2 Rescue Pumps, 1 Water Rescue Unit Unit,  Wholetime.


 ? to 1927 High Road
1927 to 1978 Knowetop, Windmillhill Street                                          Photo
 22/3/1978 Dellburn Street, Motherwell, ML1 1SE                            Photo



1870 to 1887 Part time Firemaster James Young
1887 to 1902? Part time Firemaster W. Kay
1902? to 1899 Part time Firemaster James Dale
1899 to 1924 Part time Firemaster Purdie
1922 to 1941 Full time Firemaster Francais Cormack
Circa 1970 A.D.O. Malcolm McMillan (Station Commander)



1870   Wheelbarrow  
1887   Horse drawn Manual Pump  
1923 GM333 Halley Motor Fire Engine P
?   Ford Chassis body and lockers  
1938   Dennis Fire Appliance  
Till 1964 GLT939 1939 Standard Towing Unit (volunteers) ST
Till 1970s NYR122 Green Goddess (there 1961) (AFS) P

The ST was manned by R Peden and J Peden (brothers) Volunteer Firemen. A bell in their house operated by Watch Room. Given 10 minutes to attend after which it would be sent out by a fireman on duty at the station.
The Green Goddess was one of two in Lanarkshire Fire Brigade, Motherwell and Coatbridge, passed out by the Scottish Office to store and use if required. The GG was often used as spare when the WrT was off the run.
(From Joe Bartholomew, Motherwell. 24/9/2012)


  First Second RRU FST OSU ET Water Rescue Unit Hose Lorry
1968 AVD687B 185GVA       GVD777    
1976 AVD687B     JVD103E        
1980 YGE820S YGE821S            
1983 EGD267X EGD273X NGD16V          
1989 E146XDS              
1994 L715UGA L716UGA E460SSD          
1998 L715UGA L716UGA P792UGA          
2002 SG02UKW L715UGA P792UGA          
2003 SG02UKW SF03OMZ     SF03ARU      
2005 SG02UKW SF03OMZ     SB51XLD     SA05CMV
2008 SF06GCK SF03OMZ     SB51XLD     SA05CMV
2009 SF06GCK SF59CYE     SB51XLD     SA05CMV
2011 Jan SF06GCY SF59CYE     SB51XLD     SA05CMV
2012 Jul 5 SF06GCY SF59CYE         SJ12UWV SA05CMV
2015 Dec SF06GCY SL64MDN         SJ12UWV SA05CMV
2020 Jan SF03OMY SL64MDN         SJ12UWV SA05CMV
2020 May SF06GCV SL64MDN         SJ12UWV SA05CMV
2021 May SF06GCV SL64MDN         SJ12UWV SN20RBV
2021 July SF06GCV SL64MDN         SJ12UWV  
2023 Aug SF06GCV SF71GCZ         SJ12UWV  
2023 Aug SF70GXK SF71GCZ         SJ12UWV  


185GVA Dennis WrT?
GVD777 Dennis F12/Dennis ET
AVD687B Dennis F36 WrE
JVD103E Bedford TK FST
YGE820S Dodge K1113/CFE WrL
YGE821S Dodge K1113/CFE WrL
NGD16V Ford A0160/Fulton & Wylie ESU
EGD267X Bedford KG/CFE WrL
EGD273X Bedford KG/CFE WrL
D195PGD Scania 82M/Fulton & Wylie WrL
E460SSD Ford Transit LWB RRU
E146XDS Scania 82M/Fulton & Wylie WrL
L715UGA Scania 93M-210/Emergency One WrL
L716UGA Scania 93M-210/Emergency One WrL
P792UGA Mercedes 412D/SFB RRU
SB51XLD Ford Ranger 4x4 OSU
SG02UKW Scania 94D-260/Emergency One RPL
SF03ARU Ford Ranger 4x4 OSU
SF03OMY Scania 94D-260/Saxon RP
SF03OMZ Scania 94D-260/Saxon RPL
SA05CMV Vauxhall Movano Pick up Truck HoL
SF06GCK Scania P270/JDC RPL
SF06GCV Scania P310 CP14 6x2 RS/JDC/Vema 28M ARP
SF06GCY Scania P310 CP14 6x2 RS/JDC/Vema 28M ARP
SF08UWR Ford Ranger OSU
SF59CYE Scania P270/Polybilt/JDC RPL
SJ12UWV Mercedes Sprinter 4x4/Wilker WRU
SL64MDN Scania P280/JDC RPL
SN20RBV Mercedes Sprinter Pick-up Truck HoL
SF70GXK Scania P280/Emergency One (New Gen) RP
SF71GCZ Scania P280/Emergency One (New Gen) RP

 The OSU will tow the Water Rescue Equipment. (October 2005)
 SF06GCY for disposal un-economical to repair. (January 2020.)
SN20RBV moved to Shotts as Wildfire Unit.


