The Western  Area Fire Brigade came into operation on the 8th May, 1948 under the Fire Services Act,1947 covering the counties of Argyll, Bute and Renfrew, and the burghs of Greenock, Paisley and Port Glasgow. The Brigade continued until Regionalisaton on 16th May, 1975 when part of it went into the new Highland and Islands Fire Brigade and the rest helped form the new Strathclyde Fire Brigade.


1948 to 1964 12 Johnston Street, PAISLEY,   Renfrewshire.
1964 to 1975 5 Thornhill, JOHNSTONE, Renfrewshire.


1948 to 1961 Firemaster R. Bowman O.B.E. G.I.F.E.
1961 to 1968 Firemaster Joseph Hartil
1968 to 1975 Firemaster Robert Herbert M.B.E.




1948     1975  
Paisley WT/RT   Paisley WT/RT
Renfrew WT/RT   Renfrew WT/RT
Johnstone WT/RT   Johnstone WT/RT
Darnley WT Closed 1970    
    New station 23/9/1970 Clarkston WT
Barrhead RT   Barrhead WT/RT
Port Glasgow WT/RT   Port Glasgow WT/RT
Greenock WT/RT   Greenock WT/RT
Gourock RT   Gourock RT
Rothesay RT   Rothesay RT
Millport RT   Millport RT
Brodick RT   Brodick RT
Lamlash RT   Lamlash RT
    Unit was her 1955 Lochranza Vol.
    Unit started 1967 Lagg Vol.
    Unit at Whiting Bay in 1953 moved to Blackwaterfoot 1971    
    Unit started 1971 Blackwaterfoot Vol.
Oban RT   Oban RT
Campbeltown RT   Campbeltown RT
Dunoon RT   Dunoon RT
Lochgilphead RT   Lochgilphead RT
Bowmore RT   Bowmore RT
Tobermoray RT   Tobermoray RT
Kinlochleven RT   Kinlochleven RT
Inveraray RT   Inveraray RT
Tarbert RT   Tarbert RT
Appin Vol.   Appin Vol.
Dalmally Vol.   Dalmally Vol.
Lismore Vol.   Lismore Vol.
Luing Vol.   Luing Vol.
Strachur Vol.   Strachur Vol.
St. Catherines Vol.   St. Catherines Vol.
Lochgoilhead Vol.   Lochgoilhead Vol.
Colintraive Vol.   Colintraive Vol.
Kames Vol. Closed 1970    
Tighnabruaich Vol.   Tighnabruaich RT
Carradale Vol.   Carradale Vol.
    Unit was here 1955 Kilmelford Vol.
Strontain Vol.   Strontain Vol.
Lochaline Vol.   Lochaline Vol.
Kilchoan Vol.   Kilchoan Vol.
    Unit was here 1955 Glenborrodale Vol.
    Unit started 1968 Acharacle Vol.
    Unit started 1971 Ardgour Vol.
Salen (I of Mull) Vol.   Salen Vol.
Bunessan Vol.   Bunessan Vol.
    Unit started between 1960 and 1963 Craignure Vol.
    Unit started 1956 Isle of Iona Vol.
Cornaighmore Vol. Closed and moved to Balemartin 1972    
Scarnish Vol.   Scarnish Vol.
    New unit 1972 Balemartine Vol.
Arinagour Vol.   Arinagour Vol.
Port Ellen Vol.   Port Ellen Vol.
    Unit started at Portnahaven between 1960 and 1963 Closed 1973    
    Unit moved here from Portnahaven 1973 Port Charlotte Vol.
Craighouse Vol.   Craighouse Vol.
Isle of Colonsay Vol.   Isle of Colonsay Vol.
Isle of Gigha Vol.   Isle of Gigha Vol.
    Unit at Salen (Ardnamurchan) 1955 Closed 1971    





The call sign for the Western Area Fire Brigade Control was M2GR.

The following stations were built:-

  27/10/1955 Brodick
  /1959 Inverarary
  /1959 Bowmore
() 24/6/1960 Greenock
  1961 Campbeltown
  /1963 Barrhead
() 28/7/1965 Rothesay
  26/11/1965 Renfrew
  1966 Dunoon
  6/12/1967 Tighnabruaich
  /1/1968 Johnstone
  /5/1968 Tarbert
  /5/1968 Lochgilpheadt
(14) 7/7/1969 Port Glasgow
  23/9/1970 Clarkston
() 22/11/1972 Gourock
  /1/1973 Paisley
() 25/7/1973 Millport
  1975? Oban

New Headquarters at Thornhill, Johnstone 1963 replaced headquarters at Paisley Fire Station.



The Western Area Fire Headquarters, which cost £90,000 to build, is now directing fire operations from Johnstone to places as far away as Oban and Tobermory.
All the staff have now moved into this magnificent modern building, from which all fires in Renfrewshire, Bute and Argyll are controlled over an area of 3,500 square miles. The fire control room, the nerve centre of the entire fire fighting force in the western area quickly and efficiently issues instructions to fire stations, stipulating how many fire brigades should go to the various fires in the area.
There is very little possibility of any mistake being made in the number of fire appliances sent out to a fire. One of the girls who works in the control room explained: -
“Every street in Renfrewshire is down in the attendance list. Whenever we receive a call here, we find out where the fire is and look up the street in the attendance list. Having found out this information, we proceed to direct the necessary appliances to the fire.
“Although this method would appear to be completely infallible, it sometimes happens that we receive a call from a housewife who thinks that her whole house is in flames. We may decide from the answers she gives us in her excitement to send several fire engines, and when they arrive at the house the firemen find that it was only a pot which had boiled over on the cooker, and that she had managed to put it out by herself.
“As often as possible,” continued the girl with the fires of the whole area at her fingertips, “we in the Control Room handle the fires without bothering the Firemaster at all. We do not feel that the responsibility we have is too great, and it gives us a certain pleasure to feel that we are doing such a worthwhile job."
The staff in the ultra modern, abstractly carpeted office have nothing but praise for their new surroundings. The spacious rooms with contemporary style desks and comfortable chairs, provide an amenable setting for the important work that is carried on within the walls. The officials pursue their individual business in their curtain clad offices of which they are very proud and make sure that any crisis which arises will be dealt with immediately.
The personal needs of the occupants of the building have not been overlooked, as there is a streamlined kitchen, complete with stainless steel unit and sparkling electric cooker. Some of the girls also take advantage of the facilities of the kitchen to make their meals at lunchtime. Nor do they have to carry their meal more than a few yards from the cooker, since the kitchen is fully equipped as a dining room with formica covered tables and suitable chairs.
Mr Joseph Hartil, Firemaster of the Western Area, said, “In this project we have the area headquarters, administration centre and fire control. Behind the administrative block progress is being made on the area stores and workshops which are not yet completed.
“Although there will not be a fire station here in the future, we have acquired a site in King’s Road for the proposed fire station. The headquarters at the Thorn will not be opened formally, but the Western Area Joint Committee will perform an unofficial opening ceremony on November 25.”
<PHOTO> Firemaster Joseph Hartill. Wearing the Queen’s Fire Service medal which was presented to him at the opening of the new Barrhead Fire Station, is Firemaster Joseph Hartill.
<PHOTO> Two girl operators seated at the vast control panel in the new Western Area Fire Brigade Headquarters.
(Paisley and Renfrewshire Gazette. 6th November, 1964. Page 11.)




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