Byfleet Fire Station
Byfleet's Fire Station has had a special place in the hearts of Villagers for well over a century. Although having closed in the early 1960s, it still provides an attractive part of the conservation area at the Western end of the Village. Byfleet Fire Station - A very brief History -
The response from the whole commmunity when it was threatened with demolition was amazing and work is now in hand to secure its future for the community. Regular open days are held throughout the year.
we will expand this over time and would welcome contributions
The Fire Station log book includes the following brief history as its front page-
FIRE BRIGADE EARLY DAYS
Byfleet Fire Brigade originated from Sir Whittaker Ellis’s garden potting shed. Three of his gardeners having a carrying manual with 3 lengths of hose in 1871.[This was carried on poles to any fire] In 1873, the late Supt G Neal collected sufficient funds to place it on wheels and springs, thus making a very small but useful little engine for that time. In this year it was thought necessary to form a proper Brigade, a collection was made of some more hose, they only had 3 lengths at first. Rules were drawn up and the old Station which was used as a potting shed to commence with was given to the men for their manual. In 1908 a Steamer was purchased by subscription and in 1923 the Brigade was brought up to its present condition by enlarging the Station and the purchase of an up to date Dennis Motor Fire Engine. [Taken from the front page of the Byfleet Fire Brigade Record Book]
1877: There was a large fire at the Weybridge Oil Mills, which were located at the junction of the Thames and the Wey. It broke out just before midnight on Christmas Eve, starting on the wharf on the Wey, spreading to the refining shed, and causing large vats of oil to burn. The result was that burning oil poured out onto the water, where barrels of refined oil, which had been rolled into the water for safety, caught fire. The Weybridge brigade called for assistance from other brigades including Byfleet. [Taken from ‘The Home Fires Burning: Weybridge Volunteer Brigade 1874-1933’ by H W Lansdell, Walton & Weybridge History Society Paper No. 7, 1970]
1885: Larger premises were required, to replace Sir John’s potting shed, so the fire station was built.
A brief timeline
1871 : Formation of Byfleet Volunteer Fire Brigade by Sir James Whittaker Ellis of Petersham Place (now Lloyd’s Bank), High Road.
1885 : Construction of new Fire Station in High Road (terracotta block above the main doors states ‘Erected AD 1885’). Funded and owned by Sir James Whittaker Ellis, it was a two-bay structure constructed in red brick with a decorative red terracotta facade.
1893 : Take-over of Volunteer Fire Brigade by Byfleet Parish Council.
1896 : Opening of new Fire Station. Rented by Byfleet Parish Council from Whittaker Ellis for use by an 11-man team.
1902 : Purchase of site from Sir James by Parish Council for £310.
1910 : Formal group photo (later published in ‘Changing Woking 1900-1929’) of Byfleet Fire Brigade depicts 15 uniformed firemen plus two other bystanders posing in front of their unidentified horse-drawn fire tender.
1910 : Agreement made to cover Pyrford too – for £25 p.a.
The funeral of Francis Polley.
1939 : Plans prepared by Woking UDC for a new fire station in Oyster Lane but this was never built due to World War Two.
(1939-45 : World War Two).
Early 1940s : Rear extension added to main part of the building; similar to temporary buildings on war-time military bases, it was of cement rendered brick construction with a flat roof and steel-framed Crittal windows and survives today. Its original function is unclear although presumably for office or equipment storage.
30th September 1960: Closed after 75 years’ service.
2007 to date : Work to save and renovate the Fire Station for the community continues.
Open Day September 2010
If you can add to this story please go to the Forum Pages - see the Home page, and share your memories with everyone. Many thanks.
The Brooklands Merryweather visits Byfleet.
On a warm summer's day in 2009 the Brooklands Merryweather went to see how the restoration of the old (1885) Brooklands Fire Station was coming along. Andy Lambert was there to record it for posterity.
Byfleet's Fire Station has had a special place in the hearts of Villagers for well over a century. Although having closed in the early 1960s, it still provides an attractive part of the conservation area at the Western end of the Village.
Byfleet Fire Station - A very brief History -