Crewe Fire Station History

The town of Crewe began to develop from 1843 after the arrival of the Grand Junction Railway in Monks Coppenhall. As the Railway Company grew it formed its own fire brigade and the 'fire coupe' was kept under Chester Road Rail Bridge. It was able to attend most fires as the town was built by the railway.

However as the town expanded it became difficult for the 'fire engine' to access certain property fires and in 1885 the Railway advised the Town Council that it should provide its own fire brigade.

During the 1880s Crewe had two fire brigades. The Crewe Works fire brigade and the Volunteer fire brigade.

In 1892 the Crewe Corporation horse drawn fire brigade was formed. The appliance was drawn by horses owned by Wards Horse Drawn Omnibus Company at Ye Olde Hostelrie on Hightown.

The first fire station for the horse drawn fire brigade was an empty Methodist Chapel, which was built in 1847, alongside the Market Hall in Earle Street. The Chapel was vacated in 1880 and remained empty until 1892 when it became a fire station despite being only eight yards wide.

In 1895 Crewe Corporation fire brigade was located at the entrance at the Corn Exchange, Earle Street, Crewe. The fire engine and the equipment were presented by the Royal Society for the protection of life from fire. Keys for the fire station were kept in the Market Tavern.

During the year 1900 a horse drawn steam fire engine was purchased. The appliance was named after Charles Welch who was the main benefactor of the town fire brigade. He was an important and influential member of the town, being the owner and landlord of the Royal Hotel and the Robin Hood public house.

In the event of a fire the rope in the entrance archway to the Market Hall was pulled, and the bell which was in the Market Hall Tower rang. This summoned the firemen and was a signal to Wards to take the horses to the fire station ready to pull the fire engine.

The fire brigade consisted of a Superintendent, Captain, Lieutenant, two Sergeants, 12 regular firemen and 6 reserve firemen. The Crewe Works fire brigade at this time consisted of a Superintendent, Captain, Lieutenant, two Sergeants, an engineman, and 16 firemen.

In 1904 the fire station was temporary located at Beech Street within the Corporation yard and in April 1906 the new fire station was officially opened in Beech Street East. The horse drawn fire engine was probably withdrawn from service during the 1920s when motorised fire engines came into use. The first motor driven fire engine was purchased from Leyland Motors Ltd and was given the name 'Abraham Jarvis' after the Chairman of the Marketing and Waterworks committee of the Borough Council. This committee was the brigade's governing body.

An up-to-date Dennis fire engine was purchased in 1927. It was named 'Jubilee' as this was the Crewe Corporation Jubilee year.

With companies such as Rolls Royce Aero Engines arriving in Crewe in 1938 and Rolls Royce motorcar division arriving in 1945, volunteer brigades were set up to tackle fires.

In 1941 the National Fire Service which was governed by the Home Office was formed and in 1947 the Central fire brigade's Advisory Council recommended that members of the National Fire Service be transferred to fire brigades. This was the start of what was to become the Cheshire County fire department which was formed on 1st April 1948.

The fire station remained at Beech Street until 1966. The Rt. Hon Alice Bacon MP opened the present fire station at the roundabout at Crewe Road/Macon Way on July 18th 1966. 


Last updated: Tuesday 25 August 2015

Related images

Crewe Fire Brigade at Beech Street, 1936
Crewe Fire Brigade at Beech Street, 1946
Crewe firefighters, 2000
Crewe Firemen and Crewe Railway Firemen, 1970
Crewe Railway Fire Brigade, 1920s
Horse Drawn Crewe Fire Brigade at the Cottage Hospital Fete Parade, 1904
Opening of Crewe Fire Station 1966
Rt Hon Alice Bacon MP VIP guest at the Opening of Crewe Fire Station 1966