The following extracts relating to the purchase and the operation of the 'Motor Fire Engine SN1549' are taken from the minutes of the Helensburgh Town Council. These minutes are gratefully reproduced from a transcription made by Graeme Kirkwood. His website (http://www.graeme.kirkwood.btinternet.co.uk/) details the history of the Scottish Fire Brigades.



A letter from the Clerk of the Western District Committee of the County Council dated 29th ult., was read in reply to letter offering the services of the local Fire Brigade to the County. He stated that in the absence of definite information as to the continuance of existing arrangements further consideration had been deferred. It was agreed the Burgh Surveyor make enquiries as to a motor fire engine.



A report by the Burgh Surveyor and Firemaster dated 5th inst., was read and considered. It was moved by Mr Martin, and seconded by Mr. Millar, that scheme (b) of the report be adopted and a motor fire engine be got for the Burgh, which the Surveyor estimated would, including cost of additional fire hose, amount to about 1600. The additional annual upkeep would amount to about 270.


12/2/1920 Mr Robb, Convener, gave in report by Sub-Committee on Motor Fire Engine, and a spec and offer by Messrs Dennis Brothers, Guildford, to supply a 45hp fire engine was produced, and it was agreed to purchase same at cost of 1575.



At a Special Meeting of the Town Council of the Burgh of Helensburgh, held within the Council Chambers. Draft Proposals by the Town Council of the Burgh of Helensburgh relative to the use of improved Burgh Fire Brigade by the County Council of Dumbarton.

The Town Council of the Burgh of Helensburgh proposed to provide:-


(1)           One 45 h.p. Motor Fire Engine, with telescopic ladder

(2)           3000 feet of 2 1/2 inch hose pipe, bayonet couplings.

(3)           Adapters, for connecting hose to screw and ball hydrant couplings to suit various County Fire Plugs.

(4)           Standpipes to suit County Fire Plugs.

(5)           Extra length of suction hose pipe, making 50 feet in all.



Firemaster, employed at or near Fire Station.

Motor Mechanic and Assistant Firemaster, employed at or near Fire Station.

Motor Driver, employed by Burgh.

Nine men retained, but not necessarily employed by Burgh. Houses, connected with Fire Station by bell, for use at night.

Four men, not retained, and not necessarily employed by Burgh, but occasionally trained to be ready for all turnouts and drills.

Uniform to be provided by Burgh for all the above men who by day would be summoned to the Fire Station whenever the syren, operated from the Fire Station, sounded the alarm.

The Fire Brigade to be prepared to turn out day or night to any County Fire in the Western District with the Motor Fire Engine, 8 men, 3000 feet of loose and adapters for any County plug, provided the engine is not at or called to any other fire.


12/11/1920 Messrs Dennis Brothers indicated the fire engine would be ready about the end of this month. It was agreed to ask them to provide an extension ladder at a price of 36, and also an extinguisher for carrying on engine. It was agreed to retain the existing horse carriage, fire pump, and fire escape in the meantime. Motor arrived 13th December and had pump test 17th.



First time firemen called out by Siren during working hours.

The Restaurant 48 East Princess Street. Damage slight. Brigade expenses 2 5/-

Permanent connection to apply hot water circulation to the radiator of the Fire Engine to avoid chilling of the Engine in cold weather with necessary shut off valves and quick disconnecting couplings.



On Friday, 28th ult, the Brigade was called to an outbreak of fire at Shandon in the Motor Omnibus, SN1811, belonging to Henry Brown, Helensburgh. The Brigade was leaving the station when the turn out was cancelled. The expenses were 2 17 6d, being payment to Firemen, and 7 10/- in respect of turnout of engine in terms of agreement.

It was agreed to get estimates for uniforms and helmets for four firemen and fire-boots for all firemen, also uniforms and pickaxes and two electric hand lamps, and non-skid chains when required, and remitted same to the Convener, Sub-Convener, and the Firemaster, with powers.


3/11/1922 It was agreed that the Firemaster purchase 2 Pyrene Chemical Extinguishers with 6 refills at a cost of 55s each for extinguishers and 7s each for refills to be used in caes of Petrol Fires.


1/6/1923 The Pump of the Fire Engine had been found to be encrusted with salt crystals caused through using salt water at the Garelochhead Hotel fire, and the engine had been taken to Messrs Dennis Bros' agents, Messrs Rennie, to be put right. It had now been returned and tested and found to be in splendid working order. Steps would be taken to prevent encrustation in future.


27/12/1923 It was agreed that wheel chains be purchased for use in connection with Fire Engine.



The Firemaster reported that the Fire Engine had been slightly damaged as a result of a collision with a motor bus at Garelochhead on 13th ult., and attributed the cause of the accident to the position of a Bus Halt at Garelochhead. It was agreed that the Joint Town Clerk write the County Clerk requesting that the question of altering the present position of this and other Bus Halts on the Garelochside be considered.