1870 Motherwell Fire Brigade
1920 Motherwell and Wishaw Fire Brigade
1941 to 1948 National Fire Service
1948 to 1975 Lanarkshire 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


The Lanarkshire Fire Area Administration Scheme Order, 1948


  Equipment Wholetime Volunteer
  1 Pump Escape 2 Company Officers 10 Firemen
  1 Turntable Ladder 2 Section Leaders
  1 Water Tender 4 Leading Firemen  
  1 Emergency Tender 21 Firemen  
1 Self Propelled Pump
1 Salvage Tender


Establishment 2000


  Equipment Wholetime  
  2 Water Tender Ladders 4 Station Officers  
  1 Road Rescue Unit  4 Sub Officers  
    12 Leading Firefighters  
    48 Firefighters  

The Establishment are split over four watches (Red, Blue, Green and White) working a 2 days, 2 nights and 4 days off rota.


Establishment 2003


  Equipment Wholetime  
  2 Water Tender Ladders 4 Station Officers  
    4 Sub Officers  
    4 Leading Firefighters  
    44 Firefighters  

The Establishment are split over four watches (Red, Blue, Green and White) working a 2 days, 2 nights and 4 days off rota.


On Thursday 17th July 2003, the Road Rescue Unit was taken off the run due to the introduction of Rescue Pump Ladders in East Command.

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, Motherwell was changed from N01 to D01.


Presentation to Mr. John Purdie


At a social gathering of the members of the Fire Brigade and friends held within the Public Baths on Friday evening, occasion was taken to mark Firemaster Purdie’s retrial from the Brigade by presenting him with a tangible token of the esteem in which he is held.
Bailie Mincher presided over the gathering, and the company, through the kind hospitality of Mr. and Mrs. Purdie, were entertained to tea and a social evening.
The Chairman, in the course of some very interesting remarks, recalled that it was in 1870 that the Motherwell Town Council, recognising the need for a municipal force to cope with the outbreaks of fire, instituted the Motherwell Fire Brigade, under the charge of Mr. James Young. Nine firemen were enrolled, and the total equipment amounted to one hand reel and 110 yards of hose. This poorly equipped body was severely tested in an outbreak at the late Bailie Miller’s sawmill in Hamilton Street, the property being completely gutted in spite of heroic efforts on the part of the brigade. In 1887 the Fire Brigade was reorganised, and there was added the manual fire engine that was familiar to every inhabitant of Motherwell till last year, when it was superseded by the new motor fire engine. Wm. Kay was then appointed superintendent, and the Brigade dealt effectively with occasional outbreaks until his retrial in 1902. The biggest of them deserves mention, it taking place at Dalziel Co-operative Bakery in Coursington Street, and the water supply being poor, the conflagration was not got under control until the water had been cut off from all other districts in the town. Mr. Kay retired in 1902, and his place was taken by our esteemed water superintendent, Mr. James Dale, who acted capably in the capacity of firemaster until he was relieved of the post on the opening of the Coulter Waterworks, his duties being very much increased thereby. During his period of command Mr. Dale had some trying and thrilling experiences, and on different occasions was highly complimented on the promptitude and energy shown by the brigade. In Mr. Dale’s time the fire bells were first carried into every fireman’s home, the method previously being for messengers to be sent from the Police Station to warn each fireman. An historic summons came while a Burgh employee’s social was at its height, and small fire that night was honoured with the attention of firemen in evening dress. Continuing, Bailie Mincher mentioned that Mr. Dale was succeeded by their friend Mr. Purdie, who had already been a fireman for a long period, and who ably filled the responsible position until his recent retiral. It was a common sight to see Mr. Purdie hurrying out from his house in Enfield Place in response to a ca1l, and it was frequently noted that he could reach the Fire Station before he had fastened the last button. Mr. Purdie’s greatest fires were those at Hurst, Nelson’s and Chambers’ Sawmills, in both of which extensive damage was caused. His period of office was creditably free from accidents—indeed there was only one case of fatality, through fire in all the history of the brigade—a boy being fatally burned in an outbreak at Brown’s Firewood Factory. It was regrettable that Mr. Purdie’s retrial should have taken place just at a time when the brigade has become one of the smartest and most efficient in Scotland. Their new fire engine could have the water playing on a fire in the outermost part of the burgh ten minutes after the alarms, the average time for it to be on the spot being four minutes. Since the arrival of the new fire engine, the astounding total of 32 fires had been dealt with, and in no case did the flames long withstand the attack.

A Great Fire Fighter.

