BAO 302 – Commer/Carmichael Fire Engine
This Water Tender was first registered in April 1960. When we acquired it, it had just 27,803 miles on the clock.
It is a C342 factory designation 5-7 ton chassis, and the grille design is the last of what was known as the QX style forward control cab. This version was made between 1958 and 1961 when it was discontinued in favour of the C Series. The original Commer overhead valve petrol engine is a 290 cu. in. (4,750 c.c.) unit.
It was commissioned in July 1960 with the Cumberland & Westmorland Fire Brigade. We believe that it started its life at Workington, and finished its service at Walney Island until disposed of in July 1977. There is a gap if 13 years until it is recorded as being registered with Iggesund Paperboard at Siddick, near Workington, in June 1990, before being secured for preservation by John Wall and John Turnbull of WT Fire Service Preservation Society
Under WTFSPS ownership, it was towed from its previous storage at Asby into our Lakes Road shed in December 2004. It had to be pushed into place as the engine refused to start due to a fuel starvation problem. The two Johns did not have the time to complete the restoration, so they kindly donated it to the Trust in January 2006.
However, they still took a keen interest in its restoration. Both the manual and electric fuel systems have been cleaned and repaired, and the engine now runs over smoothly. Other work done includes fitting a new plywood floor to the crew cab. The chipboard lockers have been renewed with plywood. The exhaust silencer has been repaired, and new pipework sourced and fitted. A new water hose has been fitted to the radiator header tank. The gears and brakes are now working. The front offside wheel has been removed to check brakes which appear to be in good condition for a vehicle over 50 years old, though pipes need attention. The clutch, gears and water pump now work. It was feared that the fuel tank had a leak after a damp patch was found on the floor under the appliance, but this turned out to be brake fluid from a disconnected brake pipe!
Unfortunately we did not have the resources to complete the restoration so it was sold on in 2018 to a preservationist in Barrow.
NHH 855W – Dodge/Carmichael Fire Engine
This Dodge G7590 Water Tender was first registered in April 1981 with Cumbria Fire Service. It was still in service in 1995, but later passed to Iggesund Paperboard at Siddick, near Workington, for their internal use.
When Iggesund disbanded their internal fire service, it was declared surplus to requirements, and kindly donated to the Trust. We understood that the appliance had a gearbox fault, but this turned out not to be the case. On Friday 11th April 2003 it was driven on trade plates from Siddick to have the honour of being the first vehicle to take up residence at the newly leased Lakes Road building.
What was reported as a gearbox fault turned out to be a problem with the water pump. A hand-sized part of the pump casing had been “blown out”, possibly as a result of frost damage; This was weld repaired in 2004. Faded paintwork and tarnished aluminium roller doors were given some TLC to restore their sheen so that the appliance could be taken out to local events in the year after acquisition. Since then the appliance has been repainted and “sticking” brakes have been sorted in order to get it through an MoT. Whilst MoTs are not necessary for fire appliances, we still want to know that it is up to standard.
The auxiliary petrol pump is still in working order, though does not seem to have been used for some time. It has been serviced to keep it in order. In 2010 a replacement ladder was acquired. Some other accessories still need replacing, repairing or renewing.
It is now roadworthy, and two of our volunteers have passed HGV courses so that we can take it to events.
906 DAO – Dennis Fire Pump Trailer
In 2005 we were told that Morecambe Road Garage in Ulverston had a water pump on a trailer which came from Workington Iron & Steel Co, probably from the late 1950s. It still carried their name and the number of its original towing vehicle. Fitted with a Dennis petrol engine it could pump 750 gallons/minute. The garage owner had rescued it from a nearby scrapyard and offered it to us. It was unrestored, and the hoses were missing, one core plug was missing from the engine head, but it appeared to be otherwise intact. It weighed about 1.5 tons and had a pin coupling (so couldn’t be towed behind a car with a ball coupling).
Corus then kindly gave us a grant for the full cost to allow us to purchase the trailer. We understand that another potential buyer had expressed an interest in the machine – but that was only so he could break it up for spares! It was collected from Ulverston in April 2006 using a borrowed trailer towed behind a car.
Over the following months our volunteers worked on this machine to create a working vehicle. New battery, starter switch, spark plugs, and fusible plug were fitted. The engine and pump now run, but can’t be left going for too long as there is no radiator fitted; the cooling water for the engine comes from the pumped supply!
The legs attached to the towing bracket have been straightened. We fabricated a new towing ball attachment which fits on to the existing towing hook. This gives us the flexibility to use a car with a towing ball or a larger vehicle fitted with a pin to tow the trailer. Parts of the trailer are now in glossy fire engine red (or it could be a shade of “big bus red” that approximates to fire engine red!).
The frame was cleaned and primed, ready to receive the final coats of paint. After a lot of hard work, the rear jacks have now been freed. There was a lot of heat required, with a lot of hammer work to achieve this result. The front handles also came under the same procedure to get them into working order, and they have now been well greased in order to keep them working.
A new exhaust has been fitted – this had to be made from separate items and then mated and welded to suit our framework. The engine housing has to be repaired, rebuilding the front corner and hinge holder that was badly damaged, before painting and applying the decals. Finally, the mudguards need some straightening before they are painted, and the jockey wheel requires some attention.
This is currently under private restoration by a Trust member.
Matson Ground Hand Fire Pump
This unusual appliance is in the care of member John Wall. It was on display in the reception area of Cumbria Fire Service headquarters at Cockermouth, but had to be moved out as it was no longer required there. John has been given it on long term loan from Cumbria Fire Service and it went into Pottery Field in February 2012.
This machine is no more than 8 feet long and is an old fashioned hand pump, with two long handles on each side that a team of men would crank up and down to provide pumping power.
The machine has been well cared for. It is sign written with what is presumably the name of its former base – Matson Ground – which is on the hill above Bowness on Windermere.