Barking Fire Station.

From volunteer fire brigade to LFB, discover the history of firefighting in Barking.
Barking Fire Station In Around 1900

Barking Fire Station in around 1900

In the 1830s a volunteer fire brigade was set up to serve the Barking area. Then over 60 years passed before a purpose-built fire station opened in 1894, next to the Town Hall in East Street. Barking Council named the first steam powered fire engine they bought in 1897 ‘Ajax’.

The foundation stone for the current Barking Fire Station, on Alfreds Way, was laid on 22 July 1937. When it opened it was crewed by 25 permanent and 8 part-time firefighters.

The Current Barking Fire Station Building In Around 2009

The current Barking Fire Station building, in around 2009

Protecting the local area during the Second World War

The Auxiliary Fire Service (AFS) formed nationally in 1938, as part of the Civil Defence Service, to increase the resources of the regular fire services during wartime. The crew of Barking Fire Station joined the war effort and were supported by sub stations, which were often set up in local schools, garages and factories.

In 1941 all fire brigades across the country became part of the National Fire Service (NFS).

Becoming part of Essex County Fire Brigade

The NFS was disbanded in 1948 and fire brigades returned to local authority control. Barking became part of the newly formed Essex County Fire Brigade (ECFB).

As well as a fire engine fitted with a wheeled escape ladder and pump fire engine, Barking was home to one of two hose laying lorries in the ECFB at the time.

Hose laying lorries are used at incidents where water sources are not close enough to the scene of the fire. The hose is connected to the nearest water source and then the lorry drives to the scene of the fire, and up to a mile of fire hose is fed out of the back. The ECFB also took over Barking Council’s motor workshop on the site.

Hose Laying Lorry At Barking Transferred To Lfb From Essex Fire Service In 1965

Hose laying lorry transferred to LFB in 1965

Joining London Fire Brigade

In 1965 the Greater London Council (GLC) formed and the station became L27 in the expanded London Fire Brigade (LFB). Both the hose laying lorry and the workshops transferred over, along with personnel and the front-line fire engines.

The workshops became responsible for most motor repairs in LFB's Eastern Command. The station was crewed at the time by a Station Officer, a Sub Officer, 3 Leading Firefighters and 14 Firefighters.

Today

The current Barking Fire Station (now F43) building still dates from 1937, however parts of the drill yard and the workshops were re-developed from the 1980s onwards.

It is a busy station, with many high-risk industrial premises, arterial roads and extensive private and public housing on their ground. The station houses a pump fire engine, a pump ladder fire engine, a bulk foam unit and a hose laying lorry. It is crewed by a Station Officer, a Sub Officer, a Leading Firefighter and 9 Firefighters.