In presenting Mr. Purdie with a gold watch, suitably inscribed, Fireman Campbell declared that as firemaster Mr. Purdie had always shown he was able to manage and pull through in the biggest job in the way of a fire they had had in the town yet. Mr. Purdie during his term had handled the biggest fire he believed that had ever occurred in the industrial centre of Lanarkshire—that at Hurst, Nelson’s—and by his handling of that conflagration and others he had shown himself a most efficient and capable chief of the Fire Brigade. He was sure he spoke the feelings of everyone in the Brigade when he said they were sorry to lose Mr. Purdie. In the name of the Brigade, he had much pleasure in presenting Mr. Purdie with a gold watch, and Mrs. Purdie with a beautiful lady's handbag. (Cheers.)
Mr. Purdie, on rising to reply, said he was very sorry to leave the Brigade after being an active member for 25 years. He thanked them very heartily for the kindness which had prompted their gifts to himself and Mrs. Purdie. He was glad they had associated Mrs. Purdie in that presentation, for a fireman's wife had much to do with the efficiency of the fire brigade. Firemen, as they would know, were liable to be called out at all hours, and when they came home wet and cold after being at the putting out of a fire, they depended on their women folks having something warm in readiness to bring them round to normal again. (Laughter and applause.)
Provost M’Lees, who followed with some interesting remarks, expressed the hope that Mr. Purdie would be long spared to enjoy his leisure in retirement, but after all it would only be retirement in name, for he was perfectly certain when Mr. Purdie heard the call of the whistle and the clang of the bell he would be getting into his boots and going out to see where the fire was. (Hear, hear.) He had known Mr. Purdie for a long time, and during the period he was Firemaster the Town Council had absolute confidence in the way he carried out the duties entrusted to his charge. (Applause.)
Police Superintendent Welsh, who was called upon for a few remarks, said he had had a long connection with the Motherwell Fire Brigade. As a clerk in the Police Office, it had been his duty to call them out frequently in the old days, and when after a long period of service elsewhere he returned to Motherwell as Sergeant, he still had a connection with the Brigade. He knew everyone of them and saw them often at work, and the lessons he learned in Motherwell stood him in good stead when later he was transferred to Cambuslang and there became officer in charge of the Fire Brigade. (Hear, hear.) Speaking of his experience of the County Fire Brigade and of the burgh, the Superintendent remarked that where the county beat the burgh was in getting away, but that was the only thing they could beat them on. His view was that if the Motherwell Brigade were stationed in close proximity to the fire engine, as the County Brigade were, then the Motherwell Brigade could give the County points. During all the time he had been in Motherwell, as constable, sergeant and superintendent, he had been on the best terms of friendship with Mr. Purdie, and he was glad to be associated with them that night in honouring their late Firemaster, for Mr. Purdie deserved it from them. (Applause.)

Presentation to Fireman Gray

At a later stage in the evening the Provost presented the fireman’s long service medal (for 20 year’s service) to Fireman John Gray. In making the presentation, the Provost remarked that he was informed, Fireman Gray joined the Brigade under rather unique circumstances. Over twenty years ago a big fire took place in Coursington Street, and the brigade when hard pressed availed themselves of Mr. Gray’s services as a volunteer. It appeared that Mr. Gray so impressed everyone with his work on that memorable occasion that he was regarded as a very suitable man for the Brigade, and when the first vacancy arose he was offered and accepted a place in the Brigade. The volunteer of twenty years ago had not belied his promise, and as a regular during these twenty years he had proved over and over again that he was made of the real stuff. (Applause.)
During the evening Mr. John Smith’s Quartette Party favoured with excellent renderings of part songs, and solos were tastefully sung by Messrs Skinner, Hyslop, Cottar, and Young. Miss Croucher, elocutionist, gave popular readings, which were very much enjoyed.
Votes of thanks were accorded the Chairman and the artistes; Mrs. Purdie for so hospitably entertaining the gathering; and Mrs. Jack for the admirable manner in which the tables were laid out and served.
The pleasure of the evening was enhanced by an enjoyable dance.
(The Motherwell Times, Friday, April 25, 1924.)


