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London Fire Brigade Dennis Escape
Fire Engine Photos
No: 5542   Contributor: Paul Warnock   Year: 1972   Manufacturer: Dennis   Country: United Kingdom
London Fire Brigade Dennis Escape

1972/3. London Fire Brigade. Dennis 50foot wheeled escape. Based at Euston Fire station. No other details avalible.
Picture added on 08 January 2008
This picture is in the following groups
London Fire Brigade, United Kingdom
add commentComments:
Looking at the Shelvoke pump in the bay behind, I would guess this was taken in the early to mid-80's when I was serving at Euston. We also had a Dennis ET at the time.

Added by Steve Attwood on 30 October 2008.
Looking at the Shelvoke and Drury Pump in the end bay behind the PE, it looks like this was taken in the early to mid 80's when I was serving as a Firefighter at Euston. Also she has the 'Hook' ladders as part of the inventory on the roof racks. These were taken out of service by the London Fire Brigade around 1984/5. London being the last UK Brigade to use them on the run I believe.

Added by Steve Attwood on 30 October 2008.
Lovely picture Paul of a really nice machine. Steve, you are right, LFB was the last to use hooks! I wonder how modern day firemen would cope with them?

Added by John Stott on 31 October 2008.
John they would'nt be allowed to use the hook ladders due to health and safety. We can't even go on top of appliances anymore. I really like the wheeled escapes.

Added by Paul Warnock on 31 October 2008.
Get your confidence on hook ladders you will never be scared of heights again. Did me no harm!!!

Added by Barrie Green on 31 October 2008.
Lol, health and safety mate. Our ops research guy had a hernia when he heard we still had to go on top of our scania series 3 to unhook roof ladders etc. We told him that due to building constraints, a nice new scania series 4 does not fit but he wouldn't believe us until he saw with his own eyes. But budget constraints and un-servicable carps meant we are not getting 'new' macine until 2009 even though we have been told not to go on top of our current machine.

Added by Stevie Murray on 31 October 2008.
I agree Barry. As a kid I lived at the Old Bethnal Green Stn and used to watch Hook Ladder drills strapped to the kitchen stove so I couldn't fall out of the window! My dad was part of the LFB hook ladder display team doing a routine to 'The Teddy Bears Picnic'. Later I started my career in Cambridge and Hampshire. No Hook ladders there, so a Parapet Dismount from the roof of the tower at Southwark was something of a challenge when I transferred to London in 1982. Glad I did it though!!!!

Added by Steve Attwood on 01 November 2008.
Not allowed on top of the engines!!!?? Here in the US that's the probies' job, to get on top and pack hose! What do you do at jobs, yell at the fire to "please stop burning". Get rid of the safety 'guy'.

Added by R. Genberg on 01 November 2008.
lovely machine lfb has got a great fleet now

Added by Jake Caswell on 01 November 2008.
I'm reading these threads in absolute horror, not by the contributors but by where we are going, , As a young fireman in the late sixties, although we hated the wheeled escape drills, ('cause it was hard work) we came away from stowing the ladder with chests as big as "King Kong!" As for the hook ladder, our Deputy Chief, Alan Bruce, would run the single hook ladder to the top of the 100ft tower in a matter of minutes stopping only to reposition at each window ledge enroute. You know, the old drill, right leg inside widow frame - left leg stringently to the side of wall as you continued upward, never for one second loosing your confidence because this was the stuff that it all came down to if you really wanted to be a part of this 'man's army, ' your peers watching you from below. This particular function was to rescue from above at the worst of situations, and at the lower levels we performed this live to encourage our asteem! Hell, that's what we were getting paid for, wasn't it?

Added by Pav on 01 November 2008.
Well said Pav

Added by Barrie Green on 01 November 2008.
Well Pav that's all true. After the sad demise of the escape and hook ladders in question, a mans army it was too, we present the Carp, a fat, bloated and over expensive indulgence, best suited to stagnant ponds and Polish Christmas dinners!

Added by John Stott on 02 November 2008.
With respect to our cousins over the pond Mr Gensberg, are these the same fire departments that run around in Scott Packs with no BA control? No thanks, we might have Health and safety here, but not as many deaths and injuries to firefighters.

