Norwich Fire Service

Pottergate 12 to 16 fire station entrance [B504] 1933-03-26
During the latter part of the 19c the municipal fire engine was kept at the Guildhall below the old Sheriff's Office. With the increase in size of engines and other equipment more commodious accommodation was needed, and in 1899 a transfer was made to the premises in Pottergate.
Pottergate 17 [1133] 1936-07-16
Firemen's quarters when the fire engine was kept across the road at 12 to16 Pottergate.
Bethel St 28 to 34 site of new fire station [B491] 1933-03-11
Bethel St 24 to 26 demolition commenced [B492] 1933-03-11
Undoubtedly the biggest development affecting the heart of the city during the 1930s was the construction of the City Hall and the consequent remodelling of the market place. For many years Norwich Corporation had been acquiring property in an area bounded by Bethel St, St Peter's St and St Giles' St with this in mind, and early in 1933 demolition commenced to permit the construction of the Fire Station - the most urgently needed of the civic buildings.
Bethel St 32 demolition contractor notice [B493] 1933-03-11
Bethel St 26 partially demolished [B495] 1933-03-18
Bethel St 28 to 36 partially demolished [B496] 1933-03-18
Bethel St 24 to 32 partially demolished [B497] 1933-03-18
The houses affected were Nos 20-36 Bethel St, together with Blazeby's Yard and Jay's Court at the rear. Most of the houses fronting the street were of the Tudor period, timber framed, plaster faced, with slightly jettied first floor and with one or more dormers lighting the attic. Except that No 36, next door to Lacey and Lincoln's builders' yard, had been a public house known as the Coachmakers' Arms, their history seems to have been uneventful. All were in a very rundown condition at the time of their disappearance.
1933-04 site cleared [B530] 1933-04-14
1933-04 site cleared view NW [B531] 1933-04-14
1933-06 fencing around site [B573] 1933-06-07
1933-07 girderwork construction started [B636] 1933-07-22
1933-09 girderwork nearly complete [B766] 1933-09-10
1933-09 girderwork complete view NW [B781] 1933-09-24
1933-10 stonework over entrance view NE [B784] 1933-10-05
1933-10 stonework over entrance view NW [B785] 1933-10-05
1933-10 brickwork commenced at SW corner [B786] 1933-10-05
1933-11 brickwork progress at SW corner [B795] 1933-11-02
1933-11 brickwork at first floor level [B796] 1933-11-02
1933-11 second floor constructed [B801] 1933-11-18
1933-11 brickwork progress at NW corner [B802] 1933-11-18
1933-11 second floor constructed [B803] 1933-11-19
1933-12 second floor brickwork view NW [B807] 1933-12-03
1933-12 second floor brickwork view NE [B808] 1933-12-03
1934-01 brickwork complete to roof level [0006] 1934-01-08
1934-01 view NW [0013] 1934-01-09
1934-01 site of access road on east side [0024] 1934-01-30
1934-01 contractors board [0025] 1934-01-30
1934-01 view NE [0026] 1934-01-30
1934-05 construction almost complete [0093] 1934-05-10
1934-08 hoardings removed [0278] 1934-08-26
Bethel St road widening [0302] 1934-10-09
Bethel St road widening [0303] 1934-10-09
Bethel St fire station after completion [0304] 1934-11-26
The new building, erected to the design and under the supervision of Mr Stanley G.Livock, F.R.I.B.A., a Norwich architect, was completed at a cost of about £33,000 by Simms Son and Cooke of Nottingham, and includes on the north side, offices of the City Weights and Measures department. It was officially opened on 8th November 1934 by the Lord Mayor Mr F.C.Jex when it was described as "one of the largest and best equipped fire stations in the country", the old premises being referred to as "a disgrace and reproach to the city for many years".
Bethel St fire station return entrance [0309] 1934-11-26
Civic Week 1955 Fire Service Display
City Hall display fire engines arrive [4313] 1955-06-23
Two fire engines arrive and the escape ladder is run up... a dummy is lowered from the escape ladder by rope... the ambulance arrives and stretcher bearers stand by ready to receive the "casualty"... who is then carried away... hoses are connected to the fire tender... firemen play their hoses to extinguish the flames... the escape ladder is lowered.
This picture shows someone attempting to move part of a lamp standard that the fire-engine had just demolished, having rounded the corner from Bethel St somewhat carelessly. This was not an intended part of the display. Some weeks later, the fireman responsible, Geoffrey Browne (45) of 455 Sprowston Rd, was found guilty of driving his fire engine carelessly, had his licence endorsed and fined £3 by the city magistrates. His defence said it would have been a pretty poor demonstration if the fire appliance had come round the corner at only four miles an hour, and blamed vehicles that had been parked right up to the corner.
City Hall display escape ladder extended [4314] 1955-06-23
Norwich Civic week 18th to 25th June 1955, one of the more popular features of which was a fire display, twice daily, in front of the City Hall.
City Hall display lowering dummy [4315] 1955-06-23
City Hall display stretcher bearers arrive [4316] 1955-06-23
City Hall display hoses connected [4317] 1955-06-23
City Hall display dummy lowered on ropes [4318] 1955-06-23
City Hall display ladder being lowered [4319] 1955-06-23
City Hall display hoses playing [4320] 1955-06-23

Text and photographs copyright George Plunkett