Vintage fire engines help bid farewell to Nottingham’s Central Fire Station

Some old faces – of the four-wheeled variety – lined up for one last time outside Nottingham’s Central Fire Station.

fire6

Vintage fire engines dating from as far back as the 1930s lined up on the station forecourt as part of a poignant ceremony to mark the closure of the station, in Shakespeare Street.

Crowds, including current and retired firefighters and their families, marvelled at the vehicles – some of which had travelled from as far as Scotland for the special occasion.

Speeches were given during a service in which the “iconic building” was hailed and a minute’s silence was held to mark the deaths of 343 firefighters killed during the 9/11 terror attacks 15 years ago.

Then the 15 vehicles paraded around the block before lining up for the last time in front of the station, which has served Nottingham for the past 76 years.

Among the engines was a 1939 Dennis turn-table ladder, also known as a GT10, which was rescued four years ago and brought back to life by four volunteers from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Heritage Trust.

Eric Carberry and the 1939 Dennis turn-table ladder

Eric Carberry and the 1939 Dennis turn-table ladder

The vehicle served at Central Fire Station from 1940 to 1955, turning out to thousands of incidents.

Eric Carberry, from the trust, said: “It was scrap, in a barn down here, with hens staying in it. We’ve kept the dent where a piece of shrapnel hit the side of the ladder during the Blitz – it’s the county’s history.”

Nigel Bayes and the 1955 Dennis F8

Nigel Bayes and the 1955 Dennis F8

Nigel Bayes, who lives in Retford and was a firefighter with Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) from 1978 to 2008, brought along his 1955 Dennis F8 vehicle. He rescued it from a scrapyard near Doncaster in 1978. It has seen time protecting the HM Dockyard Trincomalee, in Sri Lanka, as well as service in Gibraltar.

The 63-year-old said: “It’s the end of an era.”

Former firefighter Terry Maslin took along a Triumph motorbike, and illustrated how “fog riders” used to drive ahead of the fire engines to lead the way in murky conditions up until the early 1970s.

Terry Maslin demonstrates the role of a 'fog rider'

Terry Maslin demonstrates the role of a ‘fog rider’

Other vehicles on show included a 1938 Leyland Cub, 1940 Leyland Princess, and an Austin K2 and K3 from the 1940s.

There was also a 1967 Commer and various Dennis engines from the 1990s.

During a speech, station manager Andy Lindley said: “It’s an iconic fire station, it’s a fantastic fire station. It can be agreed that it’s NFRS’s flagship fire station. For the people who have worked here, it’s not just a fire station, it’s a part of your life.”

He added that a pledge had been made to NFRS to make the new London Road Fire Station as iconic as its predecessor.

Station manager Andy Lindley gives a speech

Station manager Andy Lindley gives a speech

Councillor Darryl Pulk, chairman of NFRS Authority, commended 10 years of hard work in bringing the move to the new station to fruition.

The event was organised by retired firefighter Dave Needham, who served at Central. He praised the mechanics, Peter Spurr, Richard Moss and Neil Billings, who had ensured the upkeep of the engines.

NFRS chief fire officer John Buckley said the new station will open on Friday, September 23, but crews will be moving over this Tuesday.

He added that the new station would better serve the service’s needs, as it will be a better location and enable an improved response to identified areas of risk, with ease of access to the highways infrastructure, it is more cost-effective to run and easier to maintain and repair.