The architecture of Britain’s fire stations is not a simple story of form following function. The story they tell is of Victorian Britain striving to reinterpret vernacular architecture - to express civic pride and establish trust in newly emergent technologies. The diverse range of architectural responses across the country demonstrates the ingenuity of metropolitan and borough architects during the great ‘battle of the styles’ that was playing out in British architecture at that time.
This same ingenuity was continually challenged as the technology of fire fighting developed throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. The evolving response is reflected in fire station buildings themselves. These important buildings, imbued with collective memory and expressing civic values, still form an instantly recognisable part of our landscapes today, from village greens to city centres across Britain.
This book explores the emergence of the fire station in Britain as a unique building type; from simple parish cart-sheds to the complex headquarters of large urban brigades.
Fire stations are to this day an important and reassuring expression of civil responsibility, easily identified as the home of a key emergency service on which we all still rely.