GLASGOW SALVAGE CORPS
|1873 to 188?||35 Nicholas Street, GLASGOW.|
|188? To 1972||201-203 Albion Street, GLASGOW.|
|1972 to 1984||90 Maitland Street, GLASGOW. G4 0BH.|
|1873 to 1887||Superintendent Edwin Goodchild|
|1887 to 1903||Superintendent William Postdown|
|1903 to 1915||Chief Officer Edmun Brown|
|1915 to 1929||Chief Officer David K Brown|
|1929 to 1942||Chief Officer William D Clarke|
|1942 to 1952||Chief Officer David Beatson M.B.E.|
|1952 to 1959||Chief Officer William McCollum|
|1959 to 1968||Chief Officer Thomas Mundell|
|1968 to 1971||Chief Officer Ronald D Bevan|
|1971 to 1973||Chief Officer Alexander S Edmiston|
|1973 to 1981||Chief Officer William C Borland|
|1982 to 1984||Chief Officer William Harper QFSM|
|1946||EGE181||Ford (The Wee Machine)|
|1953||NGD567||Ford (The Bread Van)|
|1978||BGB901S||Bedford/Fulton and Wylie||DCU|
|1979||HHS924T||Bedford/Fulton and Wylie||DCU|
|?||MUS920V||Bedford/Fulton and Wylie||DCU|
THE GLASGOW SALVAGE CORP
One of the extremely important Salvage Corps of Great Britain is The
Glasgow Salvage Corp.
In May, 1847, an Association for rating business was formed, called the Glasgow Insurance Committee. In 1857, the Glasgow Salvage Corp was formed. These two committees amalgamated in January, 1876, and became known as the Glasgow Rate and Salvage Committee. In 1892, the committee was reconstructed and became known as the Glasgow Rate and Salvage Association, by which it is known now.
The Association, as regards Salvage work, acts in the case of Fire in conjunction with the local Fire Brigade. The Association maintains an information bureau which is of great service to its members. The Association is most efficient in every respect, and at all times its apparatus and appliances are up to date.
Few people realise the amount of work that is carried on by the Association, such as inspection in connection with Electric Light and Power Installations, Glasgow Warehouses, and Public Stores. Inspection work is carried on under different classifications-(a) Class "A" Stores: (b) Class "B" Stores: (c) Specially Rated Stores, Railway Stores and Sheds, Clyde Navigation Transit Stores, Private Stores, Bonded Warehouses, Public Timber Yards and Wharves, Fireproof Shutters, Sprinkler Installations, Fire Extinguishers, Theatres, Exhibitions, Bazaars and Cinematograph Film Depots.
Warehouses, Theatres, Wharves, Sheds and Stores, Film Depots, etc., are inspected regularly and reported upon, with the idea of seeing that cleanliness and certain order is kept, and all fire preventative measures are taken.
If any defect is found, the responsible people are advised by letter, if the person responsible ignores the notice of the defect, the Association most likely fixes a special rate for the extra fire risk they consider is being run, owing to their advice being ignored. The inspection work dates from 1891.
(From "AYE READY" A history of the Glasgow Fire Brigade 1601-1935.)
1873 – 1984
The Glasgow Salvage Corps
The story of the establishment of the Corps commences in 1873, but it had its
beginnings in what was know as ‘The Glasgow Insurance Committees’ which was
formed on the 12th May 1847, for the purpose of assessing fire
insurance rates in the City. A Salvage Corps Committee was formed on the 15th
August 1873, a Chairman and a Secretary being elected and a Surveyor employed to
help inspect risks and survey losses. The Salvage Corps became operative on the
22nd November of the same year. The two Committees were combined and
became known as the ‘Glasgow Rate and Salvage Committee’ on the 21st
January 1876 and reconstituted on the 1st January 1892 under the
name:- ‘Glasgow Rate and Salvage Association’.
At its commencement in 1873 the complement of the Corps consisted of a Superintendent, Foreman, Deputy Foreman and five men. A total of eight men and one horse drawn vehicle. Our original premises were situated in Nicholas Street then to 203-213 Albion Street in the late eighteen hundreds, thence to 90 Maitland Street on the 22nd June 1972, as ‘The Glasgow Salvage Corps’. At present our authorised strength is 60 Officers and men, an ancillary van and three damage Control Units, who work a 42 hour week with a four watch system.
(From a leaflet produced at the Disbandment of the Corps which also had 2 poems by J. F. A. Brown.)
Corps 1873 -
A Brief History.
The Corps was
established on the 22nd November 1873 by the “Glasgow Rate and Salvage
Association”; maintained by the Insurance Companies on a Non-profit making
basis, the groups being Members of the Fire Offices Committee transacting Fire
Insurance business in the U.K.
