A Volunteer Fire Brigade was established in Kew in 1879 and a fire station established in Walton Street, Kew. The Brigade was formally disbanded by the Fire Brigade Act of 1890 and the volunteers replaced by a unit of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade in 1891. The building shown in this rare photograph was constructed in 1893. In the background can be seen a house on the corner of Walton and Peel Streets, one of two, built in 1893 for firemen of the Brigade. An article in The Weekly Times (1 April 1911) records that: "Kew Troop - A,S.M. Williams reports:- The troop under S.M. Kellett. marched to the Kew Fire Brigade station, to receive instruction in fire drill from Mr Gross, the officer in charge, but as he was unexpectedly called away, the S.M. S and A.S.M had to instruct the Troop. Every boy was taught how to sink the hydrant, and how to couple and uncouple the hose. The hose reel was then brought into action, and the boys were divided into sets of six, each division taking its turn in pulling the reel up a hill to the water plug, where the hydrant was quickly sunk by one Scout, two more uncoupling the hose and coupling it on to the hydrant. We have gained four recruits during the last week, and are expecting two more next week."
This is a fine, original photograph, probably taken by a commercial photographer, showing the 1st Kew Scouts in front of the old Kew Fire Brigade building in Walton Street in 1911. The building, constructed in 1893 was later demolished in 1941. This is a rare historic photograph of the Station. Unfortunately the name of the photographer is unrecorded.
1st Kew Scouts undertaking a fire drill in front of the old Kew Fire Station in Walton Street, Kew. The reverse details the names and addresses of the Scouts featured in the photograph. An integral part of the Scout program is service to others and working with the fire brigade would have been just one of many such training activities enthusiastically undertaken by the Scouts. The Kew Fire Brigade had hand-drawn fire appliances up until 1919 when a motorised vehicle was purchased. The fire station was replaced by the Belford Road station in 1941 and subsequently demolished.
Inscriptions & markings
Front: "First Kew Scouts - Fire Drill - In front of Kew Fire Station - Walton St. Kew" Reverse: "Walton St Kew / Kew Fire Station / Mr Gross o/c Fire Station / Bert Gundy Clark, part-time fireman / Allan Sewell Gellibrand St. / Clappy Williams Hawthorn ? / Allan Barrett Cobden St / Allan Woollard High St"