R17 LARGS

1 Pump Retained

Stations

  Moorburn Chambers.
  Burgh Yard, Gogo Street.
  Court Street opposite Police Station.
4/11/1955 to 1979 Brisbane Road at Kelvin Street. (Old SCWS Laundry)
1979 to 1980 Temporary Station John Street.
3/11/1980 to Brisbane Road, Largs, Ayrshire, KA30 8NQ.                              Photo

Moved into Brisbane Road 25/5/1955 and Official Opening 4/11/1955.

 

Firemasters

1955 Sub Officer James Lamb
to Jan'1972 Sub Officer Ronnie McDonald L/Fm??
1972 to 1974? Sub Officer George Goodlet L/Fm??
1974? to 1978? Sub Officer Davie Dick
to 31/3/1998 Sub Officer T J H Stevens
12/6/1998 Sub Officer Peter Bowyer

 

Brigades

to 1941 Largs Fire Brigade
1941 to 1948 National Fire Service
1948 to 1975 South Western Area Fire Brigade
1975 to 2005 Strathclyde Fire Brigade
2005 Strathclyde Fire & Rescue (Name change only.)

 

Appliances

1900? to 1910   Open Fire Waggon (Horse Drawn)  
    2 wheeled Hand Barrow (Pushed by Firemen)  
 1940 AAG947 Bedford Limosine/Coventry Climax SP
  GUC4 Austin K2/Home Office ATV
1975 ESD853D Bedford J5 SZ3/HCB Angus WrT
1983 GSD401N Dodge K850 HCB Angus WrL
1989 UGA406W Bedford TKEL/HCB Angus/CSV Fulton and Wylie WrL
1994 G538PGE Scania 93M-210/Fulton and Wylie WrL
2003 N823JSU Scania 93M-220/Emergency One RPL
2010 November SF53PPV Scania 94D-260/Saxon RPL

 

Notes

 

 

The South Western Fire Area Administration Scheme Order, 1948

 

 

Equipment

Retained

 

1 Self Propelled Pump

1 Leading Fireman

 

1 Light Trailer Pump

9 Firemen

 

The South Western Fire Area Administration Scheme Order, 1957

 

 

 

Equipment

Retained

 

2 Pump Appliances

1 Sub Officer

 

 

1 Leading Fireman

 

 

8 Firemen

 

Establishment 2000

 

 

Equipment

Retained

 

1 Water Tender Ladder

1 Sub Officer

 

 

1 Leading Firefighter

 

 

8 Firefighters

 

Opened 1980 Ten men and a water tender. Built on existing site.

 

LARGS TO HAVE ITS OWN FIRE BRIGADE 

Largs Town Council have decided to establish a fully equipped burgh fire brigade. A Firemaster and other personnel have already been appointed. A new “pool” arrangement would make the brigade available for service at fires in other parts of Ayrshire, as other brigades would be available for Largs and district if a major outbreak necessitated assistance.
(The Greenock Telegraph and Clyde Shipping Gazette, Wednesday, December 13, 1939. Page 2.)

 

NEW FIRE STATION

A new Fire Station was opened last night at Largs in premises which were formerly used as a laundry. Provost W.B.Gilmour, Kilmarnock, Chairman of the South Western Area Fire Service Joint Committee presided at the opening ceremony, which was performed by Provost John Robertson, Largs.
Mr John Stewart, Deputy Firemaster of the South Western Area Fire Brigade, said the work of adapting the building for use as a fire station was carried out by members of the Brigade at a cost of less than £3000.
(Glasgow Herald, November 5, 1955. Page 5)

