he thought was a very good record for a town the size of Kilmarnock. He was quite sure that, the ultimate result of this policy of rehousing would be entirely for the betterment of the people, not only of- Kilmarnock but of the nation. To his way of thinking the rehousing of the people was one of the biggest things that had been done in this country for-many years, probably a bigger thing than had ever been tackled before. If they considered the difference in the outlook of a child reared in a back street slum and that of a child brought up in a finely situated, modern housing scheme they would agree with him that that difference must be all to the good. The health of the child reared in. the housing scheme must be very much better, and although they might not get results in their first generation of slum clearance he was quite sure the results they hoped to gain from the second generation would be very good indeed. (Applause.) Proceeding to refer to other improvements carried through in recent years, the Provost spoke of the main drainage scheme, the extension of the burgh boundary, the by-pass road, and the new Maternity Home. He also mentioned the proposed swimming pool, and referred to the value to the town of the Dick Institute, and the various parks and open spaces. There was one part of their municipal activities, he regretted to say, that had been rather neglected, namely, the provision of municipal buildings. The Town Hall of Kilmarnock had served its day and generation, and to-day it was completely out of date. He was afraid that that problem would have to be tackled before very long, because it was absolutely necessary for their municipal staffs to have new accommodation. There was just one fly, to his mind, in the municipal ointment at the present time, and that was the question of air-raid precautions. With all their progress, with all their science, and with all their education it was to him a tragedy that they should require to deal with such a thing as air-raid precautions. He sincerely hoped that those men who had gone out from this country to try to come to a better understanding with other nations overseas would be successful and that better counsels would prevail—that they would be

Spared the Horrors

of such a thing as the bombing and mutilation of defenceless women and children. They must do their best to protect themselves, but at the same time to him it was one of the tragedies of their day and generation. He wished in conclusion to thank once again Lord Glasgow for proposing that toast and the company for the way in which they had received it. (Applause.)
Sir Charles Fergusson, in submitting the toast of “The New Fire Station,” said that it had been most interesting to hear the Provost telling them about the Burgh of Kilmarnock, because it showed how an Ayrshire town was really going ahead, and it only bore out what he (Sir Charles) had said already that day, namely, that in every way they were progressing. It was a little difficult to know what to say in proposing the health of, a new Fire Station because what did it mean when one proposed the success of a Fire Station? He did not think that what they wanted was an increase in the number of fires. (Laughter.) He would like to congratulate Provost Wilson on having, so early in his term of office, seen this great improvement in the burgh. It must be a great satisfaction to him to see that piece of work accomplished. They had a long programme ahead of them, but if all the schemes they had in the future were carried out as efficiently as he understood ex-Bailie Lamont had carried out this scheme and if they got as efficient a colleague as Mr Steel, the architect, had been, he was sure they need have no fear about the success of their future schemes. (Applause.) Whatever it meant, he gave them the toast of success to their new Fire Brigade and Fire Station. (Laughter and applause.)
Ex-Bailie Lamont, in replying to the toast, said that it was quite unnecessary for him to refer to the past of the Kilmarnock Fire Brigade as each of them had in their hands a brochure giving a short history of the Brigade since its inception. It was ten years this month since he was appointed convener of the Fire Brigade Sub-Committee, and during all these ten years he had been more or less agitating for a new Fire Station and the latest fire-fighting appliances, and it had just taken that time to get them to the stage they were at that day. During that time they had had a good firemaster with good fire engines, but no permanent Fire Brigade. Their auxiliary brigade was scattered all over the town, engaged at their various occupations, and of course that was in the case of a serious fire a great handicap to the work of the Brigade, but all that time he was quietly advocating the establishment of

A Permanent Brigade.

It took a long time to get other 24 members of the Town Council of the same mind as himself, but that day the hew Fire Station was an accomplished fact. (Applause.) A suitable site was a stumbling block for some time, but everyone, he thought, was agreed now that the site was an ideal one. The station opened that day was the last word in Fire Brigade service. They had provision for three engines, and they had three engines, and housing for the Firemaster and six men. Their newest engine was a six cylinder 95 h.p. Dennis, with a capacity of 750 gallons, and the housing for the firemen bad all the most modern improvements. It was a Fire Station of which Kilmarnock might well be proud. Their architect, Mr Steel, had spared no pains to produce a station which would be recognised by all experts as the ideal for a large provincial town. The offices, workshops, garages, and houses were all designed with a view to comfort, convenience, and labour saving, and all the various contractors had acqitted themselves to the satisfaction of the Fire Brigade Committee. The Fire Brigade had for far too long been the Cinderella of the public services in Kilmarnock, but that day it took its place in the sun. He had looked forward for years to that happy day, and now he was pleased that this work had been completed during his convenership. (Applause.) Kilmarnock Fire Brigade was primarily a burgh service, and at present they were under no obligation to give service outside the burgh, unless to those mansion houses from whose owners they had accepted retaining fees, but they did give services anywhere when called upon at a regular scale of charges. The Government warnings as to what they might expect in the event of air raids added a new significance to fire fighting, and might alter the whole complexion of the service, and it was not outside the bounds of possibility that in the event of an air raid, fires might be raging in four or five different parts of the town at the same time. Now that their Fire Station was opened, he might tell them that a special committee had been appointed by the Town Council for

