Sunday, 28 April 2013


In the early part of the 1900's the Fire Brigade had its headquarters in the Municipal Buildings in West Street, it was formed of men from all walks of life who elected their own officers from its 20 or so members. Looking back over the 20th. century it is thankful that a town the size of Boston had relatively few disastrous fires, there was the blaze at Cooke's Chemist Shop (below) when one young girl lost her life,

the fire at the Wesleyan Chapel in Red Lion Street,

Scrimshaw's Furniture Store in Dolphin Lane, Rank's Flour Mill in High Street, Fountain's Furniture Store in West Street, the tragic blaze at Launchbury's in Dolphin Lane where I believe four people lost their lives, a fire at the Assembly Rooms, one at the Gliderdrome and one which destroyed the Cosy Cinema in High Street.

Most of the above fires occurred in the days of the Volunteer Brigade and were dealt with in a manner that earned them great praise. Their equipment was by no means lavish - a hand cart carrying several lengths of hoses and nozzles, a hand pump which was used for fires in the rural district, a Merryweather steamer kept exclusively for use in the Borough and two long laddered fire escapes.
When the fire bell rang, all volunteers who heard it dropped any task they were engaged in and reported to the Fire Station.

In the case of a fire in the rural district the first six men to report, together with an officer, formed the team and they were the only men officially allowed to go to the fire. Then would begin a time of anxiety and frustration as they waited for the two horses to pull the fire engine to the fire. In the early days the horses used were owned by one or the other of the two leading hotels in the town, the Red Lion or the Peacock and Royal and had to be located as they were usually out with the hotel cabs on hire!!  However, in later years things were speeded up by the use of motor lorries and the Fire Station moved to near the Duke of York pub and finally to new premises in Robin Hood's Walk.

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