Added by John Stott on 02 November 2008.
I agree with all views on 'Elf and Safety! I now teach it as part of my training company. However there are certain aspects that beggar belief because we have allowed successive governments to be 'persuaded' to restrict activities. I was recently working at a location where tree surgeons were working on top of portacabins to remove branches from trees overhanging and endangering the structures. They should have been wearing safety harnesses but had nowhere to attach them. So they donned them without attaching them......I love the French attitude. "We have told you that activity is dangerous, we told you what safety measures to apply. If you don't and have an accident, it's your problem!"
I was horrified when we had an earhquake(minor) here in Kent last year and the crews were wearing safety harnesses on an HP to make chimneys safe on domestic properties. What happens these days when you need to get on a roof that an Aerial appliance can't reach and you cannot use a safety harness, call for a Paraffin Parrot (Helicopter)? Also we now teach 'Suspension Trauma' as part of First Aid courses because of the number of incidents involving people having incidents while relying on a harness to keep them safe instead of working safely. No harness(safety net)= thinking about what you do to be safe. Mind you BA control is a MUST anywhere, including confined space work.......

Added by Steve Attwood on 03 November 2008.
MGO 485L new in 1973. In my mind a pump should always have an escape on it, of course as I am only a humble member of of the public I will never have to work one! It always surprises me what the the world was like at the time I was born (1982) until recently I didn't realize that escapes were still in use when I was born!

I believe that escapes disappeared in London in stages between 1981-4. Does anyone know what other brigades were still using escapes in 1982? I know East Sussex and Hertfordshire still had them.

Added by George A'court on 24 April 2009.
I think we lost the last one in Hampshire in 1980/1 from D56 Woolston while I was there before transferring to London. Merryweather steel escape on Dennis Machine. May have been Copnor (Portsmouth) as the last PE when it was involved in an accident around the same time...... Blimey am I that old my memory is going???
I had the dubious pleasure of training the 'A' Division in London how to use the Escape replacement the Lacon 464 or as now known 135 ladder as I had used them 'operationally' in Cambridge and Hampshire. I was at A24 Soho teaching on the day WPC Yvonne Fletcher was shot. We heard the gunshot as we were in the yard only about half a mile away.........

Added by Steve Attwood on 24 April 2009.
hi george, Cleveland County had one at Saltburn ,this is now preserved

Added by Ianmc on 25 April 2009.
George, if my memories right, Herts lost its last escape in 1983 from Watford to be replaced by the 135. It went downhill from there for me and a piece of brigade history went out of the window never to return.

Added by John Stott on 25 April 2009.
Thank you all for the information. Is the preserved Cleveland appliance Dennis R130 THN948S by any chance. That one had a 60' escape according to the internet, I knew that Cleveland had been using escapes in 1977 but I didn't know when they got rid of them, it sounds like they still ran at least one in 1982.

I found a picture of a Humberside A.E.C Mercury/ Merryweather Marquis 7 PE dated 1980, its on the Fire Engine Pics fotopic site if anyone's interested. As the picture is on someone elses website I can't put it on here.

Apparently Hemel Hempstead lost their escape in 1994, Hertfordshire did buy an A reg Dennis WrE it was A253HPE so there may have been escapes at other stations in Herts.

I wasn't sure if Hampshire were still using escapes by 1980, but now someone who knows the answer has told me! Much appriciated thank you.

Added by George A'court on 27 April 2009.
Cleveland only had one new PE, this was the now preserved THN948S which had been new in 1978 to Saltburn. It was the last new PE to any Brigade in the North East. As mentioned above it is now preserved. I've seen and photographed it many times it is a lovely machine and a credit to it's owners.
Cleveland's predecessor Teesside Fire Brigade had four which were inherited from it's constituant Brigades. From North Riding came KVN344 a 1954 Dennis F12 (at Grangetown) and AVN925B a Bedford TJ4/HCB Angus (at Thornaby) From Durham came VPT932 a 1956 Bedford J4/Miles (Stockton), and from Middlesbrough C.B came BDC333 a 1950 Dennis F7. Most of these had gone by the end of the 70's.
THN949S had been acquired to cater for Saltburn's narrow streets and high Hotels, it survived without it's escape, going through the reserve and training fleets before withdrawl around 1999/2000.

Added by Chris Hall Teesside. on 30 April 2009.
Hertfordshire had four Dennis escapes based at Hemel Hempstead, St Albans, Stevenage and Watford Fire Stations. The last one (Hemel) came out of service in September 1994 and is now with the National Fire Museum Trust at Weedon.

Added by Roger Middleton - Herts Fire Museum Curator on 13 September 2009.
Thank you Mr Middleton for that extra info. Out of interest what did Herts have before those dennis escapes please?

