1878 - 1900
“We feel pleasure in announcing the formation of a
volunteer Fire Brigade for Carlow in connection with the Carlow
Rowing Club and Athletic Club and Racquet Court. At a preliminary
meeting held a fortnight since, some 30 members were enrolled and
application have been made to the Town Commission to supply a
portion of an outfit, such as helmets and buckets for the Brigade.
At present the Town is dependent on the Military
Fire engine, which has been freely placed at the disposal of the
Commissioners by the authorities, but we hope before long to see the
Town supplied with an engine of its own. The Brigade held their
first practice at the Military Barracks on Monday, and on Thursday
elected the Officers by Ballot ". • Major KD Tanner elected as
Captain of the Volunteer Fire Brigade
A fighting force for Carlow was established in 1880.
It was not until 1937 that £800 was raised by public subscription to
purchase the first motorised appliance for the county. See Handing over of the Keys of IC2000
Carlow Fireman c.1898
1879 The New
Appliance, A Merryweather Paxton
It had a 6‐inch engine, and
was worked by a 22‐man crew, producing 100 gallons a
minute at one stroke per second; the side handles were
folded for travelling. Weighing 30cwt. (1,524 Kg) laden,
it was normally pulled by two horses but could be
maneuvered by hand in confined spaces
A Second Example of a
Merryweather Paxton. Merryweather and Sons of
Tram Locomotive Works, Greenwich Works, London SE was a
company producing steam fire and pump engines.
Fire Hose Reel
from the Fire Escape
Works of Southwark London.
The following is from a newspaper cutting:
CARLOW FIRE BRIGADE AND COUNTY RESIDENTS
We are asked to notify to residents in the
County that in the event of a fire the Carlow Volunteer Fire
Brigade will render every assistance possible, provided a
pair of harness horses be sent in for engine when the alarm
to its edition of 20th September that year the new Fire Engine
specially made for the Carlow Town Commissioners by Messrs Shand and
Mason, London, which arrived in this Town last week was tested on
Tuesday afternoon. “After a minute inspection of the Engine, which
is well and tastefully fitted up, and provided with lamps, buckets,
portable tank, several length of hose and all other requisites, a
pair of horses was attached to the machine, was manned and then
driven by Mr R G Johnston, at a smart pace, through the principal
streets of the Town. The novel procession attracted a good deal of
attention and a considerable crowd subsequently collected at the
Quay to witness the test trial, which was considered satisfactory,
although the engine was not worked to it’s full power. It is
guaranteed to throw a jet of one hundred and thirty foot high”.
Carlow Fire Brigade crew with
tender and crew outside Carlow Town Hall in 1898.
Source of Photo: Carlow County Museum.
Much credit is given to Mr. Thomas Murphy of the Cross
along with others that the Fire Brigade became mechanised. As a member
of the Urban District Council he campaigned and pushed for a fire
brigade committee to be formed. A fund was established, the people of
County Carlow made donations and the Council, both County and Urban
Handing over of the Keys of IC2000
O’Neill 55, Tullow Street was awarded the contact to supply a fire
engine for Carlow Fire Brigade and on August 1936, he travelled to
London to place an order for a heavy-duty water pump with a firm in
Wembley. Shortly afterwards, he purchased a Ford V8 engine and chassis
from Cork. Over the following months, Willie assembled and mounted the
pump and adapted the power transmission to the Ford gear box. William
Purcell and Sons, coach builders, 86 Tullow Street, carried out the
carpentry work on the substructure, which accommodated the hoses,
extinguishers, axes and other gear, under a sub contract. Others
involved who worked in the Garage at the time were Jim O’Brien, Johnny
and Dick Hogan and Jack Dillon. The painting was carried out by John
Kelly, particularly the lettering on both sides of the appliance.
Following a few tests runs the fire appliance was handed over in June
- In the photo we see U.D.C.
chairman accepting the keys from William O'Neill. The
vehicle was assembled and stored in his garage in Tullow
Street and from there it had attended its first fire in
Murphy's of Park. For months the U.D.C had debated whether
it could afford to buy uniforms or hose for its volunteer
force, now with its Simonis pump and V8 engine it became one
of the best equipped fire brigades in the country.
In the background is John O'Brien, weigh master
and caretaker. John was born and lived in rooms situated under
the Town Hall; a cloths line is erected in his front porch
Source: Michael Purcell
Fire Brigade Station Merryweather Engine Reg IC 8878 Carlow
- Source: Ebay seller.
Green Lane c.1970
The view is from the Railway Bridge at Green Lane (above) in early
1970s, on the right, where the children are gathered, is
the entrance to the Presentation School , Scoil Mhuire Gan
Smal, on the left is portion of the new Fire Station. From
Note from M Brennan: The Carlow Fire Station in Green Lane
was completed and opened in 1973. A new station was built
on the same site in 2002.
A History of Carlow County Service:
- The information contained in these
pages is provided solely for the purpose of sharing with others
researching their ancestors in Ireland.
- © 2001 Ireland Genealogy Projects,
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