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The Dustshoveller's Gazette: The End of the Road

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

The End of the Road

As a reward to myself I visited the London Fire Brigade Museum in Southwark today. I had tried to get on a tour two or three times previously but kept having to cancel due to pressure of work.  I really wanted to visit to do some picture research for the book.  Anyway, this time I made it, and saw some original fullsize historic fire engines.  None were exactly from the 1830s, but there were some models of the kind that would have been used at the Westminster fire - as below...

Horsedrawn engine.  Note seat for the driver at the front
and the tank on the back, with the concertina-ed levers tucked
in at the sides which would be straightened out at the scene
and then used to pump water through the tank by teams of volunteers

Here on a different model you can see the levers outstretched with
hoses piled on the top, and other kit such as ladders strapped to the sides

I also saw examples of the wooden water pipes that ran under the streets at the time (known as 'trunk mains' for obvious reasons).  The narrow end would slot into the thick end of the next trunk and then be tarred over to make it waterproof...

... and James Braidwood's battered epaulettes (with the LFEE monogram on them), which were removed from his uniform after he died at the Tooley St Warehouses fire in 1861.  Ghoulish but fascinating.

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