1807  First fire engine house built by public subscription at Mumps Brook. Complement of 6 men and a manual pump. The firemen also acted as lamplighters & were paid 6d per hour. 

1819  June. Lees township forms its own subscription fire brigade. A fire engine was purchased for £71 8s 1d. James Knott was appointed Engineer. The Engine House was later built at Elliot St/ Mellor St. 

1849  Police Fire Brigade formed under Supt. Jackson. 

1849  Fire station opened at Bottom o' th' Moor (later known as Townfield). Two manual fire pumps were stationed there.

 1849 New Engine house built at Clegg St.

 1850  Oct. Watch Committee rejects an application that firemen should have their clothing provided by the Local Authority.

 1851 Oct. The Watch Committee buys 3 dozen fire helmets at a cost of £25.

1853 1st April. The Watch Committee increase the salary of the firemen from 30s to £2 10s a year.

1854 A second fire station was opened at Clegg St. The Brigade had 4 manual engines and called upon the West of England Insurance Co. fire brigade at Union St if needed.

1856 Supt. Moses Mills was appointed and the Brigade reorganised.
Lees Fire Brigade purchase 14 fireman's helmets.

1857 Frock coats issued as uniform to Oldham firemen.

1858 A fire at the premises of James Fielding, a non-subscriber to Lees Fire Brigade, cost him £30 for the use of 2 engines, firemen and 253 pumpers at 1s each (plus 52 quarts of beer!)

1860 On June 14th, 3rd Class Constable Gartside was found guilty of misconduct at a fire at Bell St. He "played his hose upon 3rd Class Constable Dunkerley".

1864 Further reorganisation took place & the Municipal Fire Brigade was formed.

        A further fire station was opened at John St, Werneth. Horses could be obtained from the Council when needed.

        William Holt placed in charge of the Townfield contingent.

1875 Oldham obtained its first steam fire engine. It cost £560 & could pump 350gpm. Before it was officially handed over it proved its worth at a fire at Park Mill, Hollinwood. (And it didn't rely on beer to keep pumping!!)

1876 The Watch Committee reorganised the Brigade. Two more Merryweather steamers were purchased.

1877 Ten firemen placed on the permanent staff at Clegg St station.

1884 Lees Subscription Fire Brigade is disbanded & fire cover is provided by Oldham Fire Brigade.

1886 Clegg St station closes.

1887 Ascroft St station opens to replace Clegg St.

1894 Telephones replace telegraph system between Central, Townfield & Werneth stations.

1898 A new station at Frederick St/ Manchester St replaces John St Werneth.

1898 June. Alderman Bolton presents the town with a horse ambulance. Driving it was the responsibility of any one of the 47 firemen.

1903  New station built at Townfield.


1908  First motorised appliance delivered to Oldham.

Other appliances delivered in 1910.


1914  First motorised fire pump delivered & is capable  of 600 gpm & carried a 60ft escape.


1922  Last horse used to pull fire engines & ambulances was dispensed with.


1923  A prison van was purchased which was often driven by the firemen.


1932  The Brigade complement consisted of 53 Police/ firemen, 5 motor pumps, 1 steam engine, 1 transport wagon, 6 ambulances, 3 cars, 1 prison van & 6 motorcycles.


1935  A Leyland/ Metz 100ft all steel, power operated, Turntable ladder was purchased. Reg No., BU8888. it was to remain in service until 1964.


1938  Auxiliary Firemen start to be trained up with the threat of war. By September 1939 over 800 had been trained.


1939  Sept. War is declared & 16 additional AFS stations & 120 pumps & towing vehicles are made available.


1939  22 Sept. Wilf Teall is the last man to join Oldham as a Police/ fireman.


1940     Feb. The Chief Constables report states that there are 363 whole time & 495 part time officers & men

Aug. Enemy bombs are dropped on Belgium Mill, Royton.

December. Five AFS men from Oldham are killed in an air raid at Stretford.