Protection Against Air Raids

and gas attacks. Four or five sub-stations would be provided throughout the town, and they were making an appeal to the citizens of Kilmarnock to join up and form themselves into a body of air wardens such as was being done all over the country. About 12 years ago they discussed the probability of building and equipping a new Fire Station in Kilmarnock, and this was also considered in Ayr, these being the only two towns in Ayrshire at that time which had fire fighting services. It was the intention that, if the County Council and small burghs would join with the large burghs, Ayrshire could be divided into two portions, Ayr taking the south and Kilmarnock the north. It was thought that, with large permanent brigades stationed in modern buildings and all the latest fire fighting appliances, Ayr and Kilmarnock could put up a fairly good service. It was considered that the service could be met by a small charge on the rates of the smaller towns and the county. He often regretted that no such scheme was arranged as the county had no fire-fighting service of their own nor had they yet, although some of the smaller burghs had now. Had a scheme of that kind been entered into in a true spirit of co-operation at that time, Ayrshire might now have been well equipped with fire brigade services. He was sorry to say that these proposals did not meet with approval outside the large burghs, but to the credit, of the County Council about twelve months ago they, through their Clerk, called a meeting of representatives from burghs which had fire brigades to meet one of their committees in Ayr. That was done, but after some discussion the meeting was adjourned, the burghs on that occasion not being wholly in favour of the County Council proposals. He was strongly of the opinion that no time should be lost in establishing an area system of Fire Brigade services and he was glad to notice that that was recommended in the report of the Departmental Committee on Fire Brigade services in England and Wales. That committee sat under the chairmanship of Lord Riverdale, and although it did not refer to Scotland it was significant that one of the recommendations made in that report was very similar to that put forward by the burghs in Ayrshire some twelve years ago. The Committee recommended that “Fire Brigades should continue to be maintained by the responsible Fire Brigade authorities out of the local rates. Certain other authorities will, instead of establishing fire brigades of their own, pay a fixed contribution, usually

Based on the Rateable Value

of the protected district, to the Fire Brigade of a neighbouring district for protection, and Fire Brigade services should become available to all ratepayers as freely as other public services, such as street lighting and police protection. " He understood that such a scheme was working satisfactorily in Stirlingshire by the brigades of the burghs of Stirling and Falkirk. Notwithstanding the failures which they had met with, he was convinced that if representatives from the county and the burghs came together and sat down round a table in a spirit of co-operation and with a will to succeed and the determination to formulate a working scheme, such a desirable project could be carried through in a very short time, and a fire-fighting service for the whole of Ayrshire would soon be established and prove a great boon to the saving of life and property. He sincerely trusted that something might be done at an early date to meet the wishes of the Government. (Applause.)
The toast of “Our Guests” was proposed in felicitous terms by Bailie Hood and responded to by Provost Calderwood, Darvel, and the interesting proceedings were concluded with the proposing of the toast of “The Chairman” by Provost Hopperton, Ardrossan, to which Provost Wilson briefly replied.


To commemorate the opening of the Fire Station a bronze plaque has been placed on the north wall of the engine room. It bears at the top the burgh coat of arms in colour, and in white lettering there is the following inscription :—Burgh of Kilmarnock. Fire Brigade Station opened 22nd November. 1937, by General Sir Charles Fergusson Bt., G.C.B., G.C..M.G., D.S.O., M.V.O., LL.D., Lord Lieutenant of Ayrshire; Provost George H. Wilson; Councillor John Lamont, J.P., Convener of Streets and Watching Committee; Norman J. Campbell, S.S.C., Town Clerk; David Inverarity, Firemaster; Gabriel Steel, O.B.E., F.R.I.A.S., architect.


Ex-Bailie Lamont, convener of the Streets and Watching Committee, has very kindly presented a silver cup, on stand, for annual competition among the Fire Brigade members and open to both the permanent and auxiliary staffs. The cup bears a suitable inscription.
<PHOTO> The New Fire Station.
<PHOTO> Ex-Bailie John Lamont, J.P., Convener of Streets and Watching Committee.
<PHOTO> Mr David Inverarity Firemaster.
<PHOTO> The Latest Fire Engine CS55?3
(The Kilmarnock Standard, November 27, 1937. Page 8)



The new fire station of Kilmarnock Corporation, which was officially opened yesterday by General Sir Charles Fergusson, Bt. of Kilkerran, Lord Lieutenant of Ayrshire, stands in Titchfield Street, on the main Kilmarnock – Ayr road, is of rustic brick with white stone facings, and is four storeys in height. The roof is flat so that it may be utilised for drilling purposes. The estimated cost of the buildings was £14,000.
In the courtyard behind the station the fire brigade gave a demonstration of life saving from the tower which has been erected for hose drying and wet drill. Afterwards the Firemaster directed several tests with miniature incendiary bombs, showing that water served to intensify the danger of these, and that a fine dry sand was effective in extinguishing the bombs.
(The Scotsman, November 23, 1937, page 10)




21st NOVEMBER 1987


The past fifty years have seen many changes in firefighting equipment, conditions of service, Fire Brigade uniforms etc. etc., but one thing that will not have changed is the loyal and dedicated service given to the public by the Kilmarnock Fire Station personnel whether they be non-uniformed, uniformed, retained or wholetime.
I wish the 50 year celebrations every success and trust that the Fire Brigade traditions of the past will continue for the next half century and beyond

C Halliday







JAMES YUILLE 1876 - 1894

HUGH MARTIN 1894 - 1905


HUGH CAMPBELL 1909 - 1918



1941 - 1947


P. DUNN, O.B.E., F.I.FireE. 1948 - 1953

H. R. MacKAY, O.B.E., Q.F.S.M. 1953 - 1971

R. J. KNOWLTON, C.B.E., Q.F.S.M., F.I. FireE. 1971 - 1975


R. J. KNOWLTON, C.B.E., Q.F.S.M., F.I.FireE. 1975 - 1984

C.B. HALLIDAY, M.I. FireE. 1984 -




The Burgh of Kilmarnock appointed its first Committee on Fire Brigade matters in 1871 and it was called the "POWDER HOUSE AND FIRE ENGINES COMMITTEE". However, they certainly took a financial interest before this when, for example, in 1863 they agreed to pay half the cost of the Architect's account for "making plans and specifications and superintendence of the sheds for the Fire Engines" in Green Street, and to "Contribute 5/- towards the cost of Fire Plugs in Waterloo Street"
In 1876 the Committee increased the Fire Brigade from six to ten men and appointed MR JAMES YUILLE, Slater, as SUPERINTENDENT OF BRIGADE with full charge of the Fire Engines and hose. He was given a salary of £5 per annum plus 5/- for every fire he attended. The Firemen were awarded £2 - 10/- and 5/- for each fire. It was also agreed to get helmets to "distinguish them from the Police and other members of the public".