Added by George A'court on 16 September 2009.
Hertfordshire used Mainly Bedford Tks during the sixties and seventies with some AEC mercurys i believe

Added by S Woods on 16 September 2009.
Thank you mr Woods for that information.

Added by George A'court on 18 September 2009.
My Dad was in the AFS during the Blitz and continued in service at Euston till his retirement in the 70's, I used to watch him do Hook Ladder displays on "The Tower" at Lambeth.. he was awesome, not enough praise is give to our Firefighters, but from an old Firefighters son you are all Hero's to me.

Added by Roy Hepper on 30 March 2010.
Aprox how high in metres did the wheeled escapes reach?

Added by David jones on 25 May 2010.
The wheeled escapes were normally 50' the modern ladders are 13.5 meters 45' so i presume it would be 14 meters hope this helps?

Added by Grant Melville on 26 May 2010.
thanks a lot

Added by David Jones on 27 May 2010.
That pump was there when I was at Euston on the Red Watch 1968/69. Moved to B29 New Cross in '70 still red watch. The blokes today could not handle hook ladders I'm sure.

Added by Dave Phillips. on 22 November 2010.
Anybody remember some of the drills? The one I'm thinking of is Escape to the fourth floor (fifth in USA), first floor ladder to the fifth and hook ladder to the sixth. I'm again wondering if the modern people would trust their knots and lines on that old first floor ladder part. Would they indeed even be allowed to?

Added by Dave Phillips. on 26 November 2010.
Heck No Dave......not a chance......ALP to deal with a chimney job these days, cant slide down a pole drop, not allowed to run the the machine when the bells go down, get changed into fire kit before mounting the appliance, cant even make a bacon butty for your crew mates these days....yes its right and correct to take safety serious but perhaps we have gone a bit too far.

Added by Barrie Green on 26 November 2010.
Yes Barrie. I'm all for safety on the job but, as you say, they've gone much too far. I firmly believe that we should have kept hook ladders. Not just because they really did sort bloke out at Southwark but they gave a person a lot of pride knowing that not too many people would or could do the stuff we used to do. I think the standards have gone down a lot; not in ability but in courage and the willingness to give one arm and one leg to the job and retaining one of each for oneself.
I'm guessing you're no longer in the job, mate, and good luck to you. Where were you stationed? I've been happily retired for seven years and I do miss it but not the way it is now.
Please keep in touch if you want to.
All the best, Dave.

Added by Dave Phillips. on 28 November 2010.
Does anybody remember my old Guvnor on the Red Watch at A23 Fred "Dicky" Bird. When I first arrived there from Southwark I was told I'd be in for a rough ride 'cause of Dicky. They couldn't have been more wrong. He turned out to be one of the best blokes ever. I went to his retirement, I'd gone to B division by then. He went to work for the BBC, the way we do on retirement. He got my girlfriend and I free tickets to recordings of shows all the time and always paid more than his share for beer.
A really great bloke; one of the old school.

Added by Dave Phillips. on 28 November 2010.
I'd just like to add to all the Old A23 Hands, they are more than welcome to drop in for a cuppa if they're in the area. I'd like to hope that all of us manning the ship nowadays are keeping the old gal in good order!
Regards, Neil Cash Watch Manager (guvnor in old money!) A23 Green Watch

Added by Neil Cash on 11 August 2011.
The PE in Cleveland was based at the Saltburn retained station. Saltburn by the Sea to give the town its full name was a Victorian resort and there were a lot of old hotels which were in the process of being converted into flats. Unfortunately THN 948S was rolled in an accident (avoiding a deer, or so the story went!) and the escape was damaged. The PE was converted to carry a 135 ladder during the repairs. Whoever has restored her has done a fantastic job, I wonder if it the original 60ft escape though? It might have been repairable but as I understood it at the time the escape was scrapped due to damage.

Added by John Theobald on 28 March 2015.
Yes, the ET was there in my time in 69 to 70 and a ladder. I transferred to Woolwich then New Cross.

Added by Dave Phillips on 02 April 2015.
Hi John the escape came from kirkleatham hall museum and I understand it was saltburn s

Added by Ianmc on 02 April 2015.
Thanks Ianmc good to read it is the original escape. When Saltburn got the PE there wasn't a man in the brigade who didn't feel a bit of envy!

Added by John on 03 April 2015.
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