The Central division of Glasgow Fire Brigade outside their headquarters, c 1890. The purpose-built Central Fire Engine Station opened in 1851 on the site of the old Greyfriars Mission School at 34-38 College Street and housed the service's headquarters for forty-nine years until its removal to Ingram Street. One of the public fire alarms which were installed throughout the city from 1878 is fixed to the wall on the left of the photograph.
Prior to occupying these premises the service had been based in the police office in South Albion Street. Access to the engine house had been through the Dog and Bird Market, where broad flat rails were laid to allow the engines to be wheeled more easily along the cobbled street.
It was at College Street that a modern fire station lay-out was first seen in Glasgow. Each engine occupied its own bay, which gave access directly onto the street. It was also the first station to provide centralised stabling for horses, which could be harnessed to the engines and out on the street within two minutes.
In 1891 the Glasgow Police Act of 1807 was superseded and the brigade became an independent organisation.
Reference: Glasgow City Archives, Deposited Collections
Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Libraries, Information and Learning
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