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My record stretches over some eight years and contains illustrations of the problems the brigade suffered

I do not have detailed documentation before 1908 but I do have a record of expenditure going back to 1897 so in the fullness of time I may be able to expand these reports.

There were difficulties getting to the incidents since there was little provision for transport. Even short distances took considerable effort on the part of firemen and of course there was the problem of the crew having enough energy to undertake the tasks that were needed for on arrival having pulled or pushed the engines. It seems that the method of reaching the fire was very much in the hands of the Captain no doubt helped by the local knowledge of him and his men. Frequently they simply pushed the appliances to the fire sometimes over considerable distances. Hence travel times sometimes in excess of an hour or more, and even on occasions refused to turn out even when called to a situation. This has been long talked about in discussions around the services mess table of today. In this record it is confirmed and explained.

On at least one occasion in 1902, separate records show that they went by train to Salisbury at the request of that City for reinforcements taking men appliances and equipment.

Press reports highlighted these transport failings and commented publicly using phrases such as " It cannot be beyond the wit of the council to resolve this matter" In the editorials or articles, there were attempts to obtain horses that failed and later you can see Trials of various sorts to reduce the time taken to reach an incident.

In 1904 after some failures to turn out the Council sought to contract for the supply of horses There is a letter from the town clerk instructing the Chief to use of a Mr Walters horses and his driver for both locally and more distant addresses.

Horses like firemen require training and on one occasion the chairman of the council is carried on the engine to witness the efforts of the brigade and the suitability of the horses. This resulted in his comment that more practice was required before the horses performed as well as they should and extra training and of course payment is authorized.

The first use of Horses was such major attraction that on the Saturday they were engaged 'crowds' shopping in the town rushed to see the spectacle of the engine passing. Of course crowds sometimes hindered rather than helped. It is recorded that when they helped they were sometimes paid, there is a record illustrating this and yet another record extolling the virtue of fitting the call bells in houses that meant that crowds did not gather and hinder fire fighting efforts taking up Police and Fire Brigade time depleting their resources on crowd control. Of course if there was a chance of being paid it is perhaps not surprising that crowds gathered to"watch"and many of today's firefighters will have experienced watching crowds and sadly the disruptions they can is a record of such payments being made to helpers.

Horses were sometimes effected by the weather. Snow was a particular hazard and there is a record of the horses failing to get to the fire defeated by snow on the hills etc. Those who know horses will not be surprised to hear they required training as a team and calling horses at random is not a practical proposition the problems that they produce are also illustrated.

Once the contract for horsing by the council was organized the press made frequent mention of the fruits of their campaign, there is frequent praise for the efforts of firemen and others. These reports can be read in archived copies of papers. It is also recorded that efforts were made to try other forms of propulsion and it is not long before manufacturers combined both propulsion and engines. It took much longer for the fire authorities to spend the money required for the purchase of these developments.