Early fire engines

We have featured Market Lavington and Easterton’s early fire engines in previous blogs. See The Market Lavington Fire Engine in 1920The Easterton Fire EngineThe Easterton Fire Engine (two different blogs) and A fire brigade horse whip. Before the motorised engine, our appliances were pulled by horse, as in the 1920 photo.

We have also seen the little Easterton fire engine, which was formerly shared by Market Lavington and Easterton.

We do wonder how many fires were effectively quenched by such machines, especially if they had to make a horse drawn journey of a mile to another village, once they had received the message that there was a fire to deal with.

Our wonderful collection of newspaper cuttings informs us of even earlier fire provision. It was the responsibility of the churchwardens in every parish to have a hand powered engine and leather pipe available and these were often stored in the churches. In the scrapbook covering 2003, we learn that the Market Lavington Churchwardens’ accounts book, covering 1660 to 1865 is still in existence and contains details of the cost of buying a new engine and storing it in an engine house. We know that, eventually, there was an engine house in the Market Place, but we don’t know when that was first used.

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