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1635 The first record of fire fighting in Salford was stated as 12 leather buckets, 2 hooks for pulling down thatch from roofs and 2 long ladders. The equipment was kept at Trinity Church where the fire bell was also rung.

John Wesley mentioned the Salford Fire Engine in his 'Journal' when, on the 17th May,
1747, he preached at Salford Cross. The crowd became excited and he was threatened with the 'use of the Fire Engine' and had to retire to safety.

1792 Salford was now governed by Commissioners who were wealthy property owners.
There were 2 manual Fire Engines which were now kept at the Court House, near the Cross, Greengate.

By 1824, the Engines were kept at the rear of the Police Offices, Hardings Buildings, Chapel Street. Ten years later they were on the move again. This time to Lamb Lane, Chapel Street. The Engines were horse drawn and required members of the public to assist the Firemen with the hand pumps. They would be paid with quantities of Ale but, as this led to fights, they were issued with armplates and when these were returned to the Engine House, they would receive payment.

There was a Conductor of the Engines, his Assistant and 12 Firemen.

1844 Salford became a Municipal Corporation governed by elected Councillors. The
brigade increased to 30 Firemen. They received a retaining fee plus one shilling for 'Trying the Engines' or attending a fire. Leather hose was used but in 1847, canvas hose was tried for the first time. The Firemen were now receiving l/6p per hour at fires plus 26/- per 3 months retaining fee. Assistants received 6d per hour. The men could be fined for not attending Church or weekly drill and many were fined for being drunk.

Over the years the Fire Engine Department came under several Committees. Whilst under
the Watch Committee, the Firemen were sometimes engaged as Fire Police Constables.

Salford, Pendleton and Broughton were 3 separate districts with their own Fire Brigades.
The old Engines had been replaced by locally made larger, horse drawn, manual pumps.
They were named 'Nile', 'Deluge' and 'Niaid'.

The Salford Improvement Act of 1862, gave the Council powers to maintain Fire Engines
and Fire Stations from public funds, together with powers to levy charges for attending fires.

Over a period of time, Salford Fire Brigade would give fire cover to Swinton, Pendlebury,
Eccles, Stretford, Urmston, Whitefield and Prestwich.

1871 Salford, Pendleton and Broughton Fire Brigades amalgamated. Broughton had a small Brigade Station at Broughton Town Hall, but also continued with its Volunteer Brigade. The Fire Engine at Pendleton was named 'Trent' and stationed at the Pendleton Town Hall. The men were now full time Police Firemen. Over the next few years, hand hose carts and escapes were to be distributed to the Police Stations and the Constables given elementary fire drills.

A new Fire Station was built in Ford Street, in 1873, next to the Town Hall. Five years later, Salford bought its first Steam Fire Engine which was a 'Shand Mason' delivering 450 gpm.

1883 The Broughton Volunteer Brigade amalgamated with Salford. Salford Fire Brigade now gave fire cover to Swinton and Pendlebury. Within a few years fire cover was extended to Eccles and Barton Upon Irwell.

1892 A second Steam Fire Engine was purchased which was a Merry weather 'Greenwich' type of 750 gpm.

1893 Superintendent Albert Bentley had organised a brigade workshop and invented the idea of mounting a telescopic escape on a hose tender. Chief Officers from around Britain came to Salford to see the appliance. The Ship Canal was completed and a Sub-Station was built in New Park Road, off Trafford Road. The Station was equipped with electric lights and Superintendent Bentley's patent electric harnessing device. All other Salford Fire Stations were also equipped in this manner.

1896-1904 Superintendent Bentley designed underground water fire tanks and 30 of these were built around high risk areas of the city where the water supply was poor. In 1889, Superintendent Bentley was made the first Chief Officer of Salford Fire Brigade. A third Steam Fire Engine was purchased, another Merryweather Greenwich type.

1902 A chemical Fire Engine carrying 50 gallons of water was purchased for immediate fire fighting in areas of poor water supply. The Brigade workshops then built their own with a wheeled escape mounted at the rear.

1903 Chief Officer Bentley and the brigade moved into the new Central Fire Station at Albion Place, the Crescent. Fire cover was extended to Prestwich and the running of the ambulances was taken over from the police. Again many visitors from other brigades came to see the new station and the underground fire tanks.

1908 Salford's first motor Ambulance was bought and a new Pendleton Sub-Station was
built in Gardner Street, which opened in 1909. In 1910, 2 motor Fire Engines were
purchased, one with a 60 foot escape also a second motor Ambulance. Two years later, a Gamewell Fire Alarm system was installed with 36 boxes on the main roads, all connected to the Central Fire Station. The Fire Station on New Park Road,, Trafford Road, was closed.

By the end of 1914 there were 2 motor hose tenders, a motor police van and another motor ambulance. Indeed, many of the Ambulances and Police Vans were constructed by the Fire Department, including some Fire Tenders. In 1921, a new Morris Motor Fire Engine with an 80 foot escape was purchased but this was soon reduced to 60 foot. A Leyland Fire Engine with Ajax Ladder was also bought. Two years later, Salford bought a Morris Magirus 85 foot turntable ladder.

1928 saw a new Ambulance House built down one side of Albion Place and a year later,
the last ten houses were built at the rear of the Fire Station.

1930 Pendleton and Broughton Sub-Fire Stations were closed down, and within the next nine years, 4 new motor Fire Engines would be purchased.

1938 The Brigade consisted of 1 Chief Superintendent, 1 Chief Inspector, 2 Inspectors, 3 Sergeants and 32 Firemen who were on continuous duty with one day off in seven.

1938 Recruitment for the Auxiliary Fire Service began

Bob Atkinson Fireman Retired - Salford Fire Department

Email: - salfordfirestationreunion@talktalk.net