Sheffield Police Fire Brigade

A New Fire Brigade is Born

In 1869 the Sheffield Town Council after much negotiation fully took over the responsibility for fire cover from the Insurance Brigades. The Council advertised for a Chief Fire Officer and by June of that year, thirty-seven applications had been received.  From these six were selected for the short list:

Thomas Wingfield  Metropolitan Fire Brigade
John Charles Pound  Nottingham Fire Brigade
Thomas Austin  Blackburn
Thomas J. Holmes Royal Fire Brigade, Sheffield
E. Clements  Birkenhead
Henry Millward Alliance Fire Office, Sheffield

After they had been interviewed Mr. John Pound was appointed Superintendent of the Brigade as from the 15th July, 1869, at a salary of £100 per year, a house, coal and gas to he provided for his use.  The decision of the Corporation to take over and run the Fire Brigade was brought to a head by the series of large fires between 1865 and 1869. Namely:The Surrey Theatre, West Bar, Mr. Burrells, Draper, Snig Hill, The Ragged Schools and Mudfords Rope Works, Exchange Street.

In 1869 the first Fire Station was in Norfolk Street opposite Milk Street.  Mr. Pound had to form the new Brigade with 15 young constables and for eleven months living quarters were a problem as many of the men lived as far away as Spital Hill.  When a fire occurred at night the men were called off their beats by whistle, and in the daytime Mr. Pound had to pick up any Constable he could find.  The first fire attended by the new Brigade occurred on the 30th July, 1869 at a Cabinet Case Makers in Arundel Street. It took fifty minutes to obtain water because the fire occurred on the day before the Corporation required the Water Company to give a constant supply.  Towards the latter end of the year the water was again turned off at night and so Mr. Pound insisted on a turncock being in attendance at the Fire Station to turn on the water in case of fire.

In 1870 the Corporation took a lease of 17 houses in Hill Street and Balm Green and the Firemen were installed in them, electric bells being connected to the houses.  On the 24th June, 1870, the appliances were moved to a new Station at Barker's Pool, which was formerly the Weights and Measures Office.  In 1874 Hose Carts and fire extinguishing apparatus were placed in each of the four Divisional Police Stations at Attercliffe, Broomhill, Highfields and Langsett Road. For four years after its inception the Brigade had to drag the engines by hand as it was not possible to obtain horses from the Angel yard in Angel Street in any reasonable time.  On the 20th September, 1873 a call was received to a fire at Fulwood and the Brigade had to wait 45 minutes for the horses.  Before they were able to start an Alderman and several reporters came to the Station and the next day there was a long report in the press.  After the next Council meeting two horses were purchased but there was no stabling for them and they had to stand in the yard of the Angel Inn at Moorhead; but eventually a 10 years', lease of a stable and coach house in Backfields was obtained.

Photograph thought to be of Sheffield Fire Brigade - between 1869 and 1895
Photograph SFBPhotograph SFBPhotograph SFBPhotograph SFBPhotograph SFBPhotograph SFBPhotograph SFBPhotograph SFBPhotograph SFBPhotograph SFB
Photograph courtesy of Peter Chipchase

On 4th January 1876 the Corporation purchased its first Steam Engine and on the 25th December, 1883 the Brigade removed to a new Fire Station at Rockingham Street which had been erected at a cost of £16,318.

In 1879 Sheffield Fire Brigade had 6 stations

Barkers Pool Fire Station
Attercliffe Police Station
Broomhill Police Station

1 Horse Drawn Shand Mason Steam Engine
3 Horse Drawn Manual Engines
2 Escapes one of which extended to 70 foot

1 Hose Cart

1 Hose Cart

Burngreave Rd Police Station
Healey Police Station
Langsett Rd Police Station

1 Hose Cart

1 Hose Cart

1 Hose Cart

In 1889 the Establishment for Sheffield Fire Brigade was:

2 Horse Drawn Steam Engines - Shand Mason
2 Horse Drawn Manual Engines
2 Horse Drawn Hose Tenders
3 Escapes
30 Ladders
5 Hose Carts - 1 per Police Division with 30 men in each instructed in their use

22 Dedicated Fire Service personnel- 1 Superintendent, 1 Sergeant, 2 Engineers, 2 Coachmen, 16 Firemen, & 16 Auxiliary Firemen
Above information Supplied by Simon John Ryan

Prior to 1891 Rockingham Street Fire Station replaced Barkers Pool Fire Station. Rockingham Street Fire Station had a self-contained Superintendent's House and 21 Flats for officers, sergeants, firemen and their families.

