The Fire Brigade

The oddest thought recently occurred to me. Imagine if recreational cycling had been as popular amongst the adult population in the 60’s as it is today. With the absence of all modern technology, even Lycra, I had images of men in thick tweed suits, sporting ties, sitting bolt upright, pipe in mouth and a puncture repair kit at the ready. Through my smiles and daydreaming I was suddenly reminded of a sight that one might see fifty years ago on a fairly frequent basis from ones front garden in Corby’s Thoroughsale Road. That of a man (I never once saw a woman doing this) partly dressed in day-clothes and pyjamas with hair resembling that of a witch doctors hut, pedalling his bike as fast as his legs could possibly rotate and always headed in the same direction. This was a man on a mission: a man with purpose, and nothing and nobody was going to stop him. He was following a sound that one may hear in an old wartime film that would warn the general populous of an impending air raid by the Luftwaffe. A siren. A siren that sounded as if it were hand-cranked by yet another pipe-smoking man on a mission.

Corby fire station (right) at the bottom of Forest Gate Road, taken from Coronation Park. c.1965. The large building on the left is The Everard Arms public house.

Corby fire station (right) at the bottom of Forest Gate Road, taken from Coronation Park. c.1965. The large building on the left is The Everard Arms public house.

These were Corby’s firemen: fire-fighters in today’s lingo, racing to the sound emanating from the fire station at the bottom of Forest Gate Road long before pagers or mobiles. That siren brought the firemen cycling, even running from their beds to get to the fire engines (not trucks), and the first to get there was assured of a financial bonus. Films being shown at the Odeon cinema on Rockingham Road would be paused in their tracks to announce that any firemen in the audience were required for service immediately. My friend Roy’s dad, Johnny, was a Corby fireman and would risk his life on a regular basis in the course of his duty. It’s odd what goes through ones head during a walk in the countryside.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s