Motorised fire engines introduced to Wallsend

Wallsend Fire Engine.
Wallsend Fire Engine.

New motorised fire engines were introduced to local fire brigades around 1916, according to Ron Henderson in ‘Firefighting in Tyne & Wear’.

He shows pictures of Dennis N-type vehicles at Newcastle and Wallsend at that time – Wallsend had a pair, one of which had a motor pump and the other had a wheeled escape.

At the time of their use the Wallsend Fire Brigade was operating from the Municipal Building in High Street East.

William Richardson, in his ‘History of the Parish of Wallsend’, tells us that the land on which the town hall stands was leased from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for 999 years from Lady Day (March 25) 1899 at a rental of £75 12s 10d per annum.

The foundation stone for the Municipal Building was laid on June 19, 1907, by the first mayor of Wallsend, William Boyd, and Alderman George Allan, chairman of the buildings committee officially opened the building on September 16, 1908.

Following a Local Government Board enquiry from February to March 1910, Wallsend agreed to enable Longbenton to have access to its fire brigade services rather than have to call on Newcastle’s brigade in exchange for land, including Bigges Main and Rising Sun Colliery.

In the 1916 Trade Directory for Wallsend, Frank Hinds is listed as captain of the Fire Brigade.

Wallsend Council Accounts for 1915 show that Mr Hinds had 12 staff, they attended 17 fires the previous year, with 52 drills and wages and uniforms cost £370 6s 4d.

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