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Local Authority Fire Brigades have an annual inspection by the Home Office. The Home Office recruit ex Chief Fire Officers who served as Her Majesties Inspectors of Fire Brigades (H.M.I) Their visit involves a minute inspection of the brigade.

The inspector has the power to test and examine anything in the brigade so everything gets a prior going over before his arrival. Naturally you hope it is satisfactory but a good look is desirable. Of course you know he going to come but the final details are secret.

Up in the roof space, I was already assessing what I needed to do with a collection of material I had located there. Soon I was disturbed by my area governor who’s head popped up through the ceiling trap hatch on an unscheduled visit, no doubt hoping to catch me unaware. Casting his eye about he saw the objects and said "get rid of the lot"
I protested, it's part of the Fire Brigade history and should be preserved. ”He said burn it or take it to the tip on Monday and loose the lot”. I replied that I wanted to save it, I could find a home for most of it. “OK he said but get rid of the lot by Monday I will be back on Tuesday to check”. His decision was my good fortune.

The contents, undisturbed over several years, included the Andover Fire Brigades Log 1908 to 1916, an Accounts Book and other items, included details of the names addresses of all the staff. Also the outbreak of war in 1914, and it’s effect on staff.

The Log includes details of the Fire Engine including a record of it's weight,and contract for horses. It itemises and lists the arrival of new equipment, some of it forerunners of today's technology such as that era's breathing equipment All the incidents during the period of the log are included , Including false alarms, Attempted fraud, Arson, A variety of fires, and even unfortunately a soldiers fire death.

I have read the log many times in the intervening years. Family matters, but mostly my concern that I could not do justice to it led to long delays in deciding what to do with it. One thing I was sure about. It will not go into private hands and be lost to those who had a similar interest to mine. In short it will become part of the public information.

My Son Kevin eventually convinced me that I should attempt my ambition of displaying it to the world at large. He suggested publishing it on the Internet. I was not convinced that I had all the skills necessary, but bolstered by his offer of giving guidance, I now do so. My thanks go to him and of course my wife who puts up with my frequent absences working on it. I do promise, that the work is mine, frequently with his guiding hand. The errors are mine. The failings are mine as are any short comings.

There are many incidents over the life of the records from 1908 - 1916 it will be my intention to carry on and publish them as soon as practical.

I have included almost all the names and payment details These will eventually possibly help research of the period and those like ourselves who have an interest in genealogy, for they will include addresses as well as names. Some of the names listed are involved in activities which involved the police or the courts. It is about a hundred years ago but it is details such as these which make genealogy so interesting. I hope you will agree. If not I apologies now for any embarrassment this may cause.

The log book is in poor condition I have printed the cover in it's unaltered condition as an example of the condition, after all it’s nearly 100 years old, so this will not surprise most people and helps to confirm it's authenticity.

Book binding is a skill I do not posses and feel it’s to late to learn. Until recently, so was the use of the computer programme I am using. I think I am getting better, I am not not sure my son would agree if he counts the number of phone calls I've made. You will also discover that I still do not have all the skills necessary for this task but be assured I have done my best.

My fire fighting compatriots will, I expect be as surprised as I was to find that this old log demonstrates the use of many phases in use today. These include ‘get to work’ ‘stop’ etc. and the introduction of some new equipment. There are also experimental occasions when NEW technology such as lorries and motor cars were tried. It was not long before manufactures saw the trend and started to build composite equipment which in an up dated form we call Fire Appliances but it was quite a bit longer before most councils found enough finance to buy them.

It also confirms that the suggestion frequently made in past histories of Brigades that there were calls which when received they then decided not to go.

They will also not be surprised to find that many times having received the call they pressed on regardless despite the weather or any other problem. Frequently on foot and some times using what to them was ‘new’ technology such as a lorry or motor cycle and sidecar.