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Old Fire Stations

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Am wondering how many operational historic (pre-war) fire stations there are out there outside London? It’s just dawned on me that in GMC, since the relocation of Rochdale, I don’t think we have any. Does your brigade have any of these characterful stations?

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The old "Salford Crescent" station still stands and is now a University building, as does the old "Bolton Central" which is now Marsden House, both relocated in the early 1970's. I reckon there will be a good few more. 

Of course, not forgetting "London Road" which is iconic in the centre of Manchester.

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Carl I love the old Salford station. I rode past it everyday on my way to TDC. Such a shame that these buildings have been replaced by ‘monstrous carbuncles’ as ol’ Prince Charlie puts it. So do we not have any operational pre-war stations in GMC then?

Noddy, how could I forget about Kings Norton, I only lived round the corner from there for 6 months xD and Aston looks like a lovely example, remember seeing it on the documentary. 

So we only have two examples so far of these stations that are still operational outside London? That’s worrying :(

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I think it comes with services modernising to meet requirements. Another one ( im not sure which side of the war it was built ) in West Mids is Perry Barr, modern appliance bay but old station house next door ( very poky and cramped inside despite having a refit ) still got the old station houses at the back. Aston is due have a refurb including a modern building built next door ?

Luckily in West Mids there are still a fair few disused stations that whilst closed are still recognisable,   Ladywood, Coventry, Dudley, Moseley Road ( the old Highgate which is next door ) Acocks Green, Bordesley Green and Handsworth so the history is still there to be seen

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Off the top of my head, I’d say North Yorkshire have three current operational fire stations that pre date World War 2: Scarborough, Whitby (albeit with a 1970 first floor addition) and Malton (the building is certainly historic, a 19th century work house. I can’t vouch for how long it’s been a fire station). I believe a couple of our retained stations are also pre war. Leyburn possibly?

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Essex rebuilt most, if not all, of their older WT stations and a fair few of the RDS stations mostly along standard designs starting in the 50’s and finally finishing in about 1990.  Off the top of my head, the only ones that are pre-war that I can think of that are still in use are Old Harlow (more like a brick built shed than a modern fire station - Plenty of pictures of it online if you google it) and Saffron Walden.  Plenty of other ex fire station buildings from earlier periods exist that have been repurposed but are still identifiable.

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Withington Manchester prewar still in use

Still on the subject of prewar stations. Rochdale was quoted as one before it moved. This was never the oldest as Rochdale used to be a Lancashire FB station. So Withington won the prize. 

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On 28/06/2018 at 09:55, SNE said:

Rochdale was quoted as one before it moved. This was never the oldest as Rochdale used to be a Lancashire FB station.

Splitting hairs slightly there mate seeing as GMC didn’t even exist until 1974.

Great thread @Jamiejet 

One of my Stations I'm responsible for as Borough Commander is now the oldest Fire Station in Surrey, built in 1937 and now the only pre war Fire Station left and now Wokings 1980’s FS has been rebuilt is now the only three story, two pole drop FS.  

Epsom has quite a unique history in terms of Fire Station architecture... exhaust ventilation? In 1937 ?, heating under the pumps to keep the engines warm ? it certainly was cutting edge but is now tired and well past modernising, and this is from me who loves old FS architecture.


Stop the press though! I’ve just realised that my other FS is pre war too!! Well sort of. The building we occupy is the former CID building to the rear of the current Police Station which itself is Victorian or very early Edwardian. 



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Shameless bump but at Kings Norton today so here is the old accomodation, some of it still residential, others are either offices for partnerships or not in use

Kings Norton 1.jpeg

Kings Norton 2.jpeg

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Never know any common architects/builders across the country, within counties yes and obviously where Brigades have merged and stations moved over the years for example Lindsey FB some went to Humberside, some went to Lincolnshire.

Lots of stations built in the same periods of time hence similar styles.

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I agree that both stations are similar, but that maybe simply the 1930s civic architecture of the time, as when you look closely, there are as many differences as there are similarities 

  • The proportions and scale of each building are different 
  • Casement windows at Harrow and taller sash windows at W Mids
  • Gable end roof at either side at Harrow, a flat profile roof with coping stones and urns in the midlands
  • The centre fancy widow and other decorative bits at west mids

They are both fine buildings though, especially compared to some of the tin sheds that followed. 



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I agree there are differences, just found it interesting there are some similarities. Much prefer it to the rest of the middlesex 1960s stations

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Just had a look online for pictures of the station plaques which show architects name etc and neither have the same and also 8 years between them.

Very rare to find stations designed the same across the county, generally only in the local area.  Having been in many stations up and down the country never found any to be the same, maybe very similar, closest was the 2 built on my doorstep 20 years ago, the two tin sheds!  

Must admit you cannot fault the old places, lots of character not like the new ones!

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I have had several trips to London and been showed around by our very own @Steve. I don't think he realised just how interesting I found visiting all the old stations was. We never purposely travelled around any old station, just the ones with history that we had enquired about. I always remember our first trip where we stayed at Millwall overnight, the place was full of character for me, something I had never experienced in GMC at the time. I think the next time we stayed at Poplar.

We had the old Salford, London Road and Rochdale which were really old stations, but the London stations just seemed special. My first station posting was Stretford which has now been demolished and replaced with a PFI build back in 2000. Not quite the same.

This was taken 18 years ago when I first met Steve, complete with brazier burn marks and 30K stickers following the strikes. 

London 2002 37.JPG

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Loving the brazier battle scar - Not as impressive as Tooting who set fire to their station in front of the BBC - but impressive nonetheless

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Remember seeing that on TV @Messyshaw

You are right @Carl some do have the feeling and others don't.  I visited Rochdale earlier on in the year before all the work stared, that is an impressive sized station but no feel to the place.

I have had a look around the old Lancaster Place in Birmingham that is a place that looked like it had the feel but is now flats.  Lambeth is a place I'd like to explore, did visit briefly a few years ago.

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