More complex and imposing than any other vehicle in the British emergency services, the fire engine has a long and interesting history. The earliest water pumps had been developed by the eighteenth century - basic manual pumps that had to be hauled around by people or horses, and were often only used on fire-insured premises. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries horse-drawn, steam-powered fire engines, and eventually motorised fire engines, came to revolutionise firefighting, offering far greater versatility and the brigades came to be run by the municipalities. In this beautifully illustrated introduction, Eddie Baker charts the history of fire engines and their variants, and the increasingly complex equipment they have carried, such as high-rise ladders and high-pressure hoses. He also explains the wider history of the fire service and how the engines have been shaped by its needs and, most importantly, those of the firefighters themselves.
Eddie Baker joined the fire service in 1960 when he enrolled in the Croydon Auxiliary Fire Service. He was promoted through the ranks to Sub Officer prior to amalgamation with the London Fire Brigade. He continued to serve in the AFS until it disbanded in 1968. By 1970 Eddie had moved home and joined the Cambridgeshire and Isle of Ely Fire Brigade. After local government reorganisation in 1974, he served with Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service before retiring in 1995 as a Leading Firefighter. Since his retirement Eddie has continued his interest in the Fire Service and has previously written six books on the subject. He has also written a number of articles which have been published in Fire Service related magazines and gives talks to local groups on the history of the UK Fire Service. He lives in Huntingdon, UK.
Early Days 1900-1920 1921-1939 The Second World War 1945-1959 The 1960s and 1970s The 1980s and 1990s The Twenty-first Century Airports and Industrial Brigades Glossary Places to Visit Further Reading Index