Mildenhall Fire Crew c1920sShow/Hide_Details
Since 1950 Mildenhall Fire Station has stood in North Terrace Mildenhall Suffolk opposite its original site of the 1900s. The outline of the original building can be seen where the air pressure hoses are at the Jet Garage opposite. It was moved from there in 1939 to a larger garage behind The Thatched House in King Street - now demolished. It its place can be seen a detached house now used as a dental surgery.
In the early 1900s, the only way to let firemen know there was a fire was by the local policeman going round the town on his bicycle, calling from a loud hailer and telling them where the fire was. Someone would then collect the horses from a field near Bridge Farm Dairies to pull the fire cart. The fire was nearly burnt out by the time the brigade arrived!
In 1921 there was a big fire at Parker's Mill and the fire cart was not big enough to really help. Children were paid 8d an hour by Mr Parker to pump the woodern handles of the fire cart to release the water (see pages 35 and 43 in Around Mildenhall in Pictures). A larger steam engine was bought after this fire and pulled by a large car owned by Toombs Garage and hired by the fire brigade.
The first motorised fire engine was given to Mildenhall in 1936 by Greene King Brewery in Bury St. Edmunds. Fires were reached more quickly with this.
In the Second World War firemen had electric bells put in their houses to tell them of fires but if they were at work someone would have to go and tell them! At this time the fire engine was kept busy because of airfields/bombing on the Mildenhall, Tuddenham and Lakenheath Aerodromes. A fulltime person was appointed to answer the phone in a newly acquired office.
In the 1950s firemen were told of fires by a siren placed on top of two poles behind the station. This was heard all over Mildenhall. It was said to be so frightening that babies would be woken and children frightened by the noise.
Further resource information contact Mildenhall and District Museum (01638 716970)
22nd Feb 2007