Provost Lays the Foundation Stone 

The foundation stone of the new Fire Brigade Station at Knowetop was laid by Provost M’Lees on Tuesday afternoon in the presence of the members of the Town Council, burgh officials, and lady friends,
The ceremony was also witnessed by an interested crowd of the townspeople who lined the pavement opposite the Fire Station, obtaining a good view of the ceremony.
Bailie James Mincher, Convener of the Fire Brigade Committee, presided and the proceedings were opened with the singing of psalm 100 “All people that on earth do dwell” accompaniments being played by the Town Band.
The chairman intimated that the casket which was to be placed in the cavity contained the following articles:—Minutes of Motherwell and Wishaw Town Council, September, 1925; Town Council Year Book. 1924-5; Standing Orders of Town Council; descriptive sketches of the Burgh of Motherwell and Wishaw (by T. Orr); photograph of Town Council at water trip, 1925; “Glasgow Herald,” 29th September, 1925; the “Bulletin,” 29th September, 1925; “Daily Record,” 29th September, 1925; “Motherwell Times,” 25th September; “Wishaw Press,” 25th September; “Wishaw Herald,” 25th September; “Hamilton Advertiser,” 26th September; “Lanarkshire,” 24th September, 1925; Standard Diary and Time-table, September; accounts of Town Council, 1923-4; accounts of Dalziel Parish Council; list of contractors engaged on the building; current coins, etc.
The Provost then proceeded to lay, the foundation stone, using trowel and mallet in graceful fashion befitting the historic ceremony.
A Scripture reading was afterwards given by Rev. G. Kerr M’Kay, M.A., Dalziel Parish Church, the verses chosen being very appropriate.
The dedication prayer was offered by Rev. J. A. Nicholls, Cambusnethan Parish Church, the petitions offered expressing the thoughts and prayers of all.
The 2nd Paraphrase—“O God of Bethel”—was afterwards sung, following which there was the benediction and the singing of the National Anthem.
On the conclusion of the ceremony, the party adjourned to the pavilion of the Dalzell Bowling Club, opposite the Fire Station, where short addresses were given bearing on that day’s ceremony.
The Provost, in welcoming the guests said there was nothing in human nature people enjoyed more than in gathering their friends together that might enjoy a cup of tea. The committee in charge of that day’s ceremony thought this was the best way of furthering interest amongst the townspeople in municipal work. The actual ceremony had been performed outside, and now they had come there to hold the social part of it. They were very greatly indebted to the Dalzell Bowling Club for their kindness in granting the use of their premises that afternoon, and but for their hospitality he didn’t know that their function would have been so successful

The Burgh’s New Policy.

He thought they would agree that the Fire Station of which they had laid the foundation stone that day marked a new policy on the part of the Town Council, which was a decided advance on the Fire Brigade policy of the past. The story was told—he could hardly go so far back—that once upon a time in this or that part of the burgh fire brigade organisation proceeded on such leisurely lines that when a fire broke out they used to send out post-cards to the firemen summoning them to attend the fire. (Laughter.) Even supposing that that didn't happen in Motherwell, but in Wishaw—(laughter)—the methods at the Motherwell end of the burgh were equally dilatory. This question of the fire brigade was a problem which had been puzzling the heads of not only this Town Council, but many of their predecessors. He could recall that in 1912 the burghs of Motherwell, Hamilton and Wishaw, in an effort to solve this problem, held several conferences to discuss the question of a joint brigade for the three burghs, but none of the conferences came to very much. The burgh of Hamilton went on the lines of establishing a brigade of their own, and while Motherwell favoured one brigade for the three towns, this became impracticable. In 1920, when the burghs of Motherwell and Wishaw amalgamated, they again took up the problem of the fire brigade. They all knew the proverb of “putting the cart before the horse,” but they went on the lines of putting the engine before the house. (Laughter.) They had a splendid engine, but no place to keep it in except in a small shed. Notwithstanding that the firemaster and his staff had been working under disadvantages in regard to the housing of the engine they had got …………………………….. well, and the firemaster would be a satisfied man that day to know that the Fire Station would soon be an accomplished fact, and suitable quarters provided for the engine, with the other conveniences necessary for the equipment of an up-to-date Fire Station. (Hear, hear.)

Introducing the M.P.

Continuing, the Provost remarked that that was the first occasion since Rev. James Barr’s election to Parliament that they had had the opportunity of inviting Mr. Barr, as their Parliamentary representative, to attend a municipal function, and they were pleased to have him with them that afternoon. “While we don’t all agree with Mr. Barr—some of us disagree with him very strongly—still he is our Member of Parliament,” remarked the Provost, “and an outstanding public man, and we are delighted to have him here today:” (Applause.)

Our M.P.’s Breezy Reply.