At this time the Fire Engines were hand hose reels and in 1876 the Committee recommended a new Steam Fire Engine be purchased at a cost of about £400. The subject of a Steamer was raised on numerous occasions over the next thirty years but, due to costs Kilmarnock never got one.
In 1884 a portion of Riccarton Tollhouse was converted for keeping one of the Fire Hose Reels and two years later it was reported that there were three reels of hose, two at the Engine House in Green Street and one at Riccarton Old Tollhouse. In 1887 the Committee agreed that "the Foreman Carter should live in the house at Green Street to be near the horses". In 1889 there were 620 feet of leather hose and 890 feet of canvas hose. A new Hand Pump was purchased in 1893 and a 36 foot ladder the following year. A small quantity of equipment was now being kept at Calcutta Lodge. In 1896 a sample of new Patent Instantaneous Couplings and a new Covered "Hose and Implement Van" were bought and one of the reels was transferred to Calcutta Lodge. Kilmarnock therefore had Three Fire Stations at that time - Green Street, Riccarton Toll and Calcutta Lodge.
The Chief Constable of the Burgh suggested in 1899 that arrangements had to be made to have the hose barrow pulled by a horse as "it is found to be nearly impossible for two Constables to draw it through the streets".
The number of hydrants fitted increased each year and in 1902 the Firemaster recommended fitting plates on walls throughout the town to mark the position of each hydrant. Two years later the Committee agreed that hydrants were to be fitted approximately 100 yards apart as new buildings are erected.
If the Burgh of Kilmarnock could be accused of dragging their heels over the purchase of a Steam Fire Engine, they made up for it in 1911.
The beginning of the century saw a new awareness of firefighting. MR ARCHIBALD McMILLAN was appointed Kilmarnock's first full time Firemaster in 1905 and when they took delivery of a HALLEY Fire Engine in 1911 it is understood that they were the first provincial Burgh in Scotland with a MOTOR FIRE ENGINE. At the same time major alterations were being made to the Station in Green Street. The Halley cost £985 and the Fire Station modifications were estimated at £400.
The quantity and standard of equipment continued to improve and in 1926 a second HALLEY 500 gallon Fire Pump with a WHEELED FIRE ESCAPE was bought for £1,730 and also two SMOKE HELMETS bought in 1928 for £12. The Firemaster reported in 1933 that the newer HALLEY (no.2 Pump) would require pneumatic tyres to be fitted under Ministry of Transport Regulations at a cost of £110.
In 1936, following a report from the Firemaster, a Sub Committee was remitted to take offers for the latest type of Fire Engine with Fire Escape plus other items of equipment and some of the offers accepted were :-A DENNIS 6 cylinder Turbine Motor Fire Engine with an enclosed body and WHEELED ESCAPE, delivered in 1937 for £1,810.
Two Siebe Gorman "SALVUS" Patent Half Hour BREATHING APPARATUS sets with spares for £43 - l/-,
One Pyrene No.2 FOAM MAKING BRANCH with Knapsack tank and tube for £30 and 6 gallons of Foam Compound at 30/- per gallon.


As already mentioned, JAMES YUILLE was the first man to be appointed as Kilmarnock Burgh Firemaster. He retired in 1894 after 27 years in the Brigade. He became a Councillor and served for many years in the Fire Brigade Committee. As its Convenor in 1912 he improved the MEANS OF ESCAPE from the Public Halls and Churches in The Burgh by arranging for doors to be altered to open outwards.
In 1886 the Firemen were required to meet for drill in the Agricultural Hall on the last Saturday of each month and the Firemaster reported as to their attendance. In the 1892 Firemaster's Annual report the following names were recorded for attendance at drill and fires:-

James Yuille

David Simpson

Thomas McCubbin

Hugh Mooney

James McPhail

Hugh Martin

Alexander Morton *

David Yuille

J.L. Murray

John Gordon

Thomas Morgan

James Lang

*A. Morton fell off the Manse and was killed.

HUGH MARTIN was appointed Assistant Firemaster in 1893 and succeeded James Yuille in 1894. In the year 1900 the total expenditure was £78 - 18/-. There were 14 fires within the Burgh and 1 outside and consideration was being made as to insuring the Firemen.
ARCHIBALD McMILLAN became Full Time Firemaster of the Brigade in 1905 for a wage of £85 per annum and he was to be responsible to the Chief Constable. The Firemen's wages were also increased to £5 per year. The Firemaster was granted one week's annual leave and he was allowed time off every alternate Saturday from 1 p.m. until 10 p.m. when the Deputy Firemaster took charge.
HUGH CAMPBELL who came from Kilmarnock, took over as Firemaster in 1909 and he was granted 10 days leave at the Kilmarnock 'Fair'. His first annual report was as follows :-
I have had 38 calls during my first year as Firemaster -20 to fires in the town, 3 to fires outside the Burgh, 13 to chimney fires, 2 false alarms. 8 fires were of a serious nature, the damages ranging from £1,000 to £100, 12 fires the damages were from £50 down to £2. 5 fires were caused through chimney fires and defective chimneys. 3 fires were caused through lights being dropped,3 through lights being left burning in premises, 2 through overheated oven and stove, 1 through bedding being left in front of fire to air, 1 through pan of fat boiling over, 1 through gas explosion, 4 fires the cause of which could not be traced. The total damage caused through fires in the Burgh from February 22nd 1909 till February 22nd 1910 (not including the Dick Institute) was £3,000.