Likewise, Liverpool and London Salvage Corps were also founded in 1842 and 1866 respectively; as we all know all the three Corps were disbanded on 31st March 1984 and only after lengthy and careful consultations with each Fire Authority and Government Departments taken into account at every stage before a final decision was amicably acceptable to all parties concerned. It was quite evident that in the late 60’s and early 70’s the 3 main Ports in the U.K. were rapidly changing over to “Container Ships” and suitable locations for new Container Terminals; e.g. Clyde Port Authority were building a large installation at ‘Greenock” in order to provide speedier handling of exports to the U.S.A. and other main countries of the world. Similarly Prestwick Airport was preparing for much more involvement in enlarging their facilities to handle the future increase in “Air Cargo” to all parts.
Again most cities were engaged in planning New Industrial Estates and most firms were preparing for this move to modern factory units throughout the U.K. all lealding to gaining a share of the new found prosperity. One may say that the progressive attitude of the Glasgow Salvage Corps at this time made the way for the transfer of their excellent New Headquarters at 90 Maitland Street Cowcaddens to become the Official Fire Training Establishment of Strathclyde Fire Brigade. It has been a great success and an excellent arrangement with the appointment of 2 Corps Officers, namely Deputy Superintendents J. Smith & G. Forbes.
Salvage Corps Operations and
Period: 1984 - 1987.
With the close
cooperation of Firemaster C. B. Halliday and his Staff Officers, all personnel
have been receiving first class expertise in handling Corps equipment on an off
the 3 Salvage Corps Tenders so that in attending fires at Industrial and
Commercial premises they have proved to be very professional and still providing
an important service to the community especially in Dwelling-houses.
e.g. A typical example of Salvage Corps Services provided by the personnel of Milngavie Fire Station attending a small fire in dwelling house in the Bearsden area which involved the S.S.E.B. owing to my neighbour requesting my services and advice, since the fire in question turned out to be a faulty mains electric cable located under the floor boards in his downstairs cloakroom.
When the tender arrived promptly at my front door, the Station Officer and 2 Firemen brought Salvage Sheets and immediately they covered the carpets and spread other sheets over the furniture; I was very impressed with the attitude and the concern displayed at an incident which most fortunately turned to be a small electrical fire. It did prove to me that Fire Brigade personnel are continuing to provide an excellent service to the community at large; naturally I did thank the men and had a chat with the Station Officer, now he knows who I am.
“LONG MAY THEY REIGN”
Some personal memories of my Glasgow Salvage Corps Service during the years 1940 - 1973.
Fires is not always a serious business - at least that is how I found it - it
can be even humorous at times.
1. Wrong location given: so confusion - To Burgh Buildings in Barrhead - should have been, near Burgh Buildings, Hillhead; First time I can remember of a Salvage Tender boarding a “Clyde Ferry” at Renfrew - impatient “Chief Officer” sounding the Bells on the river crossing to speed up the “Turn-out”.
2. Attending serious Tenement Fire - again Hillhead, correct location this time; Great hospitality from the householders - (tea, coffee, sandwiches etc.) overstayed my leave - all tenders have returned to station; make my own way back to H.Q. by boarding a Corporation Bus - carrying helmet, Conductor all smiles, and very helpful.
3. Small fire in dwelling house on first floor: Officer examining wall-cupboard directly below on ground floor; discovers quite a lot of Wage-packets unopened; great embarrassment of occupants; 2 Retired Ladies present: without further ado, the Police Officer present and yours truly check same in their presence; with great relief all round say cheerio and return to Station.
P.S. There have been many more interludes on the Fire-ground -too frequent to mention right now.
The above article was written by Alexander S. Edmiston, Ex Chief Officer Glasgow Salvage Corp and Secretary G.S.C Former Members Association.
( From Aye Ready Issue 4, Autumn 1988. Page 12.)
The Glasgow Salvage Corp was disbanded on the 1st of April 1984.
Decision to disband Salvage Corps is no surprise
The recent decision to disband the
long established Salvage Corps, based in
and Glasgow, will have come as no surprise to many in the insurance industry.
The Corps were set up by the insurance companies in the three cities over one hundred years ago because they felt that their interests, especially in the docklands, needed further attention following the transfer of their own fire brigades to local government.
As the concentration of warehouses and commercial interests in the port areas has declined the supporting insurers have become increasingly concerned about the cost effectiveness.
According to the latest estimates the three Corps cost about £4.4m a year to run while the number of fires that they attend is decreasing.
The insurance companies argue that the work done by the Corps in the three cities can be done by the fire brigades more cost effectively, adding that they have a statutory duty to provide such services under the 1947 Fire Services Act and do so in all other places in the UK. The corps are to be disbanded by March 31, 1984, and what this decision means in human terms is that over 300 people could lose their jobs. At present the insurance companies are holding discussions with the local authorities in the three cities to see if they might take over the running of the Corps.