“I daresay I am like the man so well known that the least said about him the better—he doesn’t need any introduction,” remarked Mr. Barr amidst genial laughter in an opening sentence. He went on to say that in the interesting and beautiful ceremony they had witnessed that afternoon the Provost discharged his part just as his (Mr. Barr’s) ministerial brethren did theirs—that was all that needed to be said. (Laughter.) The thing that struck them most on an occasion like that was the great progress made in all departments of municipal life, and not least in that of the fire brigade. It was entrancing and interesting, and to him most invigorating, to read the story of the advance made in the line of progress from earlier days, when very little precaution was taken against fire, and when fires were often more destructive than they are now. Making a reference to the records of the city of Glasgow, Mr. Barr mentioned that in 1652 there was a fire in Glasgow that destroyed one third of the whole city. As the Provost had remarked, the early appliances used against fire were very primitive, and there was a time when leather buckets were used. The study of the records of Glasgow showed that these buckets were stolen. “I don’t know that that could have happened in Motherwell,” the speaker went on in humorous vein, “For one thing, you would have had the vigilance of the Provost and Magistrates, and the well known honesty of the people. (Laughter and applause.) Proceeding, Mr. Barr said there also came a time in Glasgow when the owners of premises were instructed to provide ladders in case of fire. In 1658 Glasgow went in for a fire engine, in that year the city chiefs instructed a Mr. James Colquhoun to procure an engine that would discharge water on houses or land that was on fire. One remarkable thing was that Colquhoun had to go to Edinburgh for information regarding the working of the fire engine. The deputation to Edinburgh cost £23. “If deputations are required here,” remarked the speaker, with a sly smile which was certainly not lost on his Town Council audience, “you have ancient precedents in history of the burghs.” (Hear, hear.) “I don’t know if in Glasgow they had to resort to sending out post cards to the firemen,” he continued, “but in any event they had to get the sanction of a Bailie before the fire engine was allowed to go out, and they had to get carters’ horses, and the man who had his horses turned out first got a premium over those who were more laggardly.” (Hear, hear.) The burghs had made great progress in other departments, and notably in public health. The death rate in many of their towns was down to half of what it was seventy or eighty years ago. A great deal yet remained to be done, but the achievements of the past in these directions gave them every confidence it would he done. (Applause) He was greatly struck on reading those early records in the matter of diseases and plagues how our forefathers always recognised the hand of God. It was well to recognise, however, that it was bad air, foul sewers, bad conditions, that were judged, and while we admired our forefathers for their piety, we hoped to maintain it in better ways.
Concluding, Mr. Barr wished the burgh every success in their various enterprises for the public good, for the advancement and betterment of public health, and for the preservation of the burgh and its amenities. (Applause.)
Mr. Barr indicated at the close of his speech that he required to go to fulfil another appointment, and, on the call of the Provost, he was accorded a very hearty vote of thanks.

Not a Follower of Barr’s.

Sir Henry Keith, the Provost of Hamilton, who was the next speaker, remarked laughingly on rising that while he was following Mr. Barr, M.P., they were not to assume he (Sir Henry) was a follower of his. (Laughter.) “I agree with a good deal of what he has said,” continued Sir Henry, “and if people would just get together and find out the points on which they were agreed, there would not be so many political parties in this country. In a great many things we are agreed; the unfortunate thing is the one party never gives the other the opportunity of agreeing with them.” (Hear, hear.)
Going on to speak on municipal problems, Sir Henry said he was pleased to hear Provost M’Lees refer to the conferences that went on among the burghs near to each other. He believed they could save money if they had a little more co-operation. He thought Motherwell and Wishaw had chosen very wisely with regard to their new fire station. It would be handy, too, for Hamilton, and they might get the use of the Motherwell brigade there without having to build a fire station for themselves. (Laughter.)

An Old Problem.

The fire brigade problem, Sir Henry went on, was a very old municipal problem—an old municipal financial problem. The people paid for the fire brigade were, as a rule, the people who get least use of it, and people who didn’t pay got the most use of it. The people who got the most use of it were the insurance companies—they were protected from very serious losses in regard to fire—but the insurance companies were not ratepayers and they contributed nothing to the rates. The owners of property again did not contribute as such to the rate for fire brigade purposes, as the rate in question was solely an occupier’s rate. That was one of the municipal problems they had tried to put right, but the interests of the insurance companies were so strong that they had not in twenty years found a Government that was prepared to remedy this matter. That was one of the reasons why fire brigades were not so numerous and not so well equipped as they might be.
Going on to discuss the manning of fire brigades, Sir Henry compared the differing personnel of the brigades, and he indicated that permanent officials of fire brigades would very probably come under the superannuation scheme, and this was going to increase the burden on the rates. Closing with a reference to public health improvements, Sir Henry said it had been a great pleasure for him to be there on that suspicious day, and he thanked them very much for giving him the invitation. (Applause.)

Presentation to the Provost.

Mr. A. V. Wilson said he had been asked to say a few words on behalf of the contractors, measurer and officials who had been fortunate enough to have a share in the work of the erection. It was a great pleasure to him to speak on behalf of the contractors, because they were practically all townsmen, all worthy tradesmen, and he was sure once their jobs were completed, those who looked on it would agree that they had given excellent service. It was the desire of those on whose behalf he was speaking to give the Provost a small memento of the laying of the foundation stone of the new fire station, and that memento took the form of a silver tea service. (Applause.) He had much pleasure in asking the Provost’s acceptance of the gift.

The Provost’s Birthday.

