The Basingstoke Volunteer Fire Brigade

We are excited to announce that the latest edition of our Basingstoke Histories series – The Basingstoke Volunteer Fire Brigade (1838-1949) by local author and social historian Bob Clarke.

Established in 1838, the Basingstoke Volunteer Fire Brigade served the town and surrounding villages for over a hundred years. Drawing on contemporary records and newspaper reports, this book paints a vivid portrait of a time before a dedicated fire service, reliable water supply or the advent of instant communication. In the case of rural first, riders on horseback or bicycle raced to the town to report the blaze, but by the time the Brigade had sourced horses to pull their engine to the farm, the fire had been burning for hours.

The volunteers’ role was one of extremes: their shows burnt from wading through hot ashes, whilst on a bitterly cold night in 1901 a fireman found himself frozen to a roof fighting a fire in Wote Street. The account also charts the Brigade’s technological progression from hand held buckets to the acquisition of its first steam engine (which was used to great effect in 1905 to fight the Great Fire of Basingstoke) and the purchase of its first motorised engine in 1913.

We have recorded a short video with Bob Clarke in which he introduces the book and this is available via YouTube:

Bob Clarke introduces the Basinstoke Volunteer Fire Brigade

The Basingstoke volunteer Fire Brigade costs £5.00, plus £1.50 post and packing. For orders placed before the 31st December 2020, there is an introductory price of £5.50.

If you would like to place an order for the book, please download an order form and return a scanned copy by email, or post your order with a cheque to:

Basingstoke Volunteer Fire Brigade Book,
6 Aviemore Drive,
RG23 7EN

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