Largs' "Bargain" Fire Station

LARGS new "bargain" fire station ("good enough for a city") in the former S.C.W.S. laundry in Brisbane Road cost under £3000 to buy and equip.
Deputy Firemaster John Stewart of the South Western Area Brigade, said this at a reception in Largs Municipal Chambers on Friday evening after the new station had been opened by Provost John Robertson.
Mr Stewart stated that to erect a new fire station would have cost twice or three times £3000, and they would not have been allowed to build so spacious a building.
The work of adapting the premises was done almost in its entirety by full-time firemen from other parts of the area and by the part-time men in Largs.
The new station is a tremendous improvement from the cramped premises used for so many years in Court Street behind Watters' Garage.
There is a spacious area for the fire engine, the tender and the auxiliary pump and there is a comfortable duty room and offices.
This is one stage of the conversion. The second stage will be to partition off part of the building into a general purposes room for training, lectures and recreation. A boiler is to be installed to heat the premises, a necessary provision to prevent deterioration of the equipment.

Opening Ceremony

Provost Wm. B. Gilmour, Kilmarnock, chairman of the South Western Area Fire Service Joint Committee, presided at the opening ceremony and called upon Provost John Robertson to open the station.
The Largs Provost did so by cutting a ribbon at the main entrance in Kelvin Street
He said it gave him great pleasure to perform the ceremony and to express to the Fire Service Joint Committee the cordial thanks of Largs for providing and equipping the station for the burgh and surrounding area.
"We have been anxious for many years to get something of this nature in Largs. Plans had been prepared, but unfortunately the cost was beyond what the burgh could face.
"The people of Largs by the provision of this station will be given more security in their homes since we have now ample provision here for the town and district."
In opening the station the Provost expressed good wishes to the local brigade, but added the hope that they would seldom he called upon.

Official Party

Also attending the ceremony, in addition to members and officials of Largs Town Council, were Councillor Wm. Bushell, Mauchline, vice-chairman of the South Western Area Fire Service Joint Committee; Ex-Provost W. R. M'Kinlay, a member of the committee; Divisional Officer Malcolm Hume, Kilmarnock; Station Officer Patrick Watters, Ardrossan; Police Inspector James Colville, Largs; and Mr A. F. Wilson, representing Mr Thos. Pate, Clerk to the Fire Service Joint Committee
After the opening ceremony, Provost Robertson sounded a new alarm bell for the first time and the members of the local brigade under Sub-Officer James Lamb staged a turnout and drill.
The fire engine was quickly manned and on the brigade re-turning to the station after a short journey they gave a demonstration in the yard at the rear. In no time at all scarcely the firemen had an extension ladder against a block of municipal houses in Kelvin Street and were pouring water from a hose on to the roof.

The Local Brigade

In addition to Sub-Officer Lamb, members of the brigade are Leading Fireman Drew M'Gill and Firemen James Lindsay, Robert M'Kellar, Ian Rae, George Goodlet, Tony Sleven, Ronald M'Donald, Rae Muncaster and John M'Arthur (who was appointed this week to a vacancy).
Provost Gilmour at a reception given to the official party by Provost Robertson in the municipal chambers, and attended by members of the local brigade, said it was a pleasure to see the opening of the new station in Largs and he thanked Provost Robertson for performing the ceremony.
"I would like to thank the men of the service," added Provost Gilmour, "firstly for persevering with the premises they had and in difficult circumstances maintaining a service which was a credit to the Fire Service.
"In the second place I would like to congratulate and thank them for all they have done to make the premises now provided so attractive."
It was fortunate, added the Provost, that the Fire Service Committee had the co-operation of so many people in acquiring premises so suitable and so central for Largs. He hoped the men of the service with the new premises would find the work less arduous and would be able to have more comfort and enjoy fellowship together.
"As Provost Robertson said there will be no regrets if the brigade are never called out, but if they are I am sure that the new facilities will make them better equipped to look after the fire fighting service in Largs."
Speaking of the co-operation existing between local authorities in Ayrshire, Provost Gilmour said they were bound together with the one ambition of serving the community and as long as that co-operation existed the county would be well served.