The Provost, in reply, said he wasn’t in the habit of getting gifts, and when it was suggested such a thing would be given him, he began to feel he wasn’t just exactly the right man for the job. It was the first time he had laid a foundation stone. “If this is the wage one gets for laying a foundation stone, no wonder the cost of building is high,” remarked the Provost. “I am wondering if I have got overtime, or if I am getting a higher rate than the ordinary tradesmen get.” (Laughter.) It so happened—and he didn’t quite notice it at first—that that function was held on 29th October—his birthday. (Hear, hear.) The coincidence of laying a foundation stone on one’s birthday, and receiving such a handsome present, went to make this birthday a very happy one indeed. (Applause.) Going on to speak of the experience of public life, the Provost said he was of the opinion that there were far too few functions in their public life when they could meet together in a social way and get their rough edges rubbed off.
Votes of thanks brought the platform proceedings to a close, and the company were afterwards entertained to tea, during which period music was rendered by the burgh band.
(Unknown newspaper and date)


Firemaster Cormack
speech on the opening of Knowetop

Provost Archibald, Mr Chairman and Gentlemen, this is a very serious fire call I have got to answer today. In fact the conflagration is so serious that I should call assistance. Well seeing I have started the job I suppose I shall have to say a few words in reply to all the good things that has been said about me today. I don’t think I deserve all that has been said but I can assure you Mr Provost, Ladies and Gentlemen that there is no none more pleased than I am today at the honour you have done me by placing to my charge this beautiful building. It is a handsome building, not too elaborate as some ones would make us believe and I don’t think the ratepayers can say that their money has been spent in foolish glorification as one would imagine when they read the Motherwell Times about a year ago. I must say that I never sat with a committee that was so anxious to do their duty in such a conscientious manner to the ratepayers as did the committee that carried through this scheme. Now Ladies and Gentlemen I am going to continue my part of the work in that self same spirit, and I think I can speak for those under me, that we shall do our very utmost at all times both in the workshops and outside, we shall unitedly endeavour to give you the very best of our labours at all times, and I trust it will be to your satisfaction and to the satisfaction of the ratepayers in general.
I don’t think I have any more to say Mr Chairman except to thank you one and all for your kindness in handing over to my charge and keeping this handsome building.


New Fire Station Opened

Motherwell’s new multi-purpose Fire Station in Dellburn Street was officially opened last week by Regional Councillor Charles O’Halloran, chairman of the Region’s Finance Committee.
The building is close to the site of the old fire station at Knowetop, which had been in use since 1927. Work began on the new building in February 1975.
Costing £450,000 the new station incorporates “E” Division Headquarters, which serves Monklands, Motherwell, Hamilton, East Kilbride and Lanark.
The station has a large drill hall, with concrete hose target and a 5,000 gallon water storage tank. It is manned by three Station Officers, four Sub Officers, seven Leading Firemen and 43 Firemen.
Accommodation is on one level and the station has space for five fire appliances with a Road Rescue vehicle on constant standby.
At the opening ceremony, Regional Councillor Nancy Ballantyne, who conducted proceedings, introduced the platform party and spoke of the work undertaken by the fire service.
One of the guests invited to the opening was 75 year old John Simpson, from Law who helped build the original Fire Station at Knowetop and who finished his working career with Motherwell and Wishaw Fire Brigade, based at Motherwell, in 1963.
<PHOTOS> Our photographs show: Top – some of the guests who attended the official opening ceremony, including Motherwell District Provost, Vincent Mathieson; District Councillors Joseph Mitchell, William Wilson, Findlay Johnson; and Regional Councillor James Fyfe. Above – Regional Councillor Mrs Nancy Ballantyne received a minature fire engine as a memento of the occasion from Mr Lennox Paterson, of Gavin Paterson and Son (Architects), of Hamilton, who designed the building. (none of these photos are on this site
(Motherwell Newspaper, March 31, 1978. Page 8.)