signed H. Campbell, Firemaster

WILLIAM FINDLAY and JOHN DAVIDSON were granted their Retaining Fee in 1915 whilst serving in the war.
Over 20 applications were received for the vacancy when Hugh Campbell resigned in 1918. After interview the Council appointed MR DAVID INVERARITY as Firemaster. However, since applying for the vacancy, he had received an increased salary and said that he was unwilling to leave Dundee to come to Kilmarnock for less than £3 - 3/- per week with a free rented and rated house and light. He must have impressed the Council as they agreed to appoint him under these terms and he remained as Firemaster for almost 23 years.
A request was received in 1921 for a Fireman to stand by each night at the King's Theatre and an extra Fireman was appointed to enable each man to be sent for Theatre Duty on a Rota basis. The Fireman was paid £1 and the Council retained 7/6d.
A full report was submitted by the Firemaster on a serious fire at LAUDERS EMPORIUM on Saturday evening of February 10th 1923. 1 man was injured and a great deal of equipment lost, damage was estimated at £45,000 and an account was received from Glasgow Corporation for £31.l.6d for the services of their Fire Brigade and the Firemaster suggested that another Fire Engine with a WHEELED ESCAPE was urgently required.
At a fire on a ship in Troon on the 25th January 1927 Fireman THOMAS McGOUGAN fell through a hatch. He died the next day at Kilmarnock Infirmary.
In 1930 at a fire at Dankeith, Firemen JOHN MILLER, HUGH MORRISON and Fireman HAYWOOD were injured and Fireman JOHN ARMOUR, who had just returned to work after injury, was injured again at a fire at Crossroads, Cunninghamhead. Fireman ROBERT MORTON was injured when a wall collapsed at a fire in Carvello Farm, Lugar in 1934.


Up until 1941 many attempts were made to negotiate terms for the mutual assistance of neighbouring Burghs. In 1919 Kilmarnock offered the services of its Brigade, if available, on payment of a Retaining Fee of £8 per 1000 head of population per annum. Their offer was not taken up under these terms. Following a Conference, the Retaining Fee was based on the Rateable Value of the various Burghs i.e. 1/2d per £. Two scales of charges were issued, one to be used where there is a Retaining Fee paid, the other where no Retaining Fee is paid
In 1927 a Scheme was proposed whereby the services of the Brigade would be provided for the Retaining Fee plus a mileage charge. This appeared to be acceptable to most of the representatives at the conference but the proposal to have a JOINT BOARD to administer the Brigade was not. If this scheme had been adopted, Kilmarnock would provide a CENTRAL FIRE STATION and a PERMANENT STAFF of six Firemen. The terms of the scheme were modified the following year but only three of the Burghs were prepared to join, Ardrossan stating that they were considering a Fire Brigade of their own.
In 1929 Mansion houses were provided with a service for a Retaining Fee of £5 - 5/- which, in addition to the reduced attendance charges, included two visits a year by the Firemaster to test apparatus and to give instruction to the staff. The Duke of Buccleugh agreed to the scheme for DRUMLANRIG CASTLE but was only entitled to one visit a year due to the distance from Kilmarnock.
After a fire in a Public House in Titchfield Street on 5th November 1933, the Licensing Court was asked to consider FIRE PRECAUTIONS before granting applications.
As early as 1925 representatives of Ayr and Kilmarnock Town Councils had met to discuss a proposal to establish PERMANENT FIRE BRIGADES at Ayr and Kilmarnock to operate throughout the County. Once again agreement could not be reached with the County Council. Due to the increasing problems with the availability of the Auxiliary Firemen Ayr appointed a Permanent Staff in 1930 and Kilmarnock followed this in 1937.


When the decision was made to provide a Full Time Fire Brigade, a Sub Committee was appointed to consider suitable sites" for a Fire Station, with accommodation for the Fire Engines, a workshop and housing for the Firemen. In March 1935 the Sub Committee recommended that the ground adjoining the Corporation Cleansing Depot at Calcutta Lodge was suitable.
Mr Gabriel Steel, O.B.E., F.R.I.A.S., was appointed as the Architect and the new Fire Station in Titchfield Street gradually took shape.


The building is of four storeys and constructed of reinforced concrete with a rustic brick facade facing the front street and with a flat roof. The ground floor consisted of the Firemaster's office, a watchroom, a changing room with showers and lockers, drying room, storeroom, toilet and the engine room with bays for three machines. The engine room doors could be opened directly from the driver's seat on the engines.
On the first floor was the Firemaster's five apartment house with its own separate staircase. Adjoining this was the recreation room, a kitchen and cloakroom and access to the sliding pole which gives quick access to the engine room. The second and third floors each contain three-apartment houses for the Firemen. Each house had a separate entrance from the two open balconies which run the length of the building at the rear and Dust Chutes leading to bins in the rear court yard had been provided for the easy disposal of rubbish.
At the rear of the building a 75 foot high brick built tower could be used for both drills and hose drying. The tower was semi divided into floors with half sized platforms inside and small platforms on the outside of each window of the five upper "floors". The windows were fitted with louvered double doors. Adjacent to the tower was a workshop, joiner's room, stores and battery charging room. Lock-up accommodation was also provided for four cars.


The new station was officially opened by GENERAL SIR CHARLES FERGUSSON, Bt., Lord Lieutenant of Ayrshire on the 22nd November 1937. At the ceremony were the Provost and members of the Town Council and representatives of various Town Councils and the County Council and Fire Officers of neighbouring Burghs. They saw demonstrations using the latest equipment in the Brigade.


It was agreed by the Council that the permanent staff would consist of six men plus the Firemaster. Each man would be medically examined, aged between 25 and 35 years and be experienced in the Motor Engineering or Building Trades as they would be required to carry out certain repairs and maintenance for other Corporation departments. After interviews the following members were appointed :-













The Firemaster's wages were increased to £300 per annum. The maximum wage for the Deputy Firemaster was £4 a week. The Mechanic/Driver was granted £3 - l5/- and the Firemen got £3 - 10/-, all after 5 years service.
Firemen on sick leave were allowed full pay for up to two months then half pay for a further one month.