1941  Following an Act of Parliament the National Fire Service is formed. Oldham Fire Brigade becomes part of 'H' Division, Number 27 Fire Force Area. Divisional Officer Burt Bellamy was appointed OiC of the Oldham area.


1944  Christmas Eve. A flying bomb lands on Abbeyhills & 30 people are killed & many injured.


1946  By March 31st all street fire alarms have been removed.


1947  Fire Sevices Act published.


1948 Townfield Fire Station closes.

     On 1st April, Burt Bellamy is appointed Oldhams first Chief Fire Officer.

The Brigade's complement was 89 Officers & men, 2 TLs, 2 Pump Escapes, 3 large capacity pumps, 2 small capacity pumps,1 Water tender, 1 Emergency Tender, 2 Salvage tenders & 2 motorcycles.


1954  Albert Pickering takes over as Chief Fire Officer when Burt Bellamy retires.


1972  Total calls were 2905.

      Fm DS Broadbent was commended by the Queen for rescuing a boy from a dust tower at Greenbank Mill, Greengate St.


1973  Total calls were 3074.

      CFO Bellamy awarded QFSM in Birthday Honours List.


1974  On  1st April, following local government re-organisation, Oldham County Borough is amalgamated into the newly formed Greater Manchester County Fire Service. Oldham, Chadderton & Werneth stations become part of C Division with callsigns C33, C34 & C35 respectively.


1974  24 July. Ascroft St Control Room closes after 35 years.


1979  Ascroft St station closes & a new station at Lees Rd opens.


1981  Werneth station closes & a new station opens at Hollins Rd.


1997  Rope access equipment issued to pumps.


1998  Environmental protection equipment issued to pumps.


2000  The Brigade changes its structure from 5 Divisions to 3 Area Commands. Oldham becomes part of East Command.


2002 13 November. Firefighters begin a national strike in a dispute over pay. Just two Green Goddesses provide cover for Oldham.


2003  28 January. The national Firefighters strike reaches it's 11th week. Firefighters walk out for another 48 hr stoppage.


2003  12 June. The Fire Brigades Union conference accepts a deal to increase firefighters pay to £25000 by July 2004. Integrated Risk Management Plans will be introduced in all Brigades. Fire Service Discipline Regs are to be replaced by ACAS Code of Practice.


2004  A new Fire & Rescue Services Act is brought in by  Parliament.


      May. A pilot course begins for FIREFLY initiative at Oldham. Aimed to provide intensive work experience for young people with backgrounds in anti-social behaviour.

      Nov. New Dimension equipment issued.



2005  10 Feb. Green Goddesses that were used in two national firefighters strikes start to be auctioned off.

      16 May. GMC Fire & Rescue Service changes its structure from 3 Area Commands to 11 Borough Commands. Oldham Borough now consists of Oldham, Chadderton & Hollins stations.

      August. A thermal Image camera is issued to pumps. A new "Drive To Arrive" policy is introduced that risk assesses each call & determines whether to turn out on 'blues & twos'.

     December. Beds are removed from stations as part of the 'Modernisation Agenda'.


2006  Jan The ‘Rostering For Duty’ project is introduced which reduces the establishment of the four watches from 16 to 12 in order to create a fifth watch – Amber.

 'Flexible Operational Resource Deployment' as part of the IRMP means that Oldhams’ 2nd pump is stood down on a Tuesday night. Chaddertons 2nd pump is stood down on Wednesday & Friday nights.



2007     18 May - Firefighters in GMC begin hostility training. It aims to equip fire crews with the skills to deal with attacks by yobs.

7 Dec                A new policy is introduced to reduce the number of false alarms. If the fire alarm goes off occupiers are asked to check if there is a fire & call 999, otherwise a fire engine will not attend.


2008   30 Apr     - In the latest of a series of cutbacks under the IRMP Oldham are to have their second pump stood down on a Sunday during the day & also a bank holiday if it falls on a Thursday. This is in addition to the second pump standing down on Tuesday night since 2005.



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