Bethnal Green Fire Station

 is in the East End of London, with a history stretching back to the Victorian era.

Early beginnings

Records indicate there was a permanent fire station in Bethnal Green as early as 1871. This station replaced an even earlier temporary station located in parish vestry premises on Church Row.

On 29 July 1889, a brand new station was opened at 51 Green Street, (which later became part of Roman Road). The building cost just over £6,000. This new station housed a steam fire engine, manual pump, a hose cart, 12 firemen, four horses and two coachmen.

Expanding the station

 Over the next 17 years, there was a significant increase in the amount of fires around Bethnal Green. So in 1906 the Fire Brigade Committee decided that the existing station was inadequate for the needs of the district. The Committee made the decision to enlarge the station at a cost of a further £4,000. 

The Second World War

During the Second World War, six Auxiliary Fire Service substations were attached to the station. They were based at local schools, including:

  • London Fields
  • Lauriston Road
  • Trafalgar Gardens

In 1941, all fire brigades in the United Kingdom were amalgamated to form the National Fire Service (NFS). Bethnal Green became part of NFS Fire Force Area 36.

A new station

The Victorian station closed in 1968 (receiving Grade II listing in 1973). This was due to the planned station building and improvement programme started after the war. Construction on the new station, at 11 Roman Road, began in May 1967. Two years later, in March 1969, the station became fully operational. It was designed to house two fire engines, over thirty firefighters and had a 55 foot training tower. 

Bethnal Green Fire Station continues to serve its local community as an active fire station. Today it is home to a Pump Ladder and a Fire Rescue Unit, and staffed by 10 Firefighters, two Leading Firefighters and 1 Sub Officer on each watch.

The old station is now home to the London Buddhist Centre, but is still easily recognisable as a former fire station with its big red doors.

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