A Quick Deal

Deputy Firemaster Stewart said he was representing Firemaster H. R. Mackay, who was on a visit to the Fire Service College.
Mr Stewart, said the acquisition of the new fire station went back to one night in August of last year when he was on a routine visit to Largs. Mr Lamb drew his attention to the vacant laundry in Brisbane Road and he went along and had a look at it from the outside. He saw its possibilities and the following day he persuaded Firemaster Mackay to come and see it.
The Firemaster submitted a report and recommendation to Ayr. Sometimes proposals and recommendations that went to their administrative colleagues became "lost," but this time he gave full marks to Mr Pate and Mr Wilson of the Joint Committee. The contract to purchase the building was carried through so speedily that in May, nine months after the idea was first mooted the station was occupied, and all the work with the exception of knocking out the wall for the main entrance had been carried through by their whole time men or by the Largs firemen themselves. This, of course, greatly reduced the cost.
"I would like," added the Deputy Firemaster, "to thank the men of Largs for their hard work in preparing for this night. Personally I am very proud to be associated with them and wish them all success in their new station."
<PHOTO> Provost Robertson Opens Largs' New Fire Station. Provost Gilmour, Kilmarnock, looks on.(Largs and Millport Weekly News, Friday November 11, 1955. Page 3)

The members of Largs Fire Brigade, are now comfortably settled in their new and most suitable station, have two long service medal holders among them. The "veteran" of the brigade is Sub Officer James Lamb, who has 32 years service. It goes back to the days of the old black bus, which drew a hose trailer and was so packed with axes, hydrant stands and other equipment that there was scarcely room for the firemen. The other holder of the long service medal is Fireman James Lindsay, who has completed 23 years service. The medals were presented recently at a ceremony in the new station.
(Largs and Millport Weekly News, Friday November 11, 1955. Page 8)

The Story of Largs Fire Brigade of yore

by William R. Tyre

I have made for you a song,
And it may be right or wrong,
But only you can tell me if it's true.

These lines are from Kipling's preface to his "Barrack Room Ballads." I have been asked to write a history of the Largs Fire Brigade because my father was connected with it for about 25 years.
I can write only of what I remember during that period, and like the above preface, "only you can tell me if it's true."
The old firemen are gone. Two years ago Jimmy Lamb might have provided a link with the men who were the only safeguard the town knew back to the beginning of the century.
It must have been about the turn of the century that the brigade attended their most awful fire at Carlung, near West Kilbride.
It was on a night of bitter east wind and there was little hope of saving the mansion, fanned as the flames were. The men were, of course, facing the east elevation of the building; their backs were frozen and their faces scorched.
They gave up when the roof gutters melted and the liquid lead falling beside them aggravated the ordinary hazards of fire-fighting, and the hour's journey on the open fire waggon back to Largs was almost unendurable after facing the flames.

WHY MEN JOINED

The reader might wonder why men volunteered to be spare time firemen, and who they were.
They were mostly recruited from the building trade; slaters were particularly invaluable. The attraction was money. The brigade drilled one hour monthly on a Saturday afternoon and for this and the first hour's attendance at a fire they were paid two shillings and sixpence.
If half a crown seems paltry it has to be remembered that the building trade wage remained stubbornly at eightpence an hour for some years and a half-crown in a man's pocket had a comforting feel about it.
Payment was made half yearly and if there were a few fires, even minor ones could last a few hours, in the six months, the few pound notes were a welcome source of pocket money to the hard pressed tradesmen. If he were a family man, he would be lucky if his equally hard pressed wife could spare a shilling from the thirty four shillings that was the weekly wage for the maximum hours worked.

