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Fire Engines Photos

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Old Dennis fire engine Museum York
Fire Engine Photos
No: 16702   Contributor: John Johnstone   Year: 2007   Manufacturer: Dennis   Country: United Kingdom
Old Dennis fire engine Museum York

Old Dennis fire appliance seen here preserved at the National railway museum at York, photographed in 2007 .
Picture added on 01 May 2009 at 12:53
add commentComments:
This was bought by the Great Western Railway and was used at the Swindon works.
The last major fire it attended was in 1942.
Information from the book FIREFIGHTING IN WILTSHIRE.

Added by Bob on 01 May 2009.
Just a note to say that at Christmas 2008 it was no longer at York, but had been transferred back to Swindon. This is a very orignal Dennis 'N' Type complete with an exhaust operated whistle, fitted to be able to signal to steam trains using the whistle code. There is also a very unusual tank behind the driver/OIC seat which could be a chemical extinguisher or some peculiar train related piece of equipment. Does anyone Know?

Added by Dr. B.A. Hutchinson on 01 May 2009.
Whatever the tank is for,it is original as it is shown on a 1912 picture.

Added by Bob on 01 May 2009.
Wonderful photo.

So nice to see an appliance, which must be close to 100 years old, still in original condition. This must be just about unique?

Restorations are often excellent, too, of course, but with this Dennis you can almost smell the smoke!

Added by Rob Johnson on 09 December 2013.
Not as unique as the Haley in the fire museum in Edinburgh......that is believed to be the only one in the world !

Added by Barrie Green on 09 December 2013.
Barrie - is there another all original 100 year old Dennis anywhere? Even the tyres look as if they have never been replaced!

Added by Rob Johnson on 09 December 2013.
Partially correct Barrie if you excuse the terrible pun. The Auckland Fire Board (NZ) had 6 Halley Simonis appliances commissioned in the 1920's and parts of three of them are held at MOTAT with the intention of restoring one of them

Added by John Walker on 10 December 2013.
Pleased to hear that was my understanding that the only other one was destroyed in the earthquake

Added by Barrie Green on 10 December 2013.
Rob...I have LE 9588 (LFB) as surviving, its chassis no is 3037 and dated 1911. AM 2737 has the chassis no 3062

Added by Barrie Green on 10 December 2013.
Barrie - do we know if LE 9588 is all original, like this example, and where it is?

Added by Rob Johnson on 10 December 2013.
LE9588 is safe and well although it has not moved for sometime. It has been re-painted since it's time with LFB so you could say it has been 'restored'. In my view 'restoration' is not contentious if done correctly. My Helensburgh/Stalham Dennis 'N' Type was in almost ex-service condition and quite possibly still on it's original tyres. I did not hesitate in replacing the tyres and stripping it down to the very last nut and bolt. Why? Well, I believe old machines should be used as their original intention. Looking at a fire engine that is dormant is so much less than one which is living and breathing. I would rather spend one hour on the road (or pumping) with an 'N' Type rather than 100 hours looking at them in a museum.

Added by Dr. B.A. Hutchinson on 10 December 2013.
Doctor Barry:

I agree that restoration is not contentious at all, and indeed it is often vitally necessary, given the condition of some appliances when they turn up. Personally, I think it is wonderful that you and many others devote so much time and energy to preserving so many old fire appliances, both here and in the UK.

But the fact remains that completely original 100 year old fire trucks in condition like this example are very rare indeed, compared to ones which have been restored.

I also agree that owning working antique fire engines must be much more fun than merely looking at them in museums. But, unfortunately, most of us are limited by budget, time, space or lacking the technical ability to collect and restore them, so we are obliged to enjoy our hobby more passively.

This means that having these vehicles in museums is a necessity for those of us who have no other choices. Personally, I find that there is something really atmospheric about antiques which have a genuine patina of age, rather than looking as if they just left the factory where they were built.

Added by Rob Johnson on 11 December 2013.
Ah the old question:- Conservation or restoration?
Valid arguments on both sides, it surely depends on the circumstances in each individual case.

Added by Neal Glover on 12 December 2013.
The NRM York have a number of old appliances they put on show.They also have a collection of old fire helmets from the various railway company fire brigades in cabinets in the warehouse. I have pictures of them I will post on this site.

Added by Dave Price on 13 December 2013.
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