This Day In 1958 - Maiden Newton's £4,500 Fire Station Opened


15th May 2011

The fire siren wailed at Maiden Newton last night. But there was no alarm – it was being sounded by Mr F Dann, H.M. Inspector of Fire Services, to mark the official opening of Maiden Newton’s new £4,250 fire station.

Near Mr Dann as he performed the ceremony was Maiden Newton’s first fire engine – an ancient hand-drawn, hand-operated pump brought out specially for the occasion.

Mr Dann said that for some time he had been dismayed at the very unsuitable premises Maiden Newton section of Dorset Fire Brigade had occupied and felt it was his duty to do all in his power to see that they had a new station.

Yeoman Service

“It has always been my considered opinion that whatever can be done for the retained firemen of this country should be done,” he said. “There is not the slightest doubt that they do yeoman service for their fellow countrymen, often in uncomfortable circumstances, but they do it cheerfully and well.”

As Mr Dann Pressed the siren button and the doors swung open, he said, “Good luck and safe journey to all those who leave from these doors tonight and in the future.”

Chairman of Dorchester R.D.C. Major R G Warren, recalled the history of the fire service in Maiden Newton, a village which had always been “Fire fighting minded.”

They began with the old manual pump and then, in 1939, the R.D.C. supplied them with a trailer pump. It was housed in a barn which had served as the fire station until the new premises were built nearly in the same lane.

Towed By Red Car

Next problem, said Major Warren, was towing the pump to fires. First a lorry was hired and then they bought a car which was painted a suitable red.

So the fire service in the village was maintained by the R.D.C. until 1941, when it was absorbed by the National Fire Service.

“After the war, Maiden Newton firemen carried on as part of the County Fire Brigade, and the R.D.C. and all the neighbourhood are only too thankful for the work they have done,” said Major Warren.

A parade of section personnel was inspected by Mr Dann, accompanied by the Vice-Lieutenant of Dorset, Col. G. A. Pinney; the vice-chairman of the County Fire Brigade Committee, Mr F. B. Chubb; and the Chief Fire Officer for Dorset, Mr R. L. Leach.

Long-Service Medals

From Col. Pinney, 13 members of the County Fire Brigade received the Fire Brigade Long-Service and Good Conduct Medal, awarded for a minimum of meritorious service.

“To an old soldier it is an enormous pleasure to see such a really smart, well set up unit, manned by people who obviously take a great pride in doing it,” said Col. Pinney. Recipients of the medals were Deputy Chief Officer T. Clark (Brigade H.Q.), Divisional Officer E. Gaskarth (Poole), Sub-Officer R. J. Knight (Bridport), Leading-Fireman F. A. Damer (Swanage), Firemen W. J. Cheney (Sherborne), A. J. Childs (Charmouth), A. A. Clapp, J. E. Gillett, R. E. L. Miles, H. J. S. Padley and S. N. Weadon.

Thanks to Col. Pinney and Mr Dann were expressed by Mr Chubb, who apologised for the absence through illness of the Fire Brigade Committee chairman, Mr J. H. Moore.

A short service of dedication was conducted by the Rector of Maiden Newton, the Rev. E. D. Ginever.

The new station is designed to the Home Office requirements for new country stations and is similar to the one recently build at Beaminster.

It provides for appliance, muster, control and switch gear rooms, hose and uniform storage. There is also a recreation room with cloak-room accommodation.

Outside, a 40ft tubular steel tower is provided for hose drying and fire-fighting practice and a drained hose wash is laid out for hose cleaning and maintenance. In charge of design in the County Architect’s department was Mr C. F. Davies.

The Maiden Newton section of the County Fire Brigade is led by Station Officer E. Rice.

[From the Dorset Echo 15-05-1958]

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