The Firemaster suggested that as there was a siren fitted on the roof of the station that it ought to be tested periodically. It was decided that this would be done every Saturday at 10 a.m. but most will remember much later when it was tested at midday. It was also agreed that Police Boxes and Street Fire Alarms were not required as there were sufficient Public Telephone Kiosks. The Firemaster was instructed to arrange for the installation of a Direct Telephone Line between the Police and the Fire Stations.
Attempts were still being made to arrange Fire Cover for the County. In 1936 the Firemaster met with the Firemasters of Ayr and Ardrossan to submit a Joint report. This would entail three districts in the county with a Firemaster in charge of each and the three Brigades would co-operate and assist each other but each would be responsible for obtaining its own items of equipment, and a contribution would require to be made by the County towards the maintenance of the Brigades. A further conference convened by the County Council in 1937, with representatives of Kilmarnock, Ayr and Ardrossan Town Councils, again discussed the possibility of a Joint Committee to administer the Fire Brigades. Again the report was not approve by the Council.
Following a memorandum from the Scottish Office dated 23rd February 1937, it was agreed to prepare a scheme for an EMERGENCY FIRE BRIGADE ORGANISATION. This took a considerable time to implement. When the new Fire Station opened with a complement of 7 whole time Firemen, there were 10 Auxiliary Firemen still being trained by the Firemaster and being paid the Retaining Fee by the Council. .Under the Town's Emergency Scheme a large number of Volunteer Firemen would be required and they would have to be trained and equipped. The training was done by the whole time members and the equipment was supplied by the Government. By the end of l938, 150 Volunteer Auxiliary Firemen had been enrolled and 60 of, them fully trained, equipment from the Government was beginning to arrive and included l Dennis trailer pump, 4 Sigmund trailer pumps, 3,600 feet of 2 3/4" canvas hose, 12 branchpipes. with various nozzles, numerous respirators, steel helmets, boots, protective clothing and various adaptors etc. The No.1 pump was to be kept for air raid precautions only.
In 1939 MR RALPH BIRD was appointed as Mechanic/Driver to replace Hugh Hamilton who resigned to take up another appointment and in June MR THOMAS CALLANDER, Mechanic/Driver, replaced John Dempster who had resigned. MR DAVID McCALL was appointed in 1940. Firemen Taylor and Bird met the Scottish Organiser of the Fire Brigades Union and as a result the following was agreed:-
Wages started at £3 and rose to £4 - 10/- over 15 years and 1 day was allowed off each week and 3 consecutive days off every 6 weeks and 14 days annual leave were granted.

The following appointments were made in the AUXILIARY FIRE SERVICE in November 1940:-




Northern and Western Districts


Southern and Eastern Districts




Northern Depot


Southern Depot


Eastern Depot


Western Depot

The "FIRE BRIGADES (SCOTTISH REGIONAL) (No.3) ORDER" 1940 divided the No. 1 (Glasgow) Area of the WESTERN District Into two "Areas"; Kilmarnock was placed in the AYRSHIRE and RENFREWSHIRE AREA of the WESTERN DISTRICT and the AREA OFFICER was to be the CHIEF OFFICER of PAISLEY FIRE BRIGADE and the "ALTERNATIVE OPERATING OFFICER" was to be the CHIEF OFFICER of GREENOCK FIRE BRIGADE.
Miss S.C. SMITH who had been employed as a typist in the Brigade was promoted to Senior Typist in 1940 with a salary of £100 and the following year Messrs ROBERT HUGHES and ALEXANDER HARRISON were appointed as Full time members in place of Thomas Carlin and David McCall. MR JOHN HAMILTON was appointed as an extra Full time Fireman and MR NICHOLAS ROME, who was a Retained Fireman for 4 years, was appointed Full time while John Taylor was working at Troon Harbour during the war.
The Burgh was starting to lose control of its Fire Brigade but it had another card to play.....
The Firemaster reported that "out of pocket expenses" amounting to £7 - 5/- had been incurred by seven members of the Brigade and a lorry had been damaged whilst rendering assistance following the BLITZ in Belfast. The Council agreed that an account for £10 - 5/- should be sent to HIS MAJESTY'S GOVERNMENT.


In 1941 the administration of the Fire Service was transferred from Local Authorities to the SECRETARY of STATE and as from 1st July the EXCHEQUER assumed financial responsibility but the local authorities had a contribution to make. What happened to the account from Kilmarnock is not recorded. The Kilmarnock Fire Brigade was now part of the National Fire Service and under the command of the Area FIRE FORCE COMMANDER. David Inverarity was therefore retired from the Fire Brigade after 26 years service and he was appointed as a Fire Guard Staff Officer until he died in 1943.
The Fire Service improved drastically after it was Nationalised. Both the organisation and the equipment were standardised as far as was possible and even the techniques of firefighting were improved through experience gained as a result of air raids.
At a local level, a letter was sent to the Burgh Surveyor from the Senior Company Officer intimating that the houses in the Fire Station were letting in water.
At the end of the war the local authorities were asked to express their views as to the future organisation of the Fire Service and how they think it should be administered. Suggestions such as continued existence of the National Fire Service on return to Local Authority control were put forward.
As they waited for the result it was reported that certain members of the brigade were entitled to a wage increase amounting to 24/-. The names mentioned were :-
The Home Secretary stated in the House of Commons that the Fire Service would be transferred to the control of the COUNTIES and LARGE BURGHS of which Authorities would be organised in 11 Areas in Scotland and under JOINT LOCAL AUTHORITY ADMINISTRATION. He further stated that there would be some measure of financial assistance towards expenditure involved in complying with standards that would be laid down.