Motherwell Fire Brigade

During the year 1870, Motherwell Burgh Council formed their first Fire Brigade under the charge of Part-time Firemaster Mr. James Young. Nine firemen were enrolled and their equipment consisted of a wheel barrow carrying one hand reel with 110 yards piping, standpipe and branch.
The Burgh of Motherwell was unique in as much as no members of the Police Force were members of the Fire Brigade.
Firemaster Young attended a number of fires during his term as Firemaster, the most notable being a fire at Baillie Millars Saw Mill in Hamilton Street where the Mill, unfortunately, was destroyed.
In 1887 the Burgh Fire Brigade was re-organised and Superintendent W. Kay of the Burgh Water Department replaced Mr. Young as Part-time Firemaster. A new Manual Fire Engine was purchased, the engine being drawn by two horses whenever a fire occurred. Firemaster/Superintendent Kay continued in this dual role until he retired in 1902.
Mr. James Dale succeeded Mr. McKay as the third Part-time Firemaster of the Burgh Brigade. Again there was a new introduction, when Mr. Dale proposed to the Burgh Council that fire-bells should be installed in each of the Part-time Firemen's houses. The Council agreed and the scheme was duly completed.
This was a great advantage, as previously the call-out procedure was that messengers from the scene of the fire were sent to the Police Station in High Road. It was then the Police responsibility to warn each Fireman of the call by going to the Firemen's individual home address. The Police, of course, had to walk to each house. The Firemen then ran to the Fire Station in High Road to get out their Manual Fire Engine and obtain the supplied horses to draw the Engine to the fire.
When Firemaster Dale retired in 1899, Part-time Firemaster Purdie took over the reigns of office.
The Brigade attendance at fires increased as to the rapid growth of the towns population.
Mr. Purdie's major fires were at Hurst Nelsons and Chambers Saw Mill. The first fatal accident from burns occurred at Brown's Firewood Factory.
The fire cost an apprentice boy his life, when his clothing caught fire, being the first death to occur in the history of the Brigade since the formation in 1870 - a remarkable achievement.
During the year 1920, the Burgh of Motherwell and the Burgh of Wishaw amalgamated and became known as Motherwell and Wishaw Large Burgh.
The joint Town Council in 1921 decided to replace the Manual Fire Engines at Motherwell and Wishaw with a Motor Fire Engine and it was proposed to erect a Fire Station at Knowetop, Motherwell.
The separate Burghs continued, in the meantime, to run to fires; Firemaster Purdie covering Motherwell and Firemaster Walker, Wishaw.
The years 1920 to 1926 were lean years for the new Joint Committee. Both towns were heavily in debt and to add to their troubles, unemployment within the Burghs increased steadily. This period in Scottish history was known as the "Depression Years".
The proposal to purchase a Motor Appliance received a certain amount of criticism but it was heavily outweighed by the protests within the Town Council and the columns of the local papers regarding the erection of a new Fire Station and houses for Firemen at Knowetop. Bitter were the attacks within the Council Chambers as to the wisdom of incurring more debt by building a Fire Station. Ultimately the Town Council went ahead with both proposals.
The Foundation Stone of the new premises at Knowetop was laid by Provost McLees, J.P. on 29th September, 1925. The final cost of the new Fire Station amounted to £13,000.
It is of interest to note that behind the Foundation Stone there is a Casket containing historical documents, etc. The contents should be listed in this History of the Lanarkshire Fire Brigade.
(a) Minutes of the Town Council for September, 1925.
(b) Town Council Year Book.
(c) Town Council Standing Orders.
(d) Descriptive sketches of the towns of Motherwell and Wishaw.
(e) Photographs of the Annual Inspection of Water Works for 1925
(f) Various newspapers.
(g) Collection of Coins of the Realm.

(The Casket will require to be recovered when the existing Fire Station is demolished.)

In anticipation of more fire calls within future years, the Town Council decided to appoint a Professional Firemaster to the Brigade. This progressive move meant that for the first time since 1870, there would be a permanent full-time Officer to cover both towns.
From the many applications received the choice was the Firemaster of Helensburgh, Mr. Francis Cormack. No better choice could have been made as was brought out during the years ahead. Firemaster Cormack's appointment took place on the 18th August, 1922.
The Halley Fire Engine had not been delivered to the Burgh and it was unfortunate when Firemaster Cormack took up residence in Motherwell, he found there was no fire engine for him to man. In fact the Engine did not arrive until 1st May, 1923.
During the period of awaiting the arrival of the Fire Engine, Part-time Firemaster Purdie continued to run to fires in Motherwell and Part-time Firemaster Walker in Wishaw. The Manual Fire Engines were used and it is known that at least two call outs occurred in both towns during the period of wait.
Firemaster Cormack contended himself with the build up of administration and visiting the ever increasing number of Buildings, Factories and Steel Works within both towns to familiarise himself with their fire risks.
Prior to the arrival of the new Engine, a Driver/Mechanic was employed on the 13th April, 1923, as the second full time Fireman. The appointment was J. Arbuckle. The part-time members continued to run to fires and at that time were the main fire fighters under the charge of Firemaster Cormack and Part-time Firemaster Purdie.
Firemaster's Purdie's years of service came to a close on the 28th April, 1924. The Ceremony of Retiral was held within the precincts of the Motherwell Swimming Building. Mr. Purdie had acted as Part-time Firemaster from 1899 to 1924, twenty five years, during which time he showed great dedication to his duties as Firemaster of Motherwell Fire Brigade.
In 1927, it was realised by the Town Council and Firemaster Cormack that a more permanent form of Fire Brigade required to be formed. The Fire Station building was completed by January 1927 and it was decided to recruit two additional Firemen full-time who would also serve at their trades during the periods they were not engaged in fire fighting.
The appointments were duly made on the 13th May, 1927; H. Terris, a Blacksmith to trade and H. Martin, a joiner to trade. Both men were employed at their respective trades within the Fire Station premises.
In 1931, it was again decided to increase the strength of the Full-time Brigade and on 18th January, 1938, J. Calderwood, a Joiner to trade, joined H. Martin in the Joiners Shop.
A proportion of the Daily Duties consisted of the Professional Firemen carrying out Fire Drills and Exercises. The remainder of the day being devoted to the Tradesmen carrying out their respective trades.
The Part-time Firemen had been housed within the Station since it was completed and when ever there was a fire call assisted the Professional Firemen. J. Arbuckle built on a Ford chassis, a body and lockers for carrying fire fighting equipment. This now gave the Brigade two fire appliances to run to fires.
The next major step was the introduction of the Auxiliary Fire Service in 1938 and the arrival of a new modern Dennis Fire Appliance. Recruitment to the A.F.S. was good and soon both the Knowetop Station and the old fire station in High Road resounded to the shouts of the A.F.S. men carrying out their drills.
On the 3rd September, 1939, war was declared, and the A.F.S. Firemen found they were now Whole-time members of the Motherwell and Wishaw Fire Brigade.
This situation continued until the formation of the National Fire Service on 18th August, 1941, when the Burgh Brigade was absorbed into the Western Area of the N.F.S.
(Typed from a document of unknown origin 16/12/1997.)