CALLED FROM HOMES

Master tradesmen were a little better off than their employees in those days and were not above service in the brigade. At the beginning the method of summoning the men to duty was by calling at their homes. This was erratic and I remember Mr Peter Macmillan, the master slater (and humourist) referred to himself as "the honorary member" because so often no one called him up.
Eventually a steam siren was installed at the gas works which proved a mixed blessing by bringing out sightseers in hundreds who impeded the firemen both by their presence and their tongues.
This was particularly the case if a fire happened on a summer's evening when the town was crowded with city holidaymakers. The crowd would probably be at the scene of the fire before the brigade, ready with their jibes and free with information on how a fire brigade should be run: on how the alarm being sounded made the city firemen slide down a pole from their homes above into the fire engine. On how at the press of a button the suspended harness dropped on the horses' backs and they took their places ready to be yoked, the girths tightened and in seconds were galloping over the city cobbles to their rendezvous.
Alas, the Largs brigade did not even own a horse. The men assembled at the burgh yard at the townhead awaiting the arrival of sufficient of their number to constitute a turnout and a harnessed horse jog trotting up Main Street from Watters' livery stables.
I referred to the fire waggon. It did valiant service till August,1910, when it met an unexpectant demise by drowning. Some called it the fire engine - it certainly was painted red - and the profane called it the "milk kert." The men sat on it back to back facing the two wheels, probably four or five on each side and one or two in front with the professional driver. The men wore a belt containing an axe and a helmet. There were also the ladders, upstands and hoses; altogether a weighty load for a lightly bred cab-horse.
The town council spent most of one of their monthly meetings deliberating on the purchase of a horse of their own. The outcome was a lovely back gyp, a breed heavy enough for draught but capable of trotting. It was everyone's horse and opened up a new life for the burgh surveyor.
Middleton waterworks were visited daily and so much other employment was found for the poor animal that reports of its being overworked were heard. The burgh surveyor was also the firemaster. I do not know whether it was in his capacity of firemaster he complained of the horse being tired by reason of the burgh surveyor's daytime activities, or as burgh surveyor did he criticise the nocturnal firehorse duties and monthly drills.
But without anyone foreseeing it, the days of the red fire waggon and with it the use of horse were soon to end.

THE FLOOD

It was an ordinary wet evening on a Saturday in August, 1910.
I was out in the rain between six and ten o'clock.
There was no storm that I can remember only a steadily increasing volume of rain. The bridge at Mackerston was a poor affair, supported by rounded iron tubs resting on the bed of the Gogo Burn. They might have withstood the pressure of water alone, but not the uprooted builders which moved against them. That was the end of only one of the bridges that night in this district.
Higher upstream the stream gouged away a section of the burgh yard and next morning some odd members of red timber lying in the quietened Gogo, against what is now the putting green, were all that remained of the fire waggon.
I do not know how long the town council controlled the fire brigade. Probably longer than my father remained in it which would be until about 1929.
The councillors were never over generous in regard to equipment and they must have been shaken by the loss of the fire waggon in 1910. Two of their parsimonies was a resistance for a time to the understanding that compensation should be made for the loss in value of a good suit should a man be thus attired when he rushed to the place of assembly.
The other request was for electric bells to their homes to summon them quietly without he company of the populace at he sound of the fire horn. This refinement was dismissed as ruinous and absurd.

TWO-WHEELED BARROW

They must have been nonplussed to come to a decision on a replacement because the motor age was approaching. They did not err in precipitancy, and I remember the firemen pushing along Boyd Street a two-wheeled barrow (not painted red) loaded with their equipment as they jog-trotted to a fire in Brisbane Street. This was surely their nadir.
The fire waggon wasn't replaced. They were probabiy indebted to Mr Watters for the hire of a motor vehicle of some sort, and latterly a mini bus which stood in Gallowgate Square to convey players to Routenburn Golf Course became the recognised fire waggon. The hoses and equipment were transferred from the burgh yard to Watters' backyard in Court Street.
I should qualify my observation that money was the sole incentive for the men being in the fire brigade. Some remained there for most of their useful lives. I regret I can recall only three: Bobby Hunter, Alex Boyd and Jimmy Lamb. Was there some degree of esprit de corps? I remember that my father after he resigned from the brigade, appeared at a fire in the Victoria Hotel and worked strenuously for hours.

