Ramsgate Town Council’s bid to buy Effingham Street fire station

The station in Effingham Street

Ramsgate Town Council is in talks over the sale of the current fire station in Effingham Street.

The authority has expressed an interest in buying the building once fire crews move to their new base in Newington Road.

The property, which dates back more than 100 years, is expected to cost some £350,000.

Town clerk Richard Styles (pictured below) said the purchase has been made possible following a will bequest to RTC.

Mr Styles said: “The ground floor, where the fire engines are, will be a combined exhibition, meeting and events space. The middle may be used for offices if we need to expand and the top floor will be an archive.

“It will be a centre for records, films, photos etc. We are going to hire in someone to collect all the records from museums and elsewhere and pull them all together. There will be a record online but we will also have the physical records.

“We have an understanding with KFRS and are waiting for a letter of confirmation.

“We are hoping to complete the purchase by the end of this year or early next year.”

External funding will be applied for to fund in part or in full, the archive and an archivist if the bid is successful and the post agreed by the town council.

Building work at the £8million Newington Road fire station is starting to take shape.

Site progress

The external envelope of the building is complete and all scaffolding has now been taken down. Internal works are progressing well, including ceilings and floors being installed and decorations and carpentry works well underway.

The exterior and appliance bay doors will be installed this month. Inside the heating system, dry lining and plastering are underway.

The station is still on schedule for the construction to be completed by the end of this summer.  Crews are expected to move into the new station in early 2019.

A KFRS spokesman said: “The new station will be a base for whole time firefighters who will provide an emergency response round-the-clock.  In addition, it will house an on-call fire engine with firefighters who will be called in as needed to attend an incident. There will also be training on the site for firefighters.

How Ramsgate Fire Station will look (artist’s impression)

“Once complete the crews will move from the current Ramsgate fire station in Effingham Street which is over 100 years old and did not meet the needs of the area.  The plan is to sell the site at that point and the Town Council have expressed  interest in buying the Effingham Street site.”

A century in Effingham Street

In 1905 Ramsgate Corporation bought a house which had been built in the 18th century and grounds in Effingham Street which belonged to Rear Admiral William Fox. The house was converted into a fire station and the town library and Clarendon House girl’s school were built in the grounds.
The station was opened in October 1905 by the Mayor.

In 1915 the Brigade received their first mechanically propelled Fire Engine, Lord Winterstoke (pictured with Ramsgate fire crew above). The appliance was donated to the brigade by Dame Janet Stancomb-Wills who was a member of the town council and a major benefactor of the town. Later, Dame Janet presented a second engine to the Brigade known appropriately as “Dame Janet”.

On June 17, 1917 a Zeppelin raid on Ramsgate harbour destroyed the fish market which was being used as an ammunition store for locally based vessels of the Dover Patrol. For his services on this and other occasions during the war, Chief Officer Johnson was awarded the King’s Police and Fire Service Medal. Sixteen members of the Ramsgate Brigade were awarded the Medal of the Order of the British Empire.

In 1938 with war looming the Auxiliary Fire Service (A.F.S.) was formed, initially as a volunteer force but also under control of the local authority. Ramsgate’s Auxiliaries were based in the ‘Top Garage’ at the top of Effingham Street and a tunnel was dug which linked the A.F.S. base with a building at the rear of the fire station yard.

On August 18, 1941 both the town brigades and auxiliary brigades were merged into the National Fire Service (N.F.S.).
In April 1948, control of the NFS was handed back to the 146 counties of the day. Ramsgate passed to the control of Kent Fire Brigade, which became known as the Kent Fire and Rescue Service in October 2003.
History with thanks to the Sussex History Forum

1 Comment

  1. The story is almost correct. However there is just a small point in that RTC will only hire an archivist to collate any proposed new archive if and when the Council has been successful in applying for external funding to fund in part or in full, the archive and an archivist to set up the archive.The post would still need the agreement of the Council at the same time.
    Everything is in the proposal stage at the moment and as always there may be all sorts of obstacles that may delay or alter things along the way.

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