Looking Back: May 24 edition

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n Did you know Rugby’s fire station used to be in Chapel Street? That’s where this picture was taken in 1936, 30 years before it was closed and moved to Corporation Street.

Ben Smedley, of Long Lawford, who brought this picture in, said coming into Chapel Street from the Corporation Street end the fire station was in the area past what was the Australia Arms pub, in the centre of the town.

Having joined the fire service in Nuneaton in 1952, Mr Smedley was promoted to Rugby as sub officer. He later returned to Nuneaton, but came back to Rugby as station officer.

He was promoted again to assistant divisional officer in charge of Rugby division and finished his career at county HQ at Leamington as divisional commander of South Warwickshire division. He retired in 1982.

He remembers how strong the fire service twinning was with Evreux in France and Russelsheim in Germany and when he left Rugby friends from both twin towns came over for his leaving party.

This picture was given to him by another fireman who retired. Mr Smedley said the men are lined up in front of the appliance room that was facing the yard. The building also had a mess room, dormitories, recreation room, old stable and watch room.

In the early days he remembers that people dialled 222 to call the fire brigade, which rang straight through to Rugby station so someone was always on watch waiting for a call.

Before his time there were also alarm points throughout the town, so pressing the button summoned the fire service on an indicator system at the station. He doesn’t know how many hoax calls it meant though!

Here are the names for the Rugby Volunteer Fire Brigade 1936: Firemen (Back from left) S Daynes, E Margrett, AL James, WH Goode, J Elliott, RJ Jacob, sup fireman R Chaffer, waterman H Miller.

(Middle) FBE Smith, station officer W Talmage, FAS Frost, sup fireman HA Walker, FW Smith, G Leech, FW Hopcraft, R Whales, AJ Wilson, J Hicks, driver CW Tremble.

(Front) engineer W Labraham, Dr DR Cramb, second officer J Darby, chief officer A James, inspecting officer F Staines, engineer E Labraham, engineer N Hands MC.