Apart from the cost factor involved, both John Ford, the general secretary of the National Association of Fire Officers and a spokesman from the London Fire Brigade pointed out that Salvage Corps employees were not qualified in fire fighting as such, but were trained to carry out the specialist function of damage control.
Mr Ford, whose union represents members in all three Corps said: “We are very concerned on behalf of our members because this has removed every opportunity of employment as far as these people are concerned. They have spent many years in learning their skills and are trained for jobs which will soon virtually not exist”.
The spokesman for the London Fire Brigade took up the same theme, commenting: “Although the Fire Brigades have a statutory responsibility to keep the damage as low as possible they don't render the same service as the Salvage Corps, which is specialised in knowledge and equipment. They are performing a very valuable task”.
The ability of the Salvage Corps personnel in the three cities is not denied by the insurance companies which maintain them. Their doubts are about their continuing cost effectiveness in the light of the changing nature of fire risks.
Taking the Corps individually, the London Corps is the largest employing 131 people. In 1982 it attended about 2,000 fires, which is markedly lower than in previous years. A survey carried out in 1976 showed that in that year the Corps attended over 10,000 fires.
A spokesman for Sun Alliance, commenting on behalf of Peter Quaile, general manager of Sun Alliance and chairman of the London Salvage Corps said that this was due to a change in the nature of fires themselves.
Despite the fall in number of fires attended an employee of the London Salvage Corps told PH Insurance News that according to the latest figures available to him the amount of goods or property salvaged was still running at about three or four times the maintaining costs.
The oldest Salvage Corps is in Liverpool. It was set up 141 years ago and is administered by the Fire Salvage Association of Liverpool which has about 50 insurance companies in membership.
According to figures in the annual report it cost £l.4m so run in 1982. This sum paid for 108 full time staff to attend 6,307 fires out of a total of 25,906 calls.
The Chief Officer, A. H. Jones commenting on the decision to wind the Corps up said: “It’s a bit sickening, I feel sad and upset about it. It has been going since 1842 and we can't get any jobs. We’ll be lost”.
Mr Jones felt that fire losses would go up when the Corps is finally disbanded, although he added that it was difficult to quantify exactly what the Salvage Corps had ‘saved’ over the years.
He did, however, quote one example of the worth of the Salvage Corps, which related to the fire in St. John's Precinct which took place about two or three years ago. On that occasion loss adjusters accompanied the Salvage Corps and put a £2 5m value on the amount the Corps saved.
Mr Jones did concede that the Salvage Corps as it stood at present might be a bit outmoded. But he emphasised that it should he retained in some form, although not necessarily its current one.
Peter Sellors of Sun Alliance, who is chairman of the Liverpool Fire Salvage Association, explained the decision from the insurers point of view: “Basically, for quite some time we have been increasingly concerned about the cost effectiveness of the Corps, not the effectiveness of the Corps personnel. But over the years we have had a change in the industrial scene as more of the commercial and industrial interests have moved out of the City”.
Mr Sellors said that the work of the Salvage Corps was in the main specialist damage control for commercial and industrial property risks but last year attendance at dwelling houses accounted for two thirds of the Corps’ work.
The Fire Salvage Association is trying to get the Local Authority so take over responsibility for fire salvage damage control. The FSA believes this would be a far more cost effective way of dealing with salvage in the future. Mr Sellors believes that there is no longer any place for a separate organisation of this type. He compared the current winding up of the Salvage Corps to the similar transfer of responsibility from individual insurance company fire brigades to the local authorities which happened a hundred years ago.
Mr Sellors explained that the Local Authority has a statutory duty to carry out damage control under the 1947 Fire Services Act which states that it has to secure “efficient arrangements for ensuring that reasonable steps are taken to prevent or mitigate damage to property resulting from measures taken in dealing with fires”.
This theme was taken up by Alan Hardy of Phoenix who is chairman of the Glasgow Corps. He told PH Insurance News: “It is simply that we have got a situation where throughout the UK outside London, Liverpool and Glasgow the Fire Brigade is providing a salvage service to everyone's satisfaction”.
The Corps there employs 59 full time staff, who attended 1,308 fires in 1982 at a cost of £1m a year to the 50 offices which support it.
As in London and Liverpool the insurers are having discussions with the local authority to see if it will take over responsibility for the service it provides.
None of the insurers feel that the winding up of the Corps will result in higher premiums for policyholders, although the unions argue that the scrapping of the Salvage Corps will lead to higher fire losses. All agree it is difficult to quantify the worth of the Salvage Corps, which one market source described as an expensive luxury. Only time will tell.
Leigh Sharpe and Elsbeth Boerboom.
(Policy Holder Insurance News, May 27 1983. Page 6.)
The Salvage Saga by J. F. A. Brown (Poem).
Photos inside Salvage HQ.
If you know of any mistakes in this or have any additional information please let me know.
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