As a result of the Home Secretary's statement, Kilmarnock found itself in the operational Area No. 5 which covered the Counties of AYRSHIRE, DUMFRIESSHIRE, KIRKCUDBRIGHT and WIGTON and the Large Burghs of AYR, KILMARNOCK and DUMFRIES.
A provisional Joint Committee was convened to set up the Authority in 1947. The annual cost of the Fire Service was estimated to be in the region of £80,000 and Kilmarnock's share would be about £15,600. MR PETER DUNN, who was previously Ardrossan's Firemaster, was appointed Firemaster and the Brigade's headquarters were at Kilmarnock Fire Station.
The Fire Services Act of 1947 took effect in May 1948 and laid many responsibilities on the Fire Authorities thus formed. Recruitment of Operational Personnel had been made for Permanent Full time posts in the Brigade and for Retained posts also as the National Fire Service was disbanded. The Officers were working 120 hours per week providing Residential Fire Cover and the men were working a 72 hour week and this was reduced to 60 hours in 1947.
The standard of equipment and the conditions of service improved steadily. In 1953 Peter Dunn retired and his Deputy HARRY MacKAY became Firemaster. In 1957 the Junior Ranks operated a 56 hour week and this remained until 1962 when the 48 hour week was introduced. In 1964 the Officers hours were reduced from 120 hours to 96 hours. Steel helmets were replaced Leather "Metro" helmets, Compressed Air Breathing Apparatus sets replaced the "Salvus" 1/2 hour Oxygen sets and for longer duration the 1 hour "Proto" Mk IV, "MKIV 1/2" and MKV sets were bought, the MKIV 1/2 was an adaption using the straps and breathing bag of a MKIV with the valve gear and facemask of a MKV. At this time only Wholetime stations had Breathing Apparatus, when a fire occurred in a Retained Station area, the Breathing Apparatus Van was dispatched with one, or very occasionally, two men. The B.A. van started carrying additional equipment including road accident gear but had had no means of firefighting and occasionally the B.A. van driver found himself on the fireground before the Retained Unit and unable to do much about it.
The mid 50s saw the introduction of the Double-breasted "Reefer" style uniform. Waterproof Leggings, which did nothing to prevent a wet backside, were eventually replaced by easily seen yellow overtrousers in the early 70s.
The Fire Engines inherited from the National Fire Service were gradually replaced with the modern ones we see today. Modern pumps carry their own water supply ready for immediate use and the well known Wheeled Escapes were gradually replaced by alluminium 45 foot ladders. The Mechanical Turntable Ladder of the 50s was replaced by a new 100 foot Hydraulic Ladder in 1960 and even this has been replaced twice since then. Radios were fitted to most firefighting vehicles by the 1970s but many will remember the Police stopping the T.L. at Irvine Cross to tell the crew "You're no needed, the fire's oot".
The new Fire Station at Ayr was opened in 1963 and the Headquarters moved from Kilmarnock to Ayr. In 1965 Kilmarnock Fire Station was restructured. Since its opening many changes have taken place due to the increase in the number of men now serving there. When it opened it was designed for 7 men and their families, today there are 75 men calling it "home". The houses on the second floor were vacated and the whole floor altered. It is now used as a dormitory, kitchen, dining room, recreation room, quiet room and locker room and a second sliding pole was installed for access from the second to the first floor. The Firemaster's house on the first floor had been used by the Residential Station Officer for a number of years but is now used for office and Fire Prevention accommodation. Gradually the houses on the third floor were emptied and one is now used as a locker room. The kitchen on the first floor was used as quiet room when the kitchen moved to the third floor and is now used as a small dormitory.
Mr Harry MacKay retired in 1971 and MR JAMES KNOWLTON was appointed Firemaster. After the Brigade Headquarters and Control Room moved to Ayr there was still a Watchroom at Kilmarnock and 999 calls were still being received there. The Firemen took it in turns to do the "Watchroom Duty" and many will remember Saturday Nightshifts when the clock goes back an hour; another hour to study the "Manuals".


In May 1975 "Regionalisation" took place and the South Western Area Fire Brigade was restructured. The County of Ayrshire, along with the Isles of Arran and Cumbrae, now form 'D' DIVISION of STRATHCLYDE FIRE BRIGADE and Ayr are now the Divisional Headquarters with the Brigade Headquarters at Hamilton. Firemaster Knowlton was appointed by the new POLICE and FIRE COMMITTEE of the Strathclyde Region as the Firemaster of the largest Brigade in Scotland.
Certain changes took place. The one most acceptable to the Firemen is the minimum attendance of 2 pumps to all fires except chimney, grass and known small fires. The Control Rooms have been Centralised at Johnstone and a COMPUTER ASSISTED TURNOUT SYSTEM has been installed. This contains an index of all streets, farms and special risks in the Brigade with information as to the description of the locations and predetermined attendance for each. Button Boxes are fitted to all Operational vehicles and these are used to enter the vehicle's location and status of its availability. This information is used by the computer to enable the nearest vehicles to be mobilised to an incident. Retained members no longer rely on the siren but are issued with "PAGERS".
James Knowlton retired from the Brigade in 1984 and was appointed Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Fire Brigades in Scotland. He was succeeded by MR CLIVE HALLIDAY our present Firemaster.
This then is the modern Fire Brigade with all the appliances equipped with "positive pressure" Breathing Apparatus, Chemical Protective Suits and some with Gas tight Protective Suits, sophisticated road accident equipment and Special Appliances.
The Fire Station in Kilmarnock is now one of the oldest in the Brigade and the men attached to it look forward to the new station, however, everyone who has served in the station will look back at some of the happy times and remember how things used to be.......

Firemaster Campbell's annual report 1910 38 calls
South Western Area total for area 1950        975 calls
Kilmarnock Fire Station total 1986                 1246 calls

Heard in the Watchroom or on the fireground. No explanations given:-
"the fire has been surrounded with Zulus".
Q. "Any one-armed bandits down there?"
A. "There was nobody here when we arrived".
Q. "Do you require an ambulance?" "Why?".
A. "You said there was a dumb waiter involved".
"this was empty boxes full of straw".
"fire extinguished - ship sunk".
whistled........."Polly put the kettle on"
"fire out of control - heading for the border"
"this aircraft has disintegrated on impact and appears to be severely damaged".

This was typed from a souviner book produced by Kilmarnock Fire Station in 1987.