According to the 1891 Census the occupancy of Rockingham Street Fire Engine Station housing was:
Address Occupants
Rockingham Street Fire Engine Station Fire Brigade Superintendent John C. Pound age 57, from Sittingbourne, Kent, his wife Charlotte age 57, and their 6 children, Walter age 20, Herbert age 18, Arthur age 16, Flora age 14, Bertha age 12, and Leonard age 8.   
House 1 Police Constable Samuel Kendall age 45, from Market Deeping, Lincolnshire, his wife Mary age 43, and their 2 children, Florence age 8, and Fanny age 6.
House 2 Police Constable Joseph Barrand age 35 from Louth, Lincolnshire, his wife Sarah age 33, and their 2 children, Joseph age 10, and Annie age 5.
House 3 Police Constable Charles Dye age 24, from West Bilney, Norfolk, his wife Edith A., age 26, and their 8 month old daughter Edith L.
House 4 Police Sergeant & Fireman Edward Crawford age 42 from Boston, Lincolnshire, his wife Sarah age 44 and their son Albert age 16
House 5 Police Constable William Kenness age 32 from Cranworth, Norfolk, his wife Lansei age 32, and their 2 children, Wilfred age 10, and Alfred age 7.
House 6 Fire Brigade Engineer Robert Fletcher, age 36 from Little Lever, Lancashire, his wife Fanny age 38 and their 2 children, Fanny age 15 and William age 12
House 7 Fire Brigade Engineer Abraham Brookes age 50 from Millsbridge, Yorkshire, his wife Margaret age 50, and their 6 children, George age 24, Thomas age 22, Joseph age 20, Emma age 15, Nellie age 12, and Mary age 7.
House 8 Police Constable and Fireman William Haggard age 48 from Blyth, Nottinghamshire his wife Elizabeth age 42, and their 3 children, Albert age 22, Elizabeth age 17, and Gertrude age 15.
House 9 Police Constable Charles Needham age 43 from Elksley, Nottinghamshire, his wife Sarah age 38, and their 5 children, Emily age 15, Annie age 14, Gertrude age 8, Charles age 6 Agnes age 8 months, and his mother-in-law Sarah age 75.
House10 Police Constable Charles Moore age 36 from Wirksworth, Derbyshire, his wife Mary Ann age 30, and their 2 children, Ernest age 10, and Harry age 8.
House 11 Police Constable Alphons Ratcliffe age 37 from Haughton, Nottinghamshire, his wife Annie age 34, and their 4 children, Sarah E. age 10, Edith age 6, Alphons age 4, and Annie M. age 2.
House 12 Police Constable Samuel Vause age 30 from Watford, Northamptonshire, his wife Ruth age 32, and their daughter Emily age 5.
House 13 Police Constable Francis L. Brownlea age 26 from Parwich, Derbyshire, his wife Sarah age 27, and their 2 daughter, Adahlia age 5, and Francis 7 months. 
House 14 Police Constable Charles Waller age 30 from Saphron Walden, Essex, his wife Mary age 35, and their 5 children, George age 9, Louisa age 7, William age 4, Ernest age 2, and Mary age 8 months.
House 15 Police Constable Fredrick Horne age 38 from Ridgmont, Bedfordshire, his wife Ellen age 40, and their daughter Jane age 4.
House 16 Police Constable Edmund J. Pittaway age 29 from Ashorne, Warwickshire, his wife Elizabeth age 35, and their 3 children, Annie age 6, Florence age 3, and Edmund G. age 1.
House 17 Police Constable William Whillington age 26 from Perlethorpe, Nottinghamshire, and his wife Alice age 28
House 18 Police Constable George W. Smith age 30 from Whalesby, Nottinghamshire, his wife Charlotte age 34, and their 2 children, Mabel age 6, and Bertha age 4.
House 19 Police Constable James Hill age 33 from Frome, Somerset, and his wife Elizabeth.
House 20 Police Constable Henry Boniface age 27 from Lower Beeding, Sussex, his wife Harriet age 30, and their 2 children, Bertha age 4, and Henry age 1.
House 21 Police Constable John Candlin age 38 from Worksop, Nottinghamshire, his wife Julia age 32, and their 4 children, Ellen age 11, Tom age 7, Walter age 3, John age 3 months, and his sister-in-law Mary Machin age 20.

