The Easterton Fire Engine

This wonderful old fire pump has featured before on this blog, but it seemed like time to give it another airing – using a photo previously unused – and here it is.

Easterton's Victorian fire pump - last seen in the village in 1975

Easterton’s Victorian fire pump – last seen in the village in 1975

This device was, at first, the Market Lavington and Easterton fire fighting machine, but it became the property of Easterton and found a home in a cave dug out near the village pump and actually under the grounds of the former jam factory. It was a simple enough device, and would have been effective provided it was near enough to a source of water.

Getting the pump to where it was needed required man power. The pulling handle, attached to the small front wheel, can be seen on the right of the picture. Once in place and with hoses connected, men – perhaps up to three on each handle, could operate the pump so that the fire could be doused with water.

At the end of each stroke of the pump handles, the pump action inevitably had to stop and this might have led to a jerky flow of water. However, the pump is equipped with a pressure smoother. It’s that bubble thing on top. When a handle was pushed down, some of the water went into the bubble and compressed the air in it. That compressed air kept the water flowing whilst the handles were temporarily still.

This fire engine was preserved by the Wiltshire Fire Service. We do not have it at Market Lavington Museum. It had been brought to Easterton as part of the church centenary celebrations in the 1970s.

It had been kept at the fire service museum in Potterne, but that has closed and we do not know where our old engine is now. Neither are we certain of the age of the old engine but maybe somebody out there can help us.

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