Bill Hopkins, South Western Area Fire Brigade and Strathclyde 1963 to 1991 has given me the answer to some of the funny points in the above programme.
Zulus were the first portable radios used and were carried in the BA/Road Rescue Vehicles at wholetime stations.
The one armed bandit comment happened at the Empire Cinema fire in Kilmarnock 1963/64. At this incident the Station Officer was asked by the Firemaster if he had seen any one armed bandits to which the said Station Officer replied “there was no one here when I arrived.” I will not name the Station Officer involved as he went on to greater things.
Polly put the kettle on was whistled by the late fireman Jimmy Drysdale in the middle of the night as a signal that the water tender was returning to station and to get the kettle on. I was standing in the watchroom at Kilmarnock when it happened. (1972 blue watch).
The aircraft message was blamed on a DO I heard about shortly after joining the South Western in 1963.



As long ago as 1753 the Town Council maintained a voluntary fire brigade and in that year expended £40 on a water machine for extinguishing fires. With this pump action water cart went 40 feet of leather hosepipe which pumped water from an on board tank and projected it at the fire. Horse drawn water carts of this type continued to be used well into the present century by part-time volunteers. In an era when many buildings had thatched roofs and were crowded together, the risk of fire was very great indeed.
Provision of more adequate fire services began in 1863 when new sheds were erected in Green Street to house the fire engines, and fire hydrants were installed in Waterloo Street. In 1871 a Powder House and Fire Engines Committee was formed and five years later the Committee increased the Fire Brigade from six to ten men. The firemen worked part-time and were paid £2 10s a year, plus 5s for each fire attended. In 1876 a slater named James Yuille was appointed the first Superintendent, with a salary of £5 per annum plus the customary 5s bonus for each fire. At this time the Committee decided to procure helmets in order to ‘distinguish them from the Police and other members of the public’. The firemen got their helmets, but had to wait for thirty years before the Committee’s decision to acquire a steam fire engine could be implemented. In 1884 part of Riccarton Tollhouse was converted into a fire station to cover the area south of the river. Statutory powers to levy a rate for the maintenance of a fire service were given under the Special Burgh Police Act of 1892 and, as a result, a new hand pump and a 36 foot ladder were purchased the following year. A third station, at Calcutta Lodge, was set up in 1896. The number of hydrants was steadily increased over the years, but it was not till 1911 that the burgh got its first steam fire engine.
A full-time firemaster, Archibald McMillan, was appointed in 1905 with a salary of £85 a year, and when the Brigade took delivery of its Halley engine six years later it was the first provincial town in Scotland to have a motor fire engine (costing £985—an enormous sum for that time). Kilmarnock continued to rely on a largely voluntary, part-time force and in this respect was probably no better and no worse than any other town, to judge by the report of the Royal Commission on Fire Prevention established in 1923. This body recommended a drastic tightening up of the measures taken by burghs to cope with fire. In 1935 the Kilmarnock force of five full-time firemen responded to 60 calls, but by 1937 its men were dealing with an average of 107 calls a year. On 22nd November that year, the Fire Brigade became a fully professional force and a new station on Titchfield Street was erected on a site adjoining the Corporation Cleansing Depot at Calcutta Lodge, was inaugurated on 22nd November. Under Firemaster David Inverarity the firemen lived ‘on the premises’ and were on 24 hour call. Kilmarnock in 1939 had 474 fire plugs and 36 valve hydrants, while the brigade had just completed a modernisation programme and now had five motorised appliances, including a 90hp Dennis fire engine with turbine pump and a capacity of 750 gallons per minute. Shortly before the Second World War this service was augmented by a unit of the Auxiliary Fire Service comprising two mechanic drivers and eight firemen. These were part-time volunteers, liable to call-out on rosters from their own homes. During the war, however, the AFS expanded considerably and at one point had 165 volunteers.
In 1937 the Scottish Office prepared a scheme for a nationwide emergency fire brigade organization, and this was implemented in 1940, Kilmarnock being placed in the Ayrshire and Renfrewshire Area of the Western District. The brigade now came under the Area Office at Paisley. The following year the administration of fire services was transferred from the local authorities to the Secretary of State and the Kilmarnock brigade became part of the National Fire Service. David Inverarity retired and his duties were taken over by the Area fire force commander. After the War the Kilmarnock brigade came under the South Western Area Joint Board covering Ayrshire, Dumfriesshire, Kirkcudbrightshire and Wigtownshire. In the postwar period the standard of equipment and the conditions of service improved considerably. Mobility was increased, but radios were not fitted till the 1970s. When the new fire station was opened at Ayr in 1963 Area headquarter moved thither from Kilmarnock but two years later the Kilmarnock station was restructured and refurbished. In May 1975, as a result of regionalisation, the South Western Area Fire Brigade was re-organized and now forms D Division of Strathclyde Fir Brigade.
(Kilmarnock by James A. Mackay 1992. Pages 181 & 182.)



Kilmarnock Fire Station 

25th March 1994


Official Opening of Kilmarnock Fire Station
Councillor Pat Donnelly
Vice Chair
Police and Fire Committee 

25th March 1994



11.30 hours
Guests assemble 

11.45 hours
Platform Party escorted to Appliance Room by Assistant Firemaster Kennedy 

Vice Convener Councillor Perry
Welcome and Opening Remarks 

Councillor Donnelly performs Opening Ceremony
and Unveiling of Plaque

Dedication by Father Thomson

Councillor Donnelly presents Visitor’s Book to Firemaster 

Firemaster’s Remarks
and Presentation to Councilor Donnelly

Vice Convener’s Closing Remarks

Buffet Lunch and Tour of Building 


In 1884 a portion of Riccarton House was converted for keeping one of the fire hose reels. In 1887 a house at Green Street was purchased to house all the hose reels, Kilmamock now had 3, and also the foreman carter should live there to be “near the horse”.
<PHOTO> The old Fire Station, Green Street
<PHOTO> hand Reel in use prior to 1900
After many alterations and the purchase of new motorised equipment the existing premises became unsuitable and a new station was built in Tichfield Street, and officially opened in 1937. This was now the main station for Kilmarnock Burgh Fire Brigade under the leadership of Firemaster David Inverarity.
In 1941 the administration of all fire brigades was transferred from local authorities to the Secretary of State and became the National Fire Service and remained so until 1947 when control was handed back to the local authorities and Kilmarnock Fire Station made up part of the newly formed South Western Area Fire Brigade.
1975 saw “Regionalisation” and with this Kilmarnock Fire Station joined 'D' Division of Strathclyde Fire Brigade.
In 1993, due to internal restructuring of the Brigade moving from a divisional to a command area structure, Kilmarnock is now part of West Command of Strathclyde Fire Brigade.
<PHOTO> Main entrance to Fire Station, Tichfield Street.