Digging up the past at Motherwell

On Friday 9th February 1990 at the now disused Fire Station, Windmillhill Street, Motherwell. A Time Capsule which had been buried at a commemorative ceremony by the then Provost of Motherwell and Wishaw T. Stuart McLean, on September 29th, 1925 to commission the first purpose built Fire Brigade building for the Burghs of Motherwell and Wishaw at an estimated cost of 11,503.11.6d. which included a 300 cost for electric lighting. The station served the Burghs up to the opening in 1978 of the existing Station and Headquarters building adjoining the old Fire Station.
The Time Capsule was being unearthed prior to the demolishing of the old building and the honour was given to Mrs. Isobel McKidd of "E" Division Headquarters to accept the capsule on behalf of "E" Division, as her father William Shearer was present at the original ceremony in 1925, and had told her that they had buried money in it. The capsule was opened by Deputy Firemaster Jameson and Provost James Armstrong from Motherwell District, who examined and displayed the contents to the gathered crowd.
The contents of the Capsule are being safely stowed at "E" Division Headquarters, Motherwell and will subsequently be relocated within a Cairn which is to be built within the grounds of Motherwell Fire Station and Headquarters.
( From page 5, Aye Ready, Issue eight, Spring 1990.)



Fire Brigade Station



Made by the Provost, Magistrates and Councillors of the Burgh of Motherwell and Wishaw, relative to the occupation of Dwelling Houses by Firemen at the Fire Station.

1.             The Firemaster shall have general control and supervision of the Buildings, with power to see that these regulations are observed.

2.             Occupiers shall use every care to prevent the windows being broken, the wood and paint work being scratched or damaged, and any part of the building defaced or disfigured. They shall not drive nails into the walls or damage the plaster. They shall keep their houses clean and well aired. They shall not give offence or annoyance to their neighbours in any way.

3.             No clothing of any kind shall be hung out on the verandah railings or windows. No tea leaves or slops of any description shall be thrown into or washed down the scullery sinks. All ashes, rubbish, and waste paper shall be carried down and deposited in the ash-bin daily.

4.             Verandahs and stairs shall be swept every morning, and washed down at least once every week, by the occupiers of the five houses on the top floor, and by the occupiers of the three houses on the second floor, each in rotation as may be fixed by the Firemaster. The close back yard, etc., will be attended to by the Fire Brigade Staff.

5.             Occupiers must take every precaution to see that nothing is brushed or thrown over, the verandahs by children or others to the danger or annoyance of any one below.

6.             The verandahs shall on no account be used for the purpose of beating or cleansing rugs, carpets, or floor mats of any description. These must be taken down to the court either before 10 a.m. or after 8 p.m.

7.             When about to use baths, the cold water tap shall be turned on first and the bath partly filled with cold water before the hot water tap is turned on, as filling up with hot water first is detrimental to the enamel of the bath.

8.             No member of the Brigade shall take lodgers into the house he occupies except with the consent of the Firemaster; neither shall he keep dogs, cats, or any animals, except with consent as aforesaid.

9.             Anything getting out of order or requiring repair shall be reported to the Firemaster immediately.

10.          The gardens shall be kept in a neat and tidy condition, to the satisfaction of the Firemaster. 

11.          Washing house rules and regulations will be hung up in the wash house for the benefit of all tenants. 

Made by the Provost, Magistrates and Councillors of the Burgh of Motherwell and Wishaw, this 1st day of February, 1927.

                A. G. STEWART, Town Clerk.




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


MAIN INDEX                         1975 INDEX                         STRATHCLYDE INDEX                    SFRS WEST SDA STATIONS