ROCKLAND

During the first war there was a fire - a minor one probably - in Rockland (now Red Cross House). My father wrote to me serving on the Salonika front at that time, describing the satisfaction of the lady of the house with the efforts of the firemen and she hastily organised a small party for them to which they contributed.
"There will be a right blaze some day," the old firemen used to predict with their mental eye on tenements of Sandringham proportions. Well there wasn't and I don't know if they were disappointed.
Even during the Clydebank blitz one of the raiders let loose a string of incendieries on Largs. They fell harmlessly into the sea at the foot of Anthony Road.
It is a comfort to see the modern fire engine, polished and gleaming in its station on the site of the old steam laundry. Largs has truly advanced since the day of hired horses and wheel-barrows. And more imperative, there are the men who accept the hazard of this difficult and dangerous duty. We salute them!
(Largs and Millport Weekly News Friday, 11/8/1972)

Twin boost for volunteer fire fighters

THE VITAL and often dangerous job carried out by the fire service was highlighted earlier this week when brigades in the Largs area got a double boost.
Two new stations costing a total of £222,000 were opened, one at Skelmorlie, the other at Largs. The guests were welcomed at the Skelmorlie station by Councillor James Jennings, chairman. of Strathclyde Regional Council's Police and Fire Committee.
He introduced his vice-chairman. Councillor James McGuire, who unveiled a plaque commemorating the opening. Mr McGuire said that the retained firemen played "such a major part" in the fire service and added: "I don't think they get the credit they are due, especially in Skelmorlie."
The Rev Peter Houston, chaplain to Strathclyde Fire Brigade, dedicating the station, said that those in the fire service were seldom far from hazards.
"It is only right that we set these people apart for their service to the community," said Rev Houston, who added:- "Grant, 0 God, that they shall come to this place quickly, go from it willingly and return to it safely."

UNSUNG HEROES

Tendering the votes of thanks, Regional Councillor Richard Wilkinson said that all too often firemen were "the unsung heroes." He added: "Like the police they go quietly about their duty but on a special day like today we remember them." He described the opening of two fire stations in the, same division on the same day as "a rare and unique occasion."
Skelmorlie's first fire station was established in 1936. It used lorries operated by the firemaster in his slater's business. The station moved into premises owned by Lorne Garage and was manned throughout the war years by a full team of auxiliary firemen.
In charge of the present brigade of 10 men is Sub Officer William McConnell.

LARGS

At Largs less than an hour later, the roles were reversed as Vice-Chairman McGuire invited his chairman, Mr Jennings. to unveil the plaque. Mr Jennings said he wished the men who manned the station every success and expressed the hope that they would be free from serious hazards.
He recalled that Largs' first fire service also operated from a garage with the officer in charge living above. The pump was taken to the fires in a taxi and prior to the war there was no proper call-out system. The officer in charge got a call and hastened round to the local gasworks where a whistle was sounded to summon his colleagues.
Mr Jennings said that the present fire brigade dealt with about 120 calls per year. Like Skelmorlie, the new station would provide a speedier turnout, more efficient training facilities and a happier and more congenial atmosphere in which to work.
Rev Houston in his dedication address said it was times like these that made them aware of the element of danger involved in the fire-fighters' job- a risk that never diminished and was more likely to increase than decrease.
The votes of thanks were tendered by Mr Tom Dickie, convener of Cunningham District Council. He added his own tribute to air those who served the fire service and also praised the attractive design and sound construction of both fire stations.
The Largs station was built by John Moulds (Kilmarnock) Ltd. at a cost of £108,500.
The Skelmorlie station cost £20,646 and was constructed by Firholm Builders Ltd. of Hamilton. The firm presented the station with a dart board for its recreational department to mark the occasion The Largs firemen received a sum of money.

<PHOTO>

The unvieling of the plaque at Skelmorlie Fire Station from left Station Officer William McConnell, Councillor , Councillor James McGuire and Councillor Jennings.