Above information researched by John Hague, and compiled by Ted Mullins

Sheffield becomes a City

The Town of Sheffield received its municipal charter in 1893, and officially became the City of Sheffield.

Photo of Horse Drawn Steamer
Photograph from Sheffield Fire Brigade - A Brief History
Horse drawn steamer outside new fire station Rockingham Street


The second Steam Engine was purchased in 1884 and in 1894 another manual engine was replaced by a steamer.  In 1895 five Kingston Fire Escapes were purchased and placed at each of the Divisional Police Stations. At this time the establishment of the Brigade was one Superintendent, one Sergeant, three engineers and 15 Firemen.

The appliances consisted of three steam fire engines, one manual engine, two tenders, three telescopic fire escapes and one escape carried on a four wheeled tender and pulled by five horses.  Each of the Divisional Police Stations had a fire escape and hose cart.

Fire Escape Pitched to the front of Rockingham Street
Photograph from Sheffield Fire Brigade - A Brief History
Fire escape pitched at the front of Rockingham Street Fire Station

(On 20th November 1953 a letter by Mrs. E. R. Haynes of Thornton Road, Sheffield, was printed in the "Star" This letter named all the people in the photograph on the right. Mrs. Haynes lived at West Bar Fire Station at the time that the photograph was taken and her father Sam Vause was one of the firemen.)

The picture opposite shows Superintendent Pound and members of Brigade with two horse drawn steam pump fire engines, 1894.

TOP ROW: (Left to Right): Fm Haggard, Fm Vause, Fm Smith, Fm Dye

SECOND ROW: Fm Hill, Fm Barrand, Fm Horne, Fm Boniface

FRONT ROW: Fm Waller, Fm Ratcliffe, Fm Kenniss, Fm Brownlee, Supt. Pound, Sgt. Crawford, Fm Pittaway, Fm Candlin, Fm Moore, Fm Veasey. The two turn-cocks (wearing the pillbox caps) were Mr. Fletcher and Mr. Brookes.


Pond outside Rockingham Street
Photograph from Sheffield Fire Brigade - A Brief History

Evening Telegraph and Star incorporating the Sheffield Daily Times, 9th June 1894:

New Fire Brigade Station

The Fire Brigade Sub-committee's recommendation that a new station be built to accommodate an Inspector and 20 constables, and that in addition to the men’s dwellings it comprise an engine house, stable, and prison cells, having been approved, the sub-committee have endeavoured to find a suitable situation for the same, and beg to recommend that steps be taken to secure the plot of land at present vacant belonging to the Town Trustees at the junction of Westbar and Westbar Green. Messrs. Flockton and Gibbs are agents to the Trustees, and they say the site contains 649 yards, and it is to be let on lease for 99 years at 2s 6d. per yard.

Superintendent Pound was injured at the Park Club fire on the 11th February 1895 when he fell against a kerbstone whilst handling at jet. His injuries were at first thought to be bruising of the ribs, but later he suffered difficulty in breathing. He retired from the Fire Brigade shortly after in 1895.

News 1870 to 1895

Go to Previous Page Go to Next Page