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Archive for the ‘Fire Brigade’ Category

The Parish Squirt

Before 1869, the only fire engine available to Bexley Heath was the ‘parish squirt’ in Bexley Village. It was only after the Eagle pub and an adjoining cottage were destroyed by fire that the Dartford District Highways Board agreed to Bexley Heath’s  request to buy its own fire engine. In April 1869 the Bexley Heath Fire Brigade was formed, consisting of 18 men, all volunteers.

Bexley Heath Fire Brigade 1898

The engine was a two-wheeled vehicle pulled by horses. It could seat four men, while the others had to run alongside it.

Bexley Heath Fire Engine 1898

The Fire Brigade consisted of well-respected men who were part of the distinguished group which marched from the Council Offices to the ceremony of the opening of the Clock Tower in 1912.

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At 10pm on 4 June 2012, following Jubilee celebrations in the Broadway, Bexleyheath, residents of the borough of Bexley were invited to take part in a ceremony at Golden Acre, next to St John’s Church, Bexley village. Following speeches by the Mayor of Bexley, the Deputy Lieutenant of Bexley and the Bishop of Rochester, a Jubilee Beacon was lit, one of over 4000 beacons lit across Britain and the Commonwealth.

Bexley’s Jubilee Beacon at Golden Acre, next to St John’s Church, Bexley village.

Just a simple flame, but there were plenty of fire engines nearby, in case of any emergency! But how did we do Jubilee Beacons in the past? In 1897 for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, a beacon was lit in Oaklands Road.

Beacon created in Oaklands Road for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897

That’s what you call a proper beacon! Bexley Heath did already have its own fire brigade by this time, so perhaps they were standing by then too. I wonder how long it took to build this beacon!

There were beacons to celebrate King George V’s coronation in 1911 too. This one looks particularly neat and organised. A work of art!

Beacon created to celebrate the coronation of King George V in 1911

A small exhibition of ‘Royal Broadway’ is on display Christ Church, Bexleyheath from 1 June 2012.

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