<PHOTO>

Councillor Jennings performs the unvieling at Largs as from left Cunningham District Council Convener Tom Dickie, Councillor Wm Donald, Firemaster Richard Knowlton, Station Officer Tom Stevens and Councillor Wilkinson.
( Largs and Millport Weekly News, 7th November 1980, Page 12 )
The two Station Officers in the above mentioned photos were in fact Sub Officers.

 

<PHOTO> LARGS
Standing :-C. Anderson, E. Strachan, L/Fm J. Beattie, Sub Officer T. Stevens, B. Knox.
Seated :-S. Kennedy, W. Hibberd, H. Burt, G. Cass...........
( Largs and Millport Weekly News, 14th November 1980, Page 14 )

 

 

OFFICIAL OPENING

 

Largs Fire Station

 

By Councillor James Jennings, J.P,
Chairman, Police and Fire Committee
on Monday, 3rd November, 1980.
 

 

<PHOTO> The new station
<PHOTO> Muster area
<PHOTO> Councillor James Jennings, J.P.
<PHOTO> Councillor James McGuire, J.P.
<PHOTO> Firemaster Richard J. Knowlton Q.F.S.M. F.I.FireE. F.B.I.M.

 

Order of Proceedings

Guests Assemble

Platform Party Assemble 

Introductory Remarks
Councillor James McGuire, J.P.,
Vice-Chairman, Police and Fire Committee 

Unveiling of Commemorative Plaque
Councillor James Jennings, J.P.,
Chairman, Police and Fire Committee 

Dedication
Rev. Peter M. Houston, F.Ph.S.,
Strathclyde Fire Brigade Chaplain 

Vote of Thanks

 

Largs Fire Station 

Work started on the demolition of the original building and the construction of the new station on 4th June, 1979 and was completed on 18th September, 1980 at a cost of £108,500.
The new station is built on the same site as the former station which was inadequate in accommodation and facilities and had serious flooding problems.
The new fire station is built on one level. The appliance room has space for one appliance.
The station is manned by retained personnel consisting of one Sub Officer, one Leading Fireman and eight Firemen. These retained firefighters hold other jobs in the community but can be called at all times by pocket radio alerters, either from their homes, places of employment or social activities. They attend regular training sessions at the station. The station area consists of Largs, Fairlie and the outlying districts. In addition to fires in their own area the firefighters are called upon when required to attend fires in other parts of the Region and frequently work side by side with their full-time colleagues.
The station is administered from ‘D’ Division Headquarters at Station Road, Ayr.
Inspections, drills and lectures are undertaken by full-time officers from ‘D’ Division Headquarters on a regular basis. 

The Site
The Fire Station is situated on the corner of Brisbane Road and Kelvin Street, (the site of the original fire station, demolished in 1978). Temporary accommodation was leased at the Marine and Curlinghall during construction of the new station.
For reasons of safety, the building is set back from the frontage of Brisbane Road. Pedestrian access is from Brisbane Road, while vehicular access is available to the rear from Kelvin Street. 

The Design
The design was developed in close consultation with the Client, and has been adopted as a prototype for two other Fire Stations within the Region.
Aimed at a compact and therefore economic solution, the plan embodies minimal circulation area, and achieves a direct relationship of spaces essential to smooth and effective operational procedure.
Internal finishes are durable and easily maintained. Externally, the building is designed to reflect the scale and character of adjoining buildings, featuring slated pitched roofs and walls rendered in keeping with local tradition.
A controlled electrical ceiling heating system is set to ensure the most efficient and economic method of heating the building as required.

 

Main Contractor
John Moulds (Kilmarnock) Limited
5-13 East Netherton Street, Kilmarnock. 

Architect, Quantity Surveyor, Mechanical & Electrical Engineering
Mr. W. Eric Finlayson R.I.B.A., F.R.I.A.S.
Director of Architectural and Related Services,
Strathclyde House, Glasgow. 

Project Architect
Mr. P. J. Cronin 

Clerk of Works
Mr. W. McBride.

 

 

 

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