HAMILT0N BURGH FIRE BRIGADE.
The grand opening of the Hamilton Fire Station 16th May 1931.
Red Letter Day for the Fire Brigade.
County’s new fire station opened.
First phase of headquarters costs £35,000
The first phase of the new fire station in Bothwell Road costing £35,000 was officially opened by the provost Mrs Mary S Ewart on Saturday the 16th of May 1931. When completed the new fire station will become the headquarters of the Lanarkshire fire brigade.
In thanking the fire brigade committee for the honour conferred on her, provost Ewart said that some years ago, when the new question of the new fire station was before the town council, she had been apposed to the idea because she felt it would not fit in with the surroundings of such a lovely part of the town. However, having seen the new station, she had changed her opinion because it was a work of art.
Today, She said, fire fighting and prevention of fire was a very highly skilled art indeed, but the men and women of the Lanarkshire fire brigade were well trained and equipped for these tasks.
The committee had realised the great need for extending the service and providing the best services possible for their personnel. She congratulated the architect on a splendid job of work. The building had enhanced the already beautiful burgh of approach to the Bothwell.
Hamilton’s Strategic Position
Bailie John Fox, chairman of the Fire Brigade Committee, in introducing Provost Mrs Ewart, said he was pleased at the large turnout of people who had been sufficiently interested to come along to the opening of the new station.
He described it as a unique occasion, for not only were they opening a new station at Hamilton, but they were opening a new central Fire Brigade Headquarters for Lanarkshire. Hamilton had been chosen because of it strategic position in the centre of the county.
As the committee included representatives from all the burghs in the county, the members felt that since the delegate from Hamilton Town Council was none other than Provost Mrs Ewart they could find no better person to perform the opening ceremony. He then handed over the key of the new station to Provost Ewart, who in turn presented it to Station Officer George Cathro. Little Miss MacIntosh presented the Provost with a bouquet of flowers.
At the dinner in the new fire station after the annual inspection and sports at Hamilton Park Racecourse, Firemaster A. S. Nisbet extended a sincere welcome to all those who had attended the opening of “a very small part of the new fire brigade Headquarters in Hamilton.” This was the first time, he said, that a function of that kind had been held inside a fire station.
“Reaches the Hearts of the People”
In proposing the toast of “The Fire Brigade,” Bailie Fox said it was one of the services which reached right to the hearts of the people. It was one service which could never be measured in steps of safety. They could lay out great plans for fire prevention, but it was never really possible to measure or gauge how much good the fire service could do. When anyone talked about the fire service they talked about the service the people got, but never about the service the fire brigade gave.
“The last twelve months will go down as a record for the number of lives lost in fires in Lanarkshire,” he said. In one fire nine lives had been lost, and in another four. “What would you regard as the topmost price you would pay for a fire service which could prevent the loss of life?” he asked. “Surely,” he continued, “there is no price which you could put on a service which saves lives.
“The fire service is one of the most essential services there is, because it is dedicated to service: dedicated to the preservation of life and property.”
Bailie Fox said that in Lanarkshire they had a record of which they could be proud indeed. It had been a struggle since 1947 to get all the fire services on to the level they were at today. The ceremony that afternoon was only a stepping stone towards the completion of an ideal to provide a great fire service to the people. A fire service could not operate successfully if it did not have the co-operation of the people it had to deal with, and the county service had been fortunate in its dealings with the Scottish Home Department.
In a short and witty reply, Mr A.S.Nixon of that Department said he thought the committee would have taken the opportunity to prepare some sign or placard for the wall of the fire station recording their “undying appreciation of the attitude taken by the Scottish Home Department”!
The new station was a very fine one indeed, and he thought the committee, the firemaster, and the architect would view it with a certain amount of pride.
The toast of “The Builders” was proposed by Mr W. Lockhart Hutron, the architect, and replied to by Mr. J. T. Robertson. A vote of thanks was proposed by County Councillor J. Aiton, vice chairman of the Fire Brigade Committee.
Mrs Nisbet presented the prizes won at the annual competition and sports.
The New Building
The complete scheme as planned for a central fire station envisages central administrative and training facilities, maintenance workshop and stores, as well as an operational station serving the Hamilton area and providing accommodation for the larger and specialised fire fighting equipment which can be sent to the assistance of any other section of the brigade in any part of the county.
Behind the main building facing Bothwell Road, there will be a training quadrangle with ground for stores buildings, maintenance workshops capable of dealing with minor and major repairs of the brigade’s fleet of vehicles and appliances, special training facilities, and a hose tower.
The main building will comprise a six bay appliance room flanked on one side by operational quarters, and on the other by the central administrative buildings, while over the appliance room will be situated the indoor training accommodation.
The portion of the building now completed represents a three bay appliance room with the operational facilities necessary to serve the needs of a local station.
The accommodation on the ground floor consists of the appliance room, a muster bay on which the firemen converge from this floor and by means of the poles from the upper floor immediately the “bells go down”, a changing room and a drying room where returning crews may change and dry their clothing, a wash room with shower baths, and a mess room and kitchen facilities. Adjoining the appliance room is the watch room, the nerve centre of the station, containing a comprehensive switch board where all messages are received and from where instructions can be issued immediately by means of alarm bells and signals.
On the upper floor is the duty crew accommodation, consisting of locker rooms, wash room, dormitories, duty officer’s room, and the necessary stores. From each of the upper floors there is a “pole drop” to the muster bay. There are also two small rooms , a quiet room, and a recreation room.
Externally the building is faced with the mellow coloured brick imported from Lancashire, while the appliance bay is faced with synthetic stone blocks produced locally. Internally the finishings are simple and are provided primarily to give surfaces which will be easily maintained and will stand up to the hard wear to be expected where everything is done “at the double.” The rooms are painted in light, attractive colours.
Hamilton Fire station was officially re-opened on the 9th March,1993 after major refurbishment (Phase 3).