Hadleigh Fire Station in the 1930s

The threat of incendiary bombs during the First World War had led to the formation of a volunteer Special Fire Brigade. In June 1915, the parish council allocated £75 for the purchase of fire fighting equipment, including a handcart, scaling ladders, a hose and canvas buckets. In 1922, the Hadleigh Volunteer Fire Brigade was formed and a building on the London Road was leased for storage of the equipment.

By the mid-1920s, the parish council was looking for land on which to build a fire station. Hadleigh Fire Station was built in 1931 by Messrs. Ventis and King for the new Benfleet Urban District Council.

When the Hadleigh Fire Station opened, a new fire engine was purchased for £999 16s. 0d. The fire engine was driven by Mr. H. Lazell, who had been appointed the resident fireman.

In the August issue of FIRE magazine, Benfleet Urban District Council advertised  for a resident fireman. Mr. H. Lazell was appointed on a wage of £3 a week, plus unfurnished quarters in the fire station. The quarters were for a married couple and comprised two bedrooms, a living room and ‘the usual offices’. Mr. Lazell not only drove the fire engine, but was expected to maintain the vehicle as well. 

Hadleigh Fire Brigade outside the new fire station in the 1930s
Essex Fire Museum, Grays
Hadleigh's first fire engine
Essex Fire Museum, Grays
Advertisement for resident fireman July 1931
Essex Fire Museum, Grays

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  • I have the above photograph as my father, Cyril Downer, was in Fire Brigade as a volunteer.  He is seated at the left hand end of the front row.   Before this the Fire Station was at the bottom of what is now Essex Way on the present site of the electricity sub-station.

    There are pictures of the fire engines etc. at Benfleet on the Benfleet Community Archive web site (http://www.benfleethistory.org.uk) as well as a write-up of my father’s activity.   He left the service in 1934 having done 9 years and I still have the gold watch presented to him then.

    By john downer (11/03/2014)
  • Mr Dodd lived in the Fire Station and later moved to Homestead Way, living in possibly the last house.    The Fire Station had an alarm which got all the firemen racing to the station for a ‘shout’, but in the 1939-45 war the siren would, I think, have signalled an invasion?

    Mr Bill Pasfield and Mr Kinsey were also firemen in the late 1930s.
    I also remember Betty Kinsey and Mrs Dodd.
    We lived at Brackins Dairies — where the barbers is now in the old High Street – – and my father sold the business to Howard’s Dairies.

    By Pat Russell (18/02/2014)

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