Yuille                                                         1876 - 1894
Hugh Martin                                                         1894 - 1905
Archibald McMillan                                            1905 -1909
Hugh Campbell                                                   1909 - 1918
David Inverarity                                                  1918 - 1941

NATIONAL FIRE SERVICE                            1941 - 1947 

P. Dunn O.B.E., F.I.FireE.                                   1948 - 1953
H.R. MacKay O.B.E. Q.FS.M.                          1953 - 1971
R.J. Knowlton C.B.E., Q.FS.M. F.I.FireE.        1971 - 1975 

R.J. Knowlton C.B.E., Q.FS.M., F.I.FireE.       1975 - 1984
C.B. Halliday, M.I.FireE                                    1984 - 1991
J. Jameson F.I.M,gt                                             1991 - present day 

The site at Campbell Street was chosen after many inspections of various locations in and around the town of Kilmarnock.
<PHOTO> Aerial view of the new Kilmarnock Station
<PHOTO> Riccarton Castle Plaque at front of station.
The Station was built on two floors to allow all the Station facilities to be grouped, as near as possible to, and around the 4 bay appliance room thus minimising the travel distance of personnel responding to emergency calls.
The spacious yard to the rear will facilitate easy movement of appliances and provide an ideal training area for station personnel.
The broad forecourt was designed to allow appliances safe access to the main thoroughfare.
The breathing apparatus maintenance area, complete with cylinder charging facility, will ensure that Kilmarnock Fire Station is self sufficient in all its breathing apparatus requirements.
<PHOTO> Fitness Room
<PHOTO> Plaque commemorating the Opening of the Station.
The training building incorporates a variety of features which will promote a realistic approach to the day to day training of firefighters i.e. ladder training, roof training, breathing apparatus work and sewer rescues.
The new Fire Station will ensure that an efficient service will be provided for the people of Kilmarnock well into the 21st century.

W. Paton Ltd.

Mr. Graham Campbell
Architectural and Related Services
Strathclyde Regional Council
Director: Mr. D. Gray, Dip.Arch.(Abdn.). R.I.B.A.,




District’s new £2m. firefighting facility is opened


Kilmarnock’s new £2 million fire station in Campbell Street, Riccarton, was officially opened last Friday by Councillor Pat Donnelly, vice-chairman of Strathclyde Regional Council’s Police and Fire Committee.
In his introductory remarks, Regional Council vice convener Bill Perry said that new station would be of major benefit to the local community in Kilmarnock and surrounding area.
As well as providing the best of fire cover for the district the new building would make life much easier for the firefighters stationed there.
There is sleeping accommodation for 22 a fitness room, TV lounge, recreation room and modern kitchens, The training building to the rear incorporates a variety of features which will enable firefighters to participate in ladder training, roof training, breathing apparatus work and sewer rescues.
Said Councillor Perry: “It’s a highly impressive building and it shows the Regional Council’s commitment to the fire service.”
Strathclyde Firemaster John Jameson described the new facility as one of the finest fire stations he had ever seen or ever been in.


Said Mr Jameson: “Some people might say it’s a bit too good for the firefighters, but to those of you who are not in the Fire Service, just remember, this is the good end of the job.
“My firefighters work in the worst possible conditions that you can ask any employee to work under. They work in cold, wet, windy and frozen conditions and do jobs that no one else in the community does.”
Mr Jameson then made reference to the Government's plans do away with Strathclyde Region in a couple of years’ time.
When the Region came into being in 1975, said Mr Jameson, there were old fire stations and old equipment lying around, and firefighters didn’t have the proper training or equipment to work with.
But following the tragic Oban fire in the 1970s where more than 20 people lost their lives, things started to change.
“Now” said Mr Jameson, “we have only one full-time station in Strathclyde that was built before Wartime.
“A tremendous job has been done by the Regional Council in providing high standards of fire cover, and what’s followed on from that?
“In the last few years we’ve had the lowest number of fire deaths in the West of Scotland since the war.”
Also present at the opening was local MP Willie McKelvey, who remarked that it was right and proper that firefighters should have such an excellent facility to work in.
He referred to the current controversy over water privatisation, reminding the gathering that “the water that scoots through the firefighters’ hoses is our water”
And he added: “We’ll continue to fight not only the privatisation of water, but for the fire service as well”.

More than 100 years of fire cover

Kilmarnock has had fire cover for well over l00years. In 1884 a portion of Riccarton House was converted for keeping a fire hose-reel, and three years later a house at Green Street was purchased which housed Kilmarnock’s three hose-reels.
The premises became unsuitable and the new station in Titchfield Street officially opened in 1937 This building then became the main station for Kilmarnock Burgh Fire Brigade under the leader: ship of Firemaster David Inverarity.
In 1941 the administration of all fire brigades was transformed from local authorities to the Secretary of State and became the National Fire Service, remaining under that control until it was handed back to the local authorities, Kilmarnock Fire Station becoming part of the newly formed South Western Area Fire Brigade.
Then following reorganisation in 1975, Kilmarnock came under the umbrella of Strathclyde Region.
<PHOTO> Strathclyde Firemaster John Jameson with Councillor Pat Donnelly after the unveiling of the plaque at the official opening of the new fire station.
(The Kilmarnock Standard, April 1, 1994. Page 9.)



If you know of any mistakes or have any additions to this document please let me know.


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