1912 : Mitcham Fire Brigade get a Merryweather Fire Engine

From the minutes of the Mitcham Parish Council on 30th July 1912:

To the Fire Brigade Committee,

Gentlemen,

I beg to report that the Demonstration of the New Petrol Motor Fire Engine, carried out by the Brigade on July 27th under the instructions of Messrs. Merryweather’s representative, was satisfactory in every way, both as regards augmenting the amount of pressure of water available in the mains and also for river work, together with deep suction lifts (see attached figures of tests.)

In view of meeting the capabilities of the new engine I would suggest that additional hose and extra stand-pipes be carried to enable the Brigade to collect the water from a few hydrants when necessary.

It is a pleasure to state that from a practical point of view the Council now possess one of the best combinations of machinery for fire protection that is possible to obtain.

Yours obediently,

A.L. JENNER, Superintendent

clip from Merton Memories photo reference Mit_Public_Services_7-4 copyright London Borough of Merton

The tests referred to in the minutes above showed that mains pressure, from street hydrants, was 50 lbs per square inch but at the hoses this was reduced to at worse 33 lbs. The new fire engine though brought the pressure up to 200 lbs. When drawing from the river Wandle, with a 10ft. vertical suction lift, 120 to 200 lbs pf pressure was achieved.

It was proposed by Mr J.M. Leather, and seconded by Mr A. Dendy, that the Council write to the Metropolitan water Board to draw their attention to the low pressure in the mains.

The Fire Brigade Committee recommended that the current steam fire engine be sold, with adverts placed in the “West Sussex Gazette”, “The Fireman” and other suitable papers.

Mr E.E. Mizen proposed that an additional £20 be added to the fire brigade budget for the new hose and stand-pipes suggested by the superintendent. He noted that this would bring said budget up to £290.

The Clerk reported that after the demonstration, the members of the Council, the two Fire Brigades and the Superintendents of several of the neighbouring Brigades, were entertained with a substantial meal at the Vestry Hall.

In the report to the Finance Committee, a cheque for £224 15s. was paid to Merryweather & Son for the motor engine.


Minutes of meetings held by the Mitcham Parish Council are available on request from the Merton Heritage and Local Studies Centre at Morden Library.

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