Public Hall celebrates link with the fire service

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As many will have noticed, the outside of the Public Hall is currently being repainted. The eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed that the garage doors are being painted red whilst the rest of the woodwork is blue. This follows a decision taken at last night's management committee meeting.

The garage became the home of Audlem's fire engine from 1905, when there was a rent payable of £5 per year. Originally it was a horse-drawn fire engine that was kept there. This was called 'Jubilee', the name commemorating Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee in 1897. In fact the original sleepers on which the wheels of the engine rested are still in situ in the garage. The horses were kept in the stables at the nearby Crown Hotel.

In 1926 a van was bought to tow the old manual fire engine but it was not until 1934 that the first motorised fire engine was garaged at the Public Hall. The hall remained the station until just after the war, probably 1948, when the fire engine was moved to a wooden building on Shropshire Street situated in between the Combermere car park and the existing fire station, which was built in 1952.

Public Hall Chairman, Geoff Stretch, suggested to the committee that now would be an ideal opportunity to restore the doors to red and celebrate the link between the hall and the fire service. This was unanimously agreed. Talking to Audlem Online today, Geoff said that he could remember as a young boy looking across the road to the red doors from his house. His last recollection of the fire service being there is seeing Tim Northen running across Cheshire Street from the butcher's shop and pulling the rope to ring the bell in order to call out the firemen.

The search has now started for the bell. Audlem Online would be pleased to hear from anyone who has any further information on either the bell or when the fire engine moved from the Public Hall.


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