Photo Gallery 2 Sawbridgeworth Fire Brigade 1897 - to the early 1970's and beyond.
with other town information and views
Dedicated to those who unselfeshly gave of their time and loyalty to their fellow citizens.
Home
Historic Books
Chief Officers
Other Profiles
Fire Engines
The Fire Station(s)
Call-Out
Log Books
Attendance Book
The War Years
Social Events
Special Occasions
SFB History Trivia
More SFB Trivia
Drills & Competitions
Photo Gallery 1
Photo Gallery 2
Fire Station Archive
Links to Other Sites
About Sawbridgeworth
Town Views - Events
More Town Views
Other Contributions
Miscellanea
More Miscellanea
Email the Webmaster

 

 Page last updated: 25/01/2016 The Pictures on this page will enlarge when clicked with your mouse  
The photograph at the top right of all of the Web  pages shows the R7(*) malting building after the devastating fire that took place on Friday August 15th 1929. This was easily Sawbridgeworth's most serious and biggest fire which broke out late evening, lighting the sky for miles with a red glow. Sawbridgeworth and other supporting brigades were in attendance for about 4 days and the Sawbridgeworth Dennis fire engine, set in at the River Stort loop by the Station Road bridge (below), was pumping for 48 hrs. non stop. Hoses were run down the road adjacent to the R4 malting and across towards the R7 malting under the main Cambridge railway line to get water to the fire. The fire was thought to have been caused a lightning strike.
(*) The maltings at Sawbridgeworth on both sides of the railway, owned by H. A. & D. Taylor Limited, were all served by a railway siding and the maltings that adjoined were all known by the siding number. R6 is the building in the right of the photograph above and left below.
($) Pictures taken by Frank Wright.
The top photograph is repeated below for enlargement purposes. Sawbridgeworth Dennis fire engine pumping from the river Stort on Sunday 16th August 1929. Still at work on Monday and Fireman Jack Baker is the Engineer. (see Marriage Present) The top floor gutted
(Picture supplied by John Dear)
R7 Malting seen from the A414 road($) ($)
($)
($) It is believed that the left hand man standing by the Malt Extract Works building is the works 'Engine Man' Fred Millar.  
Left, a view of the maltings looking West after full restoration - picture thought to have been taken around 1946. Around 1947 -1948 a huge concrete grain silo, about 80ft high, was built to the South side of the R7 malting (See Picture Right).
(Picture supplied by John Dear)
 
(Picture kindly supplied by Joseph Fizgerald)
By the time this picture was taken the R6 chimney was less liable to smoke as the boilers had been converted to oil firing - Heavy Fuel Oil supplied in steam heatable railway tankers.

horizontal rule

 
Left - On the 1st February 1905 a serious fire broke out on the corner of Hoestock Road and London Road. The Fire Brigade were called at 11:50pm and arrived 9 minutes later. The cause of the fire was recorded as 'unknown' and the damage estimated at 2,500. Records show that the brigade were engaged for 37 hours!  
Harrys Store Fire
Both Pictures courtesy of Richard Dyer.
   

horizontal rule

The Original Rule Book Cover The Fire Brigade make news in 1913 Transcript of the article below the photographs

"The village of Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire, is proud in the possession of the youngest fireman in the country. "Billy", the-ten-year-old son of Dr. Collins, is no mere ornamental member of the brigade, for he has assisted ably at two serious fires during the week. He is described by the Captain as "one of the brightest boys I have ever met, and invaluable, not only as a messenger, but on the scene of a fire as well". Billy's success as a fireman has had the effect of making all the boys of Sawbridgeworth ambitious to emulate his example. 1. Billy riding to the Waterworks to ensure a sufficient head of water. If any members of the Brigade are slow in responding to a call, he rides round on his bicycle and whips them up. 2. In charge of the hose. 3. Turning on the water. 4. On rescue work intent. 5. Billy in his place on the engine. 6. A view from above.
("Daily Graphic" photograph.)

The Original Rules

horizontal rule

Thomas Burton's Mill off Station Road
It is said that there had been a mill in Sawbridgeworth for at least a thousand years and certainly one was mentioned in the Domesday Book. However, when the mill that became Burton's, as it was later known, was first established is not clear. There was another mill on the River Stort at Sheering Mill which had disappeared before the commencement of the 20th century so whether the Station Road mill was established out of that is unclear.
The building off Station Road was always recognised as a fire hazard being constructed almost entirely of wood but it survived well even through the Second World War with some incendiaries falling close by. In 1975 though the huge buildings were more or less redundant and fire engulfed them spectacularly as is shown below.
The Mill complex as it was in the 1960's
The cup conveyor hanging out from the tall building was for unloading loose wheat in bulk from barges on the river Stort which was still the principal delivery method at this time.
Garrett Steam Lorries owned by Thomas Burton Ltd - Late 1920's
(Picture supplied by John Dear)
The Fire as seen at distance from the River Tow Path - looking North The Fire as seen at distance from the River Tow Path - close up.
  Pictured left to right Will Broad; Fred Tant and Tom Puncher (Picture from the Harold Blake slide collection) (Picture from the Harold Blake slide collection)
The North end of the complex of buildings being Cooled Down - the river lock is to the right. Both Pictures from Sawbridgeworth Fire Station Archive  
 
(Picture from the Harold Blake slide collection) (Both pictures courtesy of Simon M Lincoln - Jan 2016)  

horizontal rule

Helmer & Dyer were High Wych Builders
(Information provided by Simon Lincoln, with acknowledgement to the web site about High Wych http://vandebilt.co.uk/history/?cat=7 )
On 28th April 1951 fire breaks out in the white cottages, used upstairs to store plumbing supplies whilst downstairs cement etc. was kept. Due to lack of water pressure the Fire Brigade has great trouble coping. Water has to be brought in from ponds at the Manor of Groves. Sawbridgeworth Brigade attended with two appliances, the Ford Water Tender and the Leyland Major Pump and were assisted by appliances called in from both Bishop's Stortford and Harlow brigades to boost water supplies from open water at a distance. Subsequently the roof is re-thatched with reed and the building refurbished as offices.
Thatch being removed to expose underlying fire -
base of ladder Fm. Jack Riches; looking down Sub Officer Frank Wright; others unrecognisable.
The immediate aftermarth Newspaper article record of the fire. The building as it is in 2016.