The city of Chester has a long and colourful history. During the Roman occupation the city was called Deva and the Twentieth Legion of the mighty Roman Army was stationed here.
A record exists of a member of the Corps of Vigils, Rome's own fire brigade, being sent to join the legion here.
The streets with their picturesque timber framed buildings were laid out in medieval times and have always been at risk from fire, the worst incident being in 1471 when the city was nearly destroyed. By 1700 the problem was so bad that the city purchased five fire engines (one large, two medium and two small) and had a station built opposite where the Town Hall now stands.
The duties of fire fighting and maintaining the equipment were undertaken by the city police. Eventually these additional responsibilities became so great that the entire force resigned their fire fighting duties and in 1863 the Chester Volunteer Fire Brigade was formed.
About twenty years later their name was changed to the Earl of Chester's Fire Brigade and it was under that title that they proudly moved to their new fire engine station in Northgate Street in 1911. The station had three horse drawn appliances (a steam pump, a manual pump and a hose tender) and two wheeled escapes which were pushed by hand.
In 1914 the City Council took over total responsibility for the Brigade and changed its name to City of Chester Fire Brigade. The following year they received their first motor appliance made by John Morris and Co of Manchester. It cost £1070 and carried a 50ft wheeled escape and a 600gpm pump.
At the outbreak of WWII the station housed three Dennis motor appliances and two ambulances. The fire brigades throughout the UK were then formed into the National Fire Service to cope with major fires from air raids. As well as Northgate Street a number of small sub-fire stations were established around the city.
In 1948 brigades were returned to the local authorities and the City of Chester Fire Service was formed. No longer responsible for ambulances the Service had five appliances, including an 80ft turn table ladder.
In 1971 the current fire station was opened. It was built just off the inner ring road and had six bays capable of housing the largest modern fire engines. In April 1974 local governments were re-organised and Chester Fire Service became part of the new Cheshire Fire Brigade.
Chester Fire Station is a wholetime station located in the heart of the historic City of Chester
The station is bounded by North Wales to the west, the heavy petro-chemical industrialised area of Ellesmere Port to the north, rural Tarporley to the east and Malpas to the south.
The City of Chester has a population of 77,460 and the rural hinterland totals 41,100 giving the Greater Chester area a total population of 118,580 as estimated by Cheshire County Council in 2002.
The population is swollen by several thousand in the summer months by tourists both